Tag: United States Constitution

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The Constitutional Authority of the Continental Congress

On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared America’s Independence from the British Empire. Approximately five years later, on March 1, 1781, Congress recorded Maryland’s procrastinated ratification of the Articles of Confederation and concomitantly gave them legal effect. The Articles of Confederation are generally regarded as America’s first Constitution, though in many respects they […]

by David Otersen
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Impeachment: The Framers Debate and Discuss

Author’s Note: Selections from all resolutions and working drafts are italicized. Most of what we know about the framers’ discussions comes from James Madison’s Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787; material from Madison’s notes is identified by quotation marks or indented block quotes. The best print source, annotated by Adrienne Koch and […]

by Ray Raphael
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This Week on Dispatches: Andrew Schocket on Who Mattered in Early America?

On this week’s Dispatches host Brady Crytzer interviews Andrew Schocket, professor of history at Bowling Green State University about the original research he and two of his students, Kinzey M. McLaren-Czerr and Colin J. Spicer, conducted to establish that free women and children were included in the population counts for congressional representation. Thousands of readers like […]

by Editors
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The Tragedy of Henry Laurens

It wasn’t really their fault, they said. Slavery, men of the founding generation liked to argue, was brought to the colonies by Britain. It came via Barbados and the other sugar islands of the Caribbean. Thomas Jefferson and Henry Laurens both blamed Britain and wished the colonies could free themselves of the practice. It was […]

by Gabriel Neville
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Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution

Quarters: The Accommodation of the British Army and the Coming of the American Revolution by John Gilbert McCurdy (Cornell University Press, 2019) Question: “Why did the colonists fight the British?” Answer: “Because the British Army stayed in their houses.” This question and answer comes from a United States government practice test for the U. S. citizenship […]

by Don N. Hagist
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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