By Christian G. Fritz

ISBN-10: 0511480385

ISBN-13: 9780511480386

ISBN-10: 052112560X

ISBN-13: 9780521125604

ISBN-10: 0521881889

ISBN-13: 9780521881883

American Sovereigns is a path-breaking interpretation of America's political historical past and constitutionalism that explores how american citizens struggled over the concept the folk could rule because the sovereign after the yankee Revolution. nationwide and country debates approximately govt motion, legislation, and the people's political powers show how american citizens sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the function because the ruler and but be governed by way of governments in their personal picking.

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

Sample text

The constitution designed a system for a check and balance between the people and the government. Pennsylvania’s 1776 constitution-makers believed the people were sufficiently virtuous and that their vigilance would check any undue legislative or executive intrusions. ”28 Pennsylvania’s constitutional drafters recognized the utility of divided powers among government branches. Yet they concluded that a structural balance of government branches would not necessarily protect the common people from the rich and powerful.

79 Constitution-making eventually did become associated with popular ratification after a specially called convention drafted a constitution. However, such single-purpose conventions followed by ratification were only one means by which the people could authorize government during the eighteenth century and later. For example, the people’s consent could take the 9:41 P1: IBE 9780521881883c02 CUNY1095/Fritz Revolutionary Constitutionalism 978 0 521 88188 3 October 2, 2007 35 form of permitting representatives in revolutionary conventions to create constitutions.

The preamble to South Carolina’s constitution noted its source in the “common consent” of the people. The bill of rights of Virginia’s 1776 constitution was premised on the “power . . vested in, and consequently derived from, the People,” wording borrowed by other subsequent constitutions. 73 Pronouncing the source of the constitution’s authority did not always eliminate confusion about its legitimacy. For instance, South Carolina Governor John Rutledge resigned in 1778 because the legislature revised the constitution without “lawful Power” to do so.

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American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War by Christian G. Fritz


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