Download American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional by Christian G. Fritz PDF

By Christian G. Fritz

American Sovereigns is a path-breaking interpretation of America's political heritage and constitutionalism that explores how americans struggled over the concept that the folk could rule because the sovereign after the yankee Revolution. nationwide and kingdom debates approximately executive motion, legislation, and the people's political powers exhibit how american citizens sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the position because the ruler and but be governed by means of governments in their personal settling on.

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Additional resources for American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War

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The Revolution, noted one legislator, William Paca, established that government’s “power is derived from the people . . 42 In this way, the right broke loose from its traditional moorings of resistance to oppression. 43 After the Revolutionary War, Americans developed an appetite for histories that explained their victory in establishing a nation in which the people ruled as the sovereign. South Carolina revolutionary David Ramsay offered a popular account of the revolution in his state. Others, including Dr.

New Hampshire’s provincial congress promulgated the state’s 1776 constitution itself because it received a special mandate in the previous election to draft and adopt a constitution. 75 The two states that did not hold elections before their legislatures promulgated their initial constitutions were South Carolina and Virginia. 77 As John Adams recognized as early as 1775, the key to creating governments in America was to acknowledge that “the People were the Source of all Authority and . . ”78 Today’s view that legitimate constitutions require constitutional conventions followed by popular ratification would have been news to American constitution-makers of the revolutionary period.

This analysis finds that virtually all of these constitutions lacked the process of special constitutional conventions followed by popular ratification that seems so crucial to constitution-making today. 67 They assume that it took Americans until the 1780s to develop a “correct” understanding of constitutionalism. Americans during the revolutionary period are described as experiencing a “confusion” and “unfamiliarity” in creating constitutions. 70 These state conventions guided revolutionary movements locally.

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