Constitutional Convention

Colorado’s Enduring Constitutional Heritage

By |2019-07-31T14:07:22-05:00July 31st, 2019|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Government, Politics|

The Colorado Constitution remains one of the longest state constitutions, reflective of Coloradans’ inclination to instruct their government in exactly what it should do and cannot do. They knew they did not want a “do-nothing” government. The 1876 Colorado Constitution contains the strongest declaration of state’s rights of any American constitution: “The people of [...]

Leaving the Union: Could a State Successfully Secede Today?

By |2016-11-14T22:22:22-05:00November 14th, 2016|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, History, Secession, South|

There is no section of the U.S. Constitution that would preclude states from putting referendums for secession on the ballot, and if duly approved, for such states then to depart legally from the Union. The U.S. Constitution is the world’s oldest existing governing body of laws. It was then that our founding fathers met in [...]

James Madison on Representation & the Branches of Government

By |2019-03-07T11:22:00-05:00May 25th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, Constitutional Convention, Featured, James Madison|

Editor’s note: On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention began. In honor of this momentous occasion, we invite you to explore some of James Madison’s notes during the convention as the members shaped our nation. The original text has been retained to the greatest extent practicable. In Committee of the Whole. Mr. PINCKNEY, according to previous [...]

The Role of the “Middle Delegates” at the Constitutional Convention

By |2016-02-05T11:29:12-05:00January 7th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Featured, Forrest McDonald, Political Science Reviewer|

Historians of the Constitutional Convention have agreed that there were divisions among the delegates, but have disagreed as to what those divisions were and what underlays them. It was long believed that the only significant line of division was between small states and large. Delegates from the small states, according to this view, were [...]

Let Justice Be Our Guide: Federalism and the Constitutional Convention

By |2018-10-26T22:55:36-05:00October 29th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Featured, Federalist Papers|Tags: |

James H. Hutson concludes his valuable 1984 survey of two hundred years of Constitutional scholarship on a pessimistic note. Scholarship, says Hutson, is at a standstill because there is no consensus on how to interpret what took place at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Into the vacuum created by the protracted war between conflict [...]

A Better Constitution

By |2019-04-11T11:27:55-05:00September 17th, 2015|Categories: American Founding, Benjamin Franklin, Constitutional Convention|

Mr. President I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information, or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, [...]

In Defense of the Old Republic: The Problem of the Imperial Presidency

By |2014-11-25T19:03:25-05:00November 21st, 2014|Categories: Constitutional Convention, Featured, Federalist Papers, George W. Carey, Government, Presidency|Tags: |

The Philadelphia Constitution may be dead,[1] but the basic problems which troubled the Framers—e.g., preserving the rule of law, preventing oppressive government—are still relevant, albeit in the new and different context. For instance, by way of introduction to what follows, the marked changes in relative powers of the branches of government since the time [...]

Rule of Law: The Great Foundation of Our Constitution

By |2019-07-03T14:25:25-05:00September 2nd, 2014|Categories: Constitutional Convention, Rule of Law|Tags: |

It was eleven years after the Declaration of Independence—and four years after American victory in the Revolutionary War—that a small group of delegates would convene in Philadelphia to create a new charter for governing the new nation. In order to comprehend this historic achievement we must first understand that this moment and the constitutional [...]

James Wilson: Political Thought and the Constitutional Convention

By |2019-04-04T12:04:53-05:00February 27th, 2014|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitutional Convention, Featured, George W. Carey|Tags: |

Scholars familiar with the writings and career of James Wilson are struck by the discrepancy between the status accorded him by most constitutional historians and the magnitude of his contributions to our founding.[1] In their view, Wilson’s record clearly entitles him to a place among the honored “elite” of the founding era such as [...]

The Glory of Mankind: Alcohol and the Early Republic

By |2019-03-26T17:09:49-05:00March 23rd, 2013|Categories: American Republic, Constitutional Convention, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today. ― Edgar Allan Poe Vivan le femmine, Viva il buon vino, sostegno e gloria, d’umanità! —Mozart, Don Giovanni We Americans like to think of the leaders of the American Revolution and the Framers of the Constitution as, literally, a sober lot. The Stoic Washington, the [...]

Patrick Henry’s Warning About Infringements on Liberty

By |2019-04-04T12:31:14-05:00February 25th, 2013|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Patrick Henry|Tags: |

At the conclusion of Virginia’s 1788 ratification convention, a meeting tasked with voting on the new Constitution, Patrick Henry strode to the assembly floor, convinced that the future of American liberty hung in the balance. In his mind’s eye, the great orator warned, he could see angels watching, “reviewing the political decisions and revolutions [...]

The Constitution is not Sacred

By |2013-12-09T17:53:22-05:00September 28th, 2012|Categories: American Republic, Bradley J. Birzer, Constitution, Constitutional Convention|

In one of the single most interesting moments during the constitutional convention of 1787, a discussion arose—really for the first time with any great seriousness—about the issue of slavery in the West. How the republic might expand would, of course, help define the republic itself. The admission of slaves was a most grating circumstance [...]

George Washington & Benjamin Franklin in the Constitutional Convention

By |2019-09-19T14:45:40-05:00August 25th, 2012|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Benjamin Franklin, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, George Washington, Political Science Reviewer|

The title of this essay gives away its complete content, without suggesting its conclusion-namely, that at least one of the two greatest Americans of the eighteenth century was indeed a lawmaker and not merely a symbol in the Constitutional Convention. Washington and Franklin, uniquely, have been lionized as “lending their names” to the founding. Not only [...]

Most Underrated Founder: John Dickinson

By |2017-01-09T13:23:15-05:00June 18th, 2012|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitutional Convention, Forrest McDonald, John Dickinson|

Having studied eighteenth-century America all our adult lives, we are prepared to offer a generalization: the more one learns about the subject, the less prone one becomes to make categorical statements. Who were the first to resist British encroachments upon American liberties? who were the most important figures in bringing about independence? what were [...]