Tag: Constitutional Convention

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Partisan Politics and the Laws Which Shaped the First Congress

Every ten years the United States engages in the process of re-apportionment, wherein each state with more than one House seat redraws their Congressional districts. Simultaneously, every re-districting cycle partisans, activists, and pundits alike all bewail the harmful effects of gerrymandering on the process. Far from a modern phenomenon, partisan politics has always had a […]

by Samuel T. Lair
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John Adams and the Rule of Law

In the Spring of 1776, as the American Revolution was underway the movement of the Colonies towards independence was just starting to gain steam. In the Second Continental Congress, John Adams, with an eye towards the future, championed a resolution that would allow each of the “united colonies” to assume the powers of government and […]

by Stuart Hatfield
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Weaponizing Impeachment: Justice Samuel Chase and President Thomas Jefferson’s Battle Over the Process

There was much discussion over the impeachment process during the Constitution’s ratifying debates. Federalists argued that the ability to impeach an individual gave disproportionate power to the House of Representatives, while Antifederalists favored more provisions to prevent tyranny from taking root. Some individuals liked the idea of having a body other than the Senate try […]

by Al Dickenson
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A Bolingbrokean Argument Hidden in Hamilton’s Federalist 71

Alexander Hamilton penned most of the famous series of essays called the Federalist Papers. In Federalist 71, published in March 1788, he wrote this notable paragraph: It is a just observation, that the people commonly INTEND the PUBLIC GOOD. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who […]

by Haimo Li
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This Week on Dispatches: Eric Sterner on South Carolina’s John Rutledge

On this week’s Dispatches, host Brady Crytzer interviews consultant, author, and JAR contributor Eric Sterner on the life of John Rutledge, governor, president, and congressional delegate of South Carolina, a career he explored over a series of three articles. New episodes of Dispatches are available for free every Saturday evening (Eastern United States Time) on iTunes, Stitcher, […]

by Editors
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Partly National, Partly Federal: James Madison, the Amphictyonic Confederacy, and the Republican Balance

Following the Constitutional Convention’s completion of the United States Constitution in the Fall of 1787, many of those involved in its creation embarked on a campaign to ensure its ratification among the several states. The most significant effort was the publication of the Federalist in New York, published anonymously in a long series of newspaper articles […]

by James A. Cornelius
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First Principles

First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned From the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country by Thomas E. Ricks (New York, NY: Harper Colins Publishers, 2020) Author Thomas E. Ricks (Churchill and Orwell, 2017; Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006) started his work on First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned From the […]

by Timothy Symington
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The Annapolis Convention of 1786: A Call for a Stronger National Government

Speaking at South Carolina’s ratification convention in 1788, Charles Pinckney derided the Articles of Confederation as a “miserable, feeble mockery of government.” Pinckney was a young but significant figure at the Constitutional Convention along with his cousin Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. While coastal South Carolinians, rooted in Charleston, were likely to prevail in support of the […]

by Jason Yonce
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Who Picked the Committees at the Constitutional Convention?

Through four months in the summer of 1787, passionate arguments over political principles filled the Pennsylvania State House while hard-nosed political horse-trading buzzed in the taverns and drawing rooms of Philadelphia. Fifty-five American politicians were writing a new charter of government for the United States, the Constitution. They produced the longest-surviving constitutional republic in human […]

by David O. Stewart
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Standing Armies: The Constitutional Debate

Introduction Few ideas were more widely accepted in early America than that of the danger of peacetime standing armies.[1] This anti-standing army sentiment motivated colonial opposition to post-French and Indian War British policies, intensified after the Boston Massacre, influenced the writings of most founding fathers, and remained politically relevant well after the Revolutionary War ended. […]

by Griffin Bovée