The Genesis of the Bill of Rights

Prior to the American Revolution, the colonists had become familiar with the concept of charters. Charters, whether royal, corporate, or proprietary, operated “as the evidence of a compact between an English King and the American subjects.” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 268; see also Leonard Krieger, The Politics of Discretion: Pufendorf and the AcceptanceContinue reading “The Genesis of the Bill of Rights”

Preserving the Health of the Constitution

Corruption was rife in England in the decades leading up to the American Revolution, and Americans were keenly aware of that fact. For many individuals, the English Constitution was viewed as a hollow document, as the crown had taken the power away from all other sources. See Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 34-35. AmericansContinue reading “Preserving the Health of the Constitution”

Setting an Unshakeable Foundation

In the first years of the American Republic, there were drastic changes in the law. The importance and organization of laws were coming into place. At the top were constitutional rights, which, as James Cannon explained “must be protected and defended ‘as the apple of your eye’ from danger ‘or they will be lost forever.’”Continue reading “Setting an Unshakeable Foundation”

The Constitution’s Superiority

By the time of the Revolution, the states had begun to take steps toward sustaining themselves after independence from Britain was effectuated. One of those steps was the drafting of constitutions. Constitutions, while understood generally in Britain and elsewhere, had a unique meaning for Americans.

Preventing and Facilitating Tyranny

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.

A Complicated Relationship

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.