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

By |2020-11-20T09:41:32-06:00November 15th, 2020|Categories: Constitutional Convention, Featured, Federalist Papers, George W. Carey, Government, Presidency, Timeless Essays|Tags: |

The dangers associated with the imperial presidency are compounded by an awareness that, while new and more expansive theories of executive authority are seriously advanced, the office is not attracting individuals of high moral and intellectual character. The Philadelphia Constitution may be dead, but the basic problems which troubled the Framers—e.g., preserving the rule of [...]

The Contributions of Eva Brann to American Political Thought

By |2020-07-16T17:21:49-05:00March 19th, 2020|Categories: American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Declaration of Independence, Eva Brann|

Eva Brann’s contributions to American Political Thought are a starting point that allows the student to grasp the heart of her pursuits—that is, education. For Dr. Brann, the effort to understand the principles of the Declaration of Independence or discern how best to educate the citizens of a democratic republic can take place between students [...]

Colorado’s Enduring Constitutional Heritage

By |2021-01-24T09:48:08-06:00July 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 this [...]

Leaving the Union: Could a State Successfully Secede Today?

By |2020-12-19T10:16:59-06:00November 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 their [...]

James Madison on Representation & the Branches of Government

By |2021-03-15T15:19:14-05:00May 25th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, Constitutional Convention, Featured, James Madison|

“Mr. Madison considered an election of one branch, at least, of the Legislature by the people immediately, as a clear principle of free government; and that this mode, under proper regulations, had the additional advantage of securing better representatives, as well as of avoiding too great an agency of the State Governments in the general [...]

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

By |2020-10-18T13:32:36-05:00January 7th, 2016|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, Featured, Forrest McDonald, Political Science Reviewer|

The contribution of the middle delegates—from Connecticut, Delaware, North and South Carolina—was crucial to the structural design of the Constitution. Without these these eight men, the Grand Convention might not have succeeded in its undertaking. Oliver Ellsworth Historians of the Constitutional Convention have agreed that there were divisions among the delegates, but have [...]

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 and [...]

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, which [...]

Rule of Law: The Great Foundation of Our Constitution

By |2020-01-06T21:56:13-06:00September 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 document [...]

James Wilson: Political Thought and the Constitutional Convention

By |2020-01-23T12:17:55-06:00February 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 Madison, [...]

The Glory of Mankind: Alcohol and the Early Republic

By |2020-05-31T15:42:10-05:00March 23rd, 2013|Categories: American Republic, Constitutional Convention, Stephen M. Klugewicz|

We like to think of the leaders of the American Revolution and the Framers of the Constitution as a sober lot. But 18th-century Americans liked to drink, and alcohol played an important role in the momentous political events of the age. What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today. ― Edgar Allan [...]

The Constitution is not Sacred

By |2013-12-09T17:53:22-06:00September 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 to [...]

Benjamin Franklin & George Washington: Symbols or Lawmakers?

By |2021-03-07T17:18:31-06:00August 25th, 2012|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Benjamin Franklin, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, George Washington, Political Science Reviewer|

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

John Dickinson: The Most Underrated Founder?

By |2020-07-12T16:57:13-05:00June 18th, 2012|Categories: American Founding, American Republic, Books, Constitutional Convention, Forrest McDonald, John Dickinson|

John Dickinson’s standing in the American pantheon is shamefully obscure in view of his contributions toward the establishment of an independent regime of limited government, federalism, and liberty under law. 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 [...]

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