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This Chapter provides a framework for examining the ambivalent and reciprocal relationship between emotions and constitutional law through three interrelated lenses: text, instrument, and symbol. In the years before the Civil War, discourse about feelings impacted institutional struggles for interpretive supremacy over the constitutional text, affected the Constitution’s ability to function as a legal mechanism for emotion management, and shaped its status as a national symbol.


Vital Tissues of the Spirit: Constitutional Emotions in the Antebellum United States, Chapter 19 in The Routledge Research Companion to Law and the Humanities in Nineteenth-Century America