Sex and the Constitution: Sex, Religion, and Law from America's Origins to the Twenty-First Century (Paperback)
Sex and the Constitution is an enthralling history of the legal and political impact of sexual social values. It explores obscenity, religion, and the introduction of Christianity, the development and legality of abortion and contraception, and changing legislation and views on sexuality from ancient Rome to the formation of modern America. Stone dissects the false history of America as a Christian nation with Puritan sexual values and the various waves of evangelism that have lodged this myth in our collective cultural consciousness, as well as its effect on our sense of morality generally, historically, and in civil rights contexts.AJ
A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection
A “volume of lasting significance” that illuminates how the clash between sex and religion has defined our nation’s history (Lee C. Bollinger, president, Columbia University).
Lauded for “bringing a bracing and much-needed dose of reality about the Founders’ views of sexuality” (New York Review of Books), Geoffrey R. Stone’s Sex and the Constitution traces the evolution of legal and moral codes that have legislated sexual behavior from America’s earliest days to today’s fractious political climate. This “fascinating and maddening” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) narrative shows how agitators, moralists, and, especially, the justices of the Supreme Court have navigated issues as divisive as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and contraception. Overturning a raft of contemporary shibboleths, Stone reveals that at the time the Constitution was adopted there were no laws against obscenity or abortion before the midpoint of pregnancy. A pageant of historical characters, including Voltaire, Thomas Jefferson, Anthony Comstock, Margaret Sanger, and Justice Anthony Kennedy, enliven this “commanding synthesis of scholarship” (Publishers Weekly) that dramatically reveals how our laws about sex, religion, and morality reflect the cultural schisms that have cleaved our nation from its founding.
About the Author
Geoffrey R. Stone is the author of the prize-winning Perilous Times. He is the Edward H. Levi Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago and one of our nation’s leading constitutional scholars.