Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XVI

“Publius,” The Federalist XVI [Alexander Hamilton] New-York Packet, December 4, 1787 When any union or confederacy of states or provinces decide to form a nation, it does so with its citizens knowing that members may “alarm the apprehensions, inflame the passions, and conciliate the good will even” in those states that were not “chargeable withContinue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XVI”

Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV

“Publius,” The Federalist XIV [James Madison] New-York Packet, November 30, 1787 With the draft Constitution having been published for consideration by the residents of each state in 1787 came questions about whether and how the federal government would effectuate its responsibilities given the vast land that the states and territories had already comprised—which James MadisonContinue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Publius,” The Federalist XIV”

The North’s Attempt at Salvation

The Deep South’s animating of a Second American Revolution, by seceding from the Union and laying the foundation for an operational Confederate government, forced the North to either suppress the South’s uprising or craft a resolution. The likelihood of war would deter any widespread northern suppression, leaving the question: What compromise could the North propose that appeasedContinue reading “The North’s Attempt at Salvation”

Constitution Sunday: Answers to Mason’s “Objections”: “Marcus” [James Iredell] I

Answers to Mason’s “Objections”: “Marcus” [James Iredell] I Norfolk and Portsmouth Journal (Virginia), February 20, 1788 Following are excerpts from James Iredell’s responses to George Mason’s “Objections” to the Constitution: “IIId. [George Mason’s] Objection. ‘The Senate have the power of altering all money bills, and of originating appropriations of money, and the salaries of the officersContinue reading “Constitution Sunday: Answers to Mason’s “Objections”: “Marcus” [James Iredell] I”

Cap-Stone of the Great American Empire

The political theory that emerged from the Revolution and the debates surrounding the Constitution was not “a matter of deliberation as it was a matter of necessity.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 593.

Building the Bill of Rights

A bill of rights was not contemplated at the Constitutional Convention, until George Mason mentioned it in the last days of the Convention. Every state ruled it out. Rufus King, however, suggested that “as the fundamental rights of individuals are secured by express provisions in the State Constitutions; why may not a like security beContinue reading “Building the Bill of Rights”

Retention of the Supreme Power

Capturing the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution was expressing “the inherent and unalienable right of the people” to determine their system of government. Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 535 quoting Wilson, in McMaster and Stone, eds., Pennsylvania and the Federal Constitution, 317.

Two Supreme Coordinate Powers

Coming out of the Philadelphia Convention, many Americans had different perspectives about what had transpired and how effective the Constitution could be as a governing document.

The Inadequacy of the Confederation

By 1787, the strength and stability of the states was under scrutiny. Shays’ Rebellion had erupted, citizens had become more licentious, and state legislatures appeared to be running rampant, doing significant damage to the health of the country as a whole. See Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 465.