Three Cheers for the Articles of Confederation

By |2019-06-16T21:56:11-05:00June 16th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Constitution, Timeless Essays|

That we remember the Articles of Confederation poorly has far more to do with the ultimate success of American nationalists than it does with actual failure or success of the Articles themselves… Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Bradley J. Birzer, as he reconsiders the legacy [...]

The Constitutional Intrigue of West Virginia Statehood

By |2019-05-22T00:04:40-05:00May 21st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Government, History, Politics|

Admitted in June 20, 1863 by ratifying the U.S. Constitution, West Virginia became the thirty-fifth state. It is known as “The Mountain State” with the West Virginia State Constitution in current use adopted in 1872. The story of how West Virginia became a state is an amazing story, full of constitutional intrigue and slight-of-hand [...]

Orestes Brownson’s New England and the Unwritten Constitution

By |2019-05-20T10:01:09-05:00May 19th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Civil Society, Constitution, Culture, History, Political Philosophy, Politics, Timeless Essays|

Orestes Brownson so esteemed New England people, customs, and institutions that they dominated his writings and fit at the heart of his political ideas. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series affords our readers the opportunity to join Michael J. Connolly, as he considers the political thought of Orestes Brownson. —W. Winston Elliott, Publisher [...]

Maryland’s 1867 State Constitution, Among the Oldest in Use Today

By |2019-04-10T22:39:31-05:00April 10th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, Constitution, History|

Maryland has one of the oldest state constitutions in use today, as well as one of the longest Declarations of Rights. As such, it provides both the historian and constitutional scholar much to occupy their time. A detailed study of the rights of Maryland’s citizens will be time well spent. Maryland is the seventh [...]

The Ethical Center of American Constitutionalism

By |2019-03-25T07:17:52-05:00March 24th, 2019|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Democracy, Federalist Papers, Modernity, Timeless Essays|

The direction that constitutional practice has taken in the past hundred years shows that the Framers’ conception of republican government has passed and the era of populist democracy has arrived. The underlying transformation of the unwritten constitution renders efforts to return to the Framers’ original intent problematic. Today’s offering in our Timeless Essay series [...]

Franklin Pierce, Political Protest, & the Dilemmas of Democracy

By |2019-01-08T23:01:25-05:00January 8th, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Christianity, Civil Society, Civilization, Constitution, Democracy, Government, History, Ordered Liberty, Political Philosophy, Religion|

Franklin Pierce’s suspicions reflected a tension within the antebellum Democratic Party in relation to slavery—how can we reconcile an advocacy of democratic decision-making with the existence of transcendent moral values, the Constitution with the Bible? On the stump in New Boston, New Hampshire in early January 1852, Franklin Pierce gave a long oration during [...]

The Libertarian Constitutional Fantasy

By |2019-06-13T12:22:53-05:00December 4th, 2018|Categories: Conservatism, Constitution, Libertarianism|

Debates regarding the role of the courts used to be waged primarily between conservatives, who were opposed to “judicial activism,” and liberals, who contended that the U.S. Constitution was a “living” document susceptible of a flexible interpretation. In recent years, however, libertarian scholars such as Georgetown Law professor Randy Barnett have altered the course of [...]

Harmony and Order: Giving Thanks

By |2018-11-23T23:30:14-05:00November 21st, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Christian Living, Community, First Amendment, Leisure, Mayflower Compact, Thanksgiving|

In a season of disharmony, discord, distrust, and disorder, it is often painful to stop, to pause, and to give oneself distance enough to consider what must be recognized as good, and true, and beautiful, even in what seems a cesspool of existence. To give thanks, though, is not only necessary, it is salubrious! In [...]

The Supreme Court: Usurping the Legislative and Taxing Power

By |2018-11-19T01:08:17-05:00November 18th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Supreme Court Precedent Series, Thomas R. Ascik|

“Precedence,” as well as following or overturning precedents, is not limited to what is decided in new cases. It is also concerns the adherence to established principles of judicial jurisprudence. Without both kinds of precedence, there is no limit to the power of the judiciary... In the last installment of this survey of the judicial principle [...]

The First Shots of the Civil War: The Star of the West

By |2018-11-14T23:30:37-05:00November 13th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Bradley Birzer Fort Sumter Series, Bradley J. Birzer, Civil War, Constitution, History, Senior Contributors, War|

The Union soldiers defending Forts Sumter and Moultrie in Charleston Harbor had come to believe that their honor, as well as the honor of the Constitution and the federal government, was at stake... Star of the West Shortly after dawn, around 6 am, on January 9, 1861, Captain Abner Doubleday spotted a steamer [...]

The Other Founders: The Legacy of Anti-Federalism

By |2019-05-09T11:36:13-05:00November 1st, 2018|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitution, Democracy, Featured, Federalism, John Taylor of Caroline|

To a very great extent, it was the Anti-Federalists, through their rhetoric and writings, who kept alive the spirit of localism and salvaged the great ideal of limited government inherited from the Revolution... The Other Founders: Anti-Federalism and the Dissenting Tradition in America, 1788-1828 by Saul Cornell (University of North Carolina Press, 1999) The Anti-Federalists who [...]

A Popular Defense of Our Undemocratic Constitution

By |2019-04-02T15:24:09-05:00October 28th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Democracy, Electoral College, Federalism, Federalist Papers, Wyoming Catholic College|

If we consider the Founders’ arguments for the Constitution, we find not only that they intended it to be undemocratic, but that they would defend even its most undemocratic elements on “popular” grounds. What might appear to the partisans of democracy today as outdated roadblocks to efficient government are for the Founders politically salutary forms [...]

The Cornerstone of Conservatism

By |2019-05-07T14:40:38-05:00August 19th, 2018|Categories: American Republic, Christianity, Conservatism, Constitution, Government, Liberalism, Liberty, Politics|

Conservatism is a formal understanding of man. By understanding, I mean a verifiable truth, and by formal, I refer to a distinguishable methodology which permeated the celebrated thoughts of classical antiquity and scholastic medievalism. Conversely, Liberalism is an ideology for man. This is not to say that Conservatism is without its own prescriptions, but [...]