At the time of the American Revolution, it was commonly believed amongst Americans that formulating the ideal government would require a different system than any previously conceived. The Founding Fathers had their own ideas.
As the American Revolution became more and more inevitable, states began contemplating the role and responsibilities of their legislatures. Those contemplations centered around curing the perceived ills and shortcomings of the English constitution.
In the 1760s and 1770s, Americans had a complicated relationship with the English constitution. The English constitution was both a model for government, in some respects, and the strongest wedge being driven between the colonists and the English.
While revolution was necessary to reinvent the American system of government to best meet the needs of Americans, another key element was necessary. The early Americans realized that “[p]eace is seldom made, and never kept, unless the subject retain such a power in his hands as may oblige the prince to stand to what is agreed.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 24 quoting Foster, Short Essay on Civil Government, 29-30.
The separation of powers in the government of the United States has “come to define the very character of the American political system.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 151. Read more
Tyranny, one of the early Americans’ greatest fears, may seem to contemporary Americans an unjustified fear. Perhaps that is because the early Americans’ precautionary actions relegated the threat of tyranny to the 18th Century. Perhaps not. Read more
At the birth of the Republic, the contrast with the European monarchies became clear. The ideals of the Republic represented a fundamental shift in the role of government in individuals’ lives.
In the months leading up to the Declaration of Independence, the states began the process of adopting their own constitutions. These constitutions, being drafted in 1776, approximately 13 years before the United States Constitution would be ratified, had to confront many of the same issues as the United States Constitution, with various approaches being taken. Read more
There are myriad examples of individuals coming to the United States to enjoy extraordinary success. Some have come to call that the “American Dream.” Perhaps nobody better embodies the American Dream than Thomas Paine, the famous pamphleteer of the late 1700s. Read more
The American Revolution is a topic that has been dissected, analyzed, and retold by every generation of Americans. The political theory of the American Revolution is conventionally believed to be centered on the revolutionaries’ genius. Read more