This introductory chapter sets out the book’s purpose, which is to clarify the ambiguities of constitutional faith, i.e., wholehearted attachment to the Constitution as the center one’s (and ultimately the nation’s) political life. The book argues that there is an important conversation to be initiated about what it means to be an “American” in the late twentieth century. This conversation is not merely historical, to be safely distanced somewhere in the past. It assumes that there are many persons who share a very strong sense of “being” American, but are without an equally confident sense of what it means, especially in regard to what, if any, political commitments that identity entails.
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