The Conventional Debate

Dr. William Smith
William Smith. By: Gilbert Stuart. 1801-02.

In Pennsylvania, extraordinary events were transpiring that would shape how people expressed their will. William Smith (“Cato”) and a group of individuals, led by James Cannon (“Cassandra”) in 1776, debated the issue of how institutions should reflect the people’s will, given the Radical Political Experiment unfolding in Pennsylvania.

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Controlling the Governor

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William Hooper.

By 1776, the states were debating their respective constitutions and the Declaration of Independence was becoming a reality, all of which was fostering an environment of great debate. One part of that debate was what the role of governor should be for each state, and many of the conclusions and decisions made during that debate carry forth to modern America.

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Laboratories of Democracy

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Governor’s Palace. Williamsburg, Virginia.

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