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Books by Jonathan Gienapp
Jonathan Gienapp is an assistant professor in the History department. He is a scholar of Revolutionary and early republican America specializing in the period’s constitutionalism, political culture, legal history, and intellectual history. He is also interested in the method and practice of the history of ideas.
His first book, The Second Creation: Fixing the American Constitution in the Founding Era (Harvard University Press, Belknap, 2018), rethinks the conventional story of American constitutional creation by exploring how and why founding-era Americans’ understanding of their Constitution transformed in the earliest years of the document’s existence. It investigates how early political debates over the Constitution’s meaning helped alter how Americans imagined the Constitution and its possibilities, showing how these changes created a distinct kind of constitutional culture, the consequences of which endure to this day. It won the 2017 Thomas J. Wilson Memorial Prize from Harvard University Press and the 2019 Best Book in American Political Thought Award from the American Political Science Association and was a finalist for the 2019 Frederick Jackson Turner Award from the Organization of American Historians. In addition, it was named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2019 and a Spectator USA Book of the Year for 2018. It has been reviewed in The Nation, was the subject of a symposium at Balkinization, and was chosen for the 2019 Publius Symposium co-hosted by the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and the Stanford Center for Law and History. He wrote about some of the book’s central themes in an op-ed for the Boston Globe, and has discussed the book on “New Books in History” and “The Age of Jackson Podcast” as well as in interviews for The Way of Improvement Leads Home and the Harvard University Press Blog.
He has lectured widely on the original Constitution. Among other appearances, he discussed the document’s history in an episode of the podcast, “Writ Large,” and participated in a National Constitution Center Town Hall, “The Founders’ Library: Intellectual Sources of the Constitution.”