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To Constitute a Nation

To Constitute a Nation
A Cultural History of Australia's Constitution


Part of Studies in Australian History

  • Date Published: July 1999
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521668972

£ 32.00

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About the Authors
  • This imaginative and resonant 1997 book looks at the constitution as a cultural artefact. It attempts to understand the period during which it emerged, culminating in Federation in 1901. Irving looks beyond the well-known events, places and figures to locate federation and the constitution in the context of broader social, political and cultural changes. She argues that Australians displayed an ability to reconcile the demands of pragmatism with the urge of romanticism. Despite its paradoxical construction, there is something uniquely Australian about the constitution, and it marked a utopian moment as the old century gave way to the new. Irving analyses the background and outcomes of the Constitutional Convention and considers its significance for Australia's possible future as a republic.

    • Relevant contribution to debates about Australia becoming a republic - a new chapter reflects this
    • The first attempt to describe the making of the constitution and the federation movement together
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    Reviews & endorsements

    ' … the most impressive aspect of this book is the way it manages to cover everything you could want to know about the creation of the Constitution, without once becoming cluttered or confusing.' The Big Issue

    'Helen Irving has made a unique and valuable historical contribution to the often dry, legal discourse about our Constitution.' Labour History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 1999
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521668972
    • length: 272 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 15 mm
    • weight: 0.37kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Colonial nuptials
    2. The imaginary nation
    3. Imagined Constitutions
    4. Models for a nation
    5. Things properly federal
    6. White Australians
    7. Australian natives
    8. The people
    9. Citizens
    10. Half the nation
    11. The federal compact

  • Author

    Helen Irving, University of Technology, Sydney

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