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”

Constitution Sunday: “Philanthrop” to the Public

“Philanthrop” to the Public American Mercury (Hartford), November 19, 1787 Following are excerpts from an article in the American Mercury, located in Hartford, Connecticut: “Let us for a moment call to view the most specious reason that can be urged by the advocates for anarchy and confusion, and the opposers to this glorious Constitution, and seeContinue reading “Constitution Sunday: “Philanthrop” to the Public”

Election of 1840: The Rhetoric

The Election of 1840 juxtaposed the Whig Party’s policies against the Democratic Party’s more fluid policies. The Whigs “possessed a more coherent program: a national bank, a protective tariff, government subsidies to transportation projects, the public lands treated as a source of revenue, and tax-supported public schools.” Daniel Walker Howe, What Hath God Wrought: Transformation ofContinue reading “Election of 1840: The Rhetoric”

The Revolution’s Failure and Excesses

The culmination of beliefs and events that led to the drafting of the Constitution were varied but also generally in agreement about the necessity of having the Constitution.

A Moral Reformation

As eluded to in Virtue as a Principle and Foundation, vices had come to plague American society shortly after the American Revolution. Patrick Henry said, in 1780, that he “feared that our Body politic was dangerously sick,” as from top to bottom, society appeared to be embracing vice. Patrick Henry to Jefferson, Feb. 15, 1780, Boyd,Continue reading “A Moral Reformation”

The Emergence of American Principles and Tempers

As the American Revolution approached “most Americans had become convinced that they were ‘aptly circumstanced to form the best republicks, upon the best terms that ever came to the lot of any people before us.’” Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic: 1776-1787, 98 quoting Phila. Pa. Packet, Feb. 12, 1776; Purdie’s Wmsbg. Va. Gazette, May 17, 1776.

Virtue as a Principle and Foundation

At the time of the Revolution, republicanism was permeating political discourse and political theory. John Adams asked in 1776 that “[i]f there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?” He continued byContinue reading “Virtue as a Principle and Foundation”

Hamilton’s Ideal Politician

It is no secret that Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton disliked each other. That rivalry culminated in the infamous duel in 1804, leaving Hamilton to die just days later. However, prior to that, Hamilton’s dislike of Burr led Hamilton to pontificate on which individuals would make the best politicians in America. See Gordon Wood, Revolutionary Characters: What MadeContinue reading “Hamilton’s Ideal Politician”