Necessary and Proper Clause, enforcement provisions, Thirteenth Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, Fifteenth Amendment, Reconstruction Amendments, enumerated power, legislative authority


I am thankful for the opportunity to review Professor David Schwartz’s really thoughtful and incisive critique of McCulloch v. Maryland. The book is a creative and masterful reinterpretation of a decision that I thought I knew well, but I learned a lot of new and interesting facts about McCulloch and the (sometimes frosty) reception that the decision has received over the course of the last two centuries. Professor Schwartz persuasively argues that modern views of McCulloch as a straightforward nationalist decision that has always had a storied place in the American constitutional tradition are flat-out wrong. The Spirit of the Constitution shows that the meaning of McCulloch and its use as precedent by both the Supreme Court and Congress has been much more fraught and complex than the scholarly literature has appreciated.