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Rule of Law

Volume XI, Number 2 | spring 2018


Super Pacts

International treaties, from antiquity to the digital age.



In a September 1820 letter, Thomas Jefferson warned that “to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions” would “place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so.” A letter three months later was more incendiary, calling the judiciary “the subtle corps of sappers and miners constantly working underground to undermine the foundations of our confederated fabric.”

If law and justice do not attain their ends, the people will be unable to move hand or foot.

—Confucius, c. 500

More Rule of LawGo to Issue Page >



Your Time Is Going to Come


Trump humiliates underlings with firings; the media reports metaphoric “stays of execution.”


c. 40:

Caligula condemns underlings to fight wild beasts after they fail to acknowledge his genius.


The World in Time

Richard White

Lewis H. Lapham talks with Richard White, author of The Republic for Which It Stands: The United States during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age, 1865–1896. More

Lapham's Daily

A Chronic Case of Know-Nothing Amnesia