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Constitutional Convention

There is no section of the U.S. Constitution that would preclude states from putting referendums for secession on the ballot, and if duly approved, for such states then to depart legally from the Union. The U.S. Constitution...

Editor's note: On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention began. In honor of this momentous occasion, we invite you to explore some of James Madison's notes during the convention as the members shaped our nation. The original text has been retained to the greatest extent practicable.

Historians of the Constitutional Convention have agreed that there were divisions among the delegates, but have disagreed as to what those divisions were and what underlays them. It was long believed that the only significant line...

Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, That these...

James H. Hutson concludes his valuable 1984 survey of two hundred years of Constitutional scholarship on a pessimistic note. Scholarship, says Hutson, is at a standstill because there is no consensus on how to interpret what...

Mr. President I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them: For having lived long, I have experienced many instances...

The Philadelphia Constitution may be dead, but the basic problems which troubled the Framers—e.g., preserving the rule of law, preventing oppressive government—are still relevant, albeit in the new and different context. For instance,...

It was eleven years after the Declaration of Independence—and four years after American victory in the Revolutionary War—that a small group of delegates would convene in Philadelphia to create a new charter for governing the new...

James Wilson Scholars familiar with the writings and career of James Wilson are struck by the discrepancy between the status accorded him by most constitutional historians and the magnitude of his contributions to...

What care I how time advances? I am drinking ale today. ― Edgar Allan Poe Vivan le femmine, Viva il buon vino, sostegno e gloria, d'umanità! —Mozart, Don Giovanni We Americans...

At the conclusion of Virginia's 1788 ratification convention, a meeting tasked with voting on the new Constitution, Patrick Henry strode to the assembly floor, convinced that the future of American liberty hung in the balance. In his mind's eye,...

In one of the single most interesting moments during the constitutional convention of 1787, a discussion arose—really for the first time with...

George Washington The title of this essay gives away its complete content, without suggesting its conclusion-namely, that at least one of the two greatest Americans of the eighteenth century was indeed a lawmaker and not merely a symbol in...

Having studied eighteenth-century America all our adult lives, we are prepared to offer a generalization: the more one learns about the subject, the less prone one becomes to make categorical statements. Who were the first to resist...