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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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • 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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • 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.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Read for class, an easy read.

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