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Corruption in America

From Benjamin Franklin's Snuff Box to Citizens United
Narrated by: Jo Anna Perrin
Length: 9 hrs and 36 mins
Categories: History, American
4.5 out of 5 stars (81 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For two centuries, the Framers' ideas about political corruption flourished in the courts, even in the absence of clear rules governing voters, civil officers, and elected officials. In the 1970s, the U.S. Supreme Court began to narrow the definition of corruption, and the meaning has since changed dramatically. No case makes that clearer than Citizens United. In 2010, one of the most consequential Court decisions in American political history gave wealthy corporations the right to spend unlimited money to influence elections. Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion treated corruption as nothing more than explicit bribery. With unlimited spending transforming American politics for the worse, Citizens United was not just bad law but bad history.

Corruption in America clearly shows that if the American experiment in self-government is to have a future, then we must revive the traditional meaning of corruption and embrace an old ideal.

©2014 The President and Fellows of Harvard College (P)2014 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"...an eloquent, revealing, and sometimes surprising historical inquiry, Teachout convincingly argues that corruption, broadly understood as placing private interests over the public good in public office, is at the root of what ails American democracy." (David Cole, New York Review of Books)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic dissection of Citizens United

Detailed and thorough historical, legal, and philosophical examination of the US Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Ben P.
  • BELLEVUE, WA, US
  • 01-02-17

Law Review+

The author paints a picture of a world where corruption has lost meaning and the American people are content to be governed rather than citizens involved in self-government. However, it is written like a law review article rather than a history book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Should be required reading for all voters

Fabulous and often overlooked topic. Much detail and reference with the only possible fault being that it reads like, I imagine, a law book would. As an Engineer, the form is rather foreign but efficient. I want to purchase the written copy so as to use to for reference and possibly to evaluate the bibliography. So much to absorb without a hard copy but if your interest is a more casual review of the topic, the audible version is excellent. The reading might be a little mechanical but again, the subject and writing style might the source of a large part of this effect.
I would also expect if the reader was predisposed to support the side of Citizens United, they might not appreciate the obvious side the author takes.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Couldn't read, but it was easy to listen to.

The book is comprehensive and interesting, but can be difficult if the reader does not have at least a foundational understanding of legal language.