Congress

Constitution Sunday: Reply to Wilson’s Speech: “Centinel” [Samuel Bryan] II

Reply to Wilson’s Speech: “Centinel” [Samuel Bryan] II Freeman’s Journal (Philadelphia), October 24, 1787 Following are excerpts from Samuel Bryan’s article, published in response to James Wilson’s speech: “Friends, countrymen, and fellow-citizens, As long as the liberty of the press

More

Division and Balancing of Political Power

Because the Federalists outmaneuvered the Antifederalists in presenting the Constitution to the American people, the Antifederalists faced a predicament of what to do. As Richard Henry Lee stated, many who wished to change the federal structure of government realized that they had to accept “this or nothing.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, […]

More

A Supreme Sovereign Power

Despite the fact that the Articles of Confederation loosely held the states together, there was still a remarkable union achieved. There were privileges and immunities granted, “reciprocity of extradition and judicial proceedings among the states,” no “travel and discriminatory trade restrictions between states, and the substantial grant of powers to the Congress in Article 9 […]

More

The Birth of the Senate

In the earliest years of the American Republic, theories were abound about the proper structure of government to best balance equality and wise decision-making. John Adams stated, in his Thoughts on Government, that “a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one assembly.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, […]

More

An Outraged America

In March 1816, Congress passed a Compensation Act, “which raised the pay of congressmen from six dollars per diem to a salary of fifteen hundred dollars a year.” Gordon Wood, Empire of Liberty, 718-19. This was the first raise in the pay for congressmen since 1789. Id. at 719. Robert Wright, a Congressman in 1816, and previously […]

More