David C. Baum Memorial Lecture: Tradition and Constitutionalism Before the Constitution
Michael W. McConnell   |   1998 U. Ill. L. Rev.

This essay served as the basis of Professor Michael W. McConnell's David C. Baum Memorial Lecture on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at the University of Illinois. In this essay, Professor McConnell explores the pre-Constitutional roots of the "traditionalist" approach to constitutional theory. He asserts that the rights and expectations found in our written constitution are rooted in common-law traditions and historical practices in Britain and in America.

* Presidential Professor, University of Utah College of Law.

The author is grateful for helpful comments by Akhil Amar, Philip Hamburger, Cass Sunstein, and participants in the Legal Theory Series at Yale Law School and the Work on Progress Series at the University of Chicago Law School.

Professor McConnell delivered the second of the 1996-97 David C. Baum Memorial Lectures on Civil Liberties and Civil Rights at the University of Illinois College of Law entitled "Deriving Modern Rights from the Ancient Constitution" on March 6, 1997. This essay is based on that lecture.