Political Theory

Constitution Sunday: “Americanus” [John Stevens, Jr.] VII

Daily Advertiser (New York) January 21, 1788 With the draft Constitution being circulated and reviewed by throughout the country, Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia wrote a letter to the Speaker of the House of Delegates detailing his objections—of which there were many—to adopting the Constitution as written. Given his stature as a governor, his objections […]

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Constitution Sunday: Rawlins Lowndes and Edward Rutledge Debate in the South Carolina Legislature

January 16, 1788 A government must provide its people—all of its people, varied as they are—with a structure that fosters self-preservation. In the South, for a long stretch of time, that sense of self-preservation was crucial. There was no denying that the slave economy was central to its existence that it was therefore always going […]

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Constitution Sunday: John Hancock’s Final Observation

February 6, 1788 Massachusetts Ratifying Convention At the conclusion of the Massachusetts Ratifying Convention, John Hancock requested to “close the business with a few words.” He began with an endorsement: the Constitution—amended or not—was destined to deliver political freedom and dignity to the country. This was particularly so given the exhaustive debate that the draft […]

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Constitution Sunday: Charles Jarvis on the Amendment Procedure: An Irrefutable Argument for Ratification

Massachusetts Ratifying Convention January 30, 1788 Revolutions, civil wars, and coups haunt leaders of all types of governments. The very prospect of these events conjures awful images, and every leader searches for ways to prevent and mitigate them. For some, tamping down dissent with force and papering over the people’s differences through campaigns of nationalism […]

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

Answers to Mason’s “Objections”: “Marcus” [James Iredell] II Norfolk and Portsmouth Journal (Virginia), February 27, 1788 Following are excerpts from James Iredell’s responses to George Mason’s “Objections” to the Constitution: “IVth. Objection. The Judiciary of the United States is so constructed and extended, as to absorb and destroy the Judiciaries of the several States

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