But violence is never the answer. No one should confuse the right to speak with an invitation to use force. And the way to remedy this threat to intellectual freedom on campuses is not accomplished with government muscle. Department of Education. The ability to respectfully deliberate, discuss and disagree — to model the behavior on display in Independence Hall — has been lost in too many places. Others point to the rise of social media where, under the cloak of anonymity, sarcasm and disdain dominate. Certainly, none of that improves our discourse. But I think the issue is more fundamental than that.
Learning is nothing if not a pursuit of truth. Truth — and the freedom to pursue it — is for everyone, everywhere. Regardless of where you were born, who your parents are or your economic situation, truth can be pursued and it can be known. Yet, students are often told there is no such thing. That notion has taken root in our relativistic culture. And I have mine. Serious conversation is over. The pernicious philosophy of relativism teaches that there is no objective truth. Nothing is objectively good or objectively evil. And those views, those experiences, those desires can be understood only by those who live them.
Nothing else and no one else matters. Our self-centered culture denies truth because acknowledging it would mean certain feelings or certain ideas could be wrong. But no one wants to be wrong. It is much easier to feel comfortable in saying there is no truth. Nothing that could challenge what we want to believe. If ultimately there are no facts — if there is no objective truth — then there is no real learning. Abandoning truth creates confusion.
Confusion leads to censorship. And censorship inevitably invites chaos on campuses, and elsewhere. This is not simply a matter for academics to debate. Recent surveys indicate public support for colleges and universities has declined over the last few years. Begin with yourself. In our fast-paced, noisy world, it is healthy to develop an interior life.
Be still, pray, reflect, review, contemplate. Starting with ourselves — with introspection — would help us approach each other with more respect and grace. Then listen — really listen! When we are, we more quickly recognize that behind each strongly-held idea are heartbeats, emotions, experiences… in other words, a real person.
We would also do well to rightly understand the responsibility that goes along with freedom. Yes, free speech is both a right and a responsibility. We will make mistakes. We will say the wrong things and subscribe to the wrong ideas. There are bad ideas. But the exchange of ideas should be conducted openly, where good ones can rightly defeat bad ones — with open words and open dialogue, not with closed fists or closed minds.
To that end, we can embrace a Golden Rule of free speech: seeking to understand as to be understood. A responsible use of free speech, in this sense, is a desire to prove why your ideas are better for your neighbor because you love your neighbor, not because you only want to prove him or her wrong. I think often — even more so this past week — of phrases my father-in-law used all the time. Some folks get this right. But the two professors recently wrote an instructive statement about freedom of thought and expression.
Might it better serve the cause of truth-seeking to engage the speaker in frank civil discussion? Those are important questions. At least one university is leading the way in addressing them. Since its founding, the University of Chicago has always affirmed a commitment to free and open inquiry.
A committee there recently reaffirmed that commitment in a statement of principles — not new policies or codes. Too many institutions have tried to pursue truth and harmony, but end up failing in both. Jonathan Haidt, a psychologist and professor at New York University, argues that institutions of learning cannot pledge to pursue truth and at the same time oblige a welcoming atmosphere, civility or even social justice.
The latter are to be voluntarily embraced by each member of the community. A school, on the other hand, must make a choice as to its purpose. An institution of learning cannot be both a forum for all ideas and an advocate for some at the expense of others. And learners have a choice to make, as well.
No school and no government can force its people to be responsible. To amend the Articles into a workable government, 74 delegates from the twelve states were named by their state legislatures; 55 showed up, and 39 eventually signed. Madison outlined his plan in letters: 1 State legislatures shall each send delegates instead of using members of the Congress of the Confederation.
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The Convention was to be "merely advisory" to the people voting in each state. George Washington arrived on time, Sunday, the day before the scheduled opening. Morris entertained the delegates lavishly. William Jackson , in two years to be the president of the Society of the Cincinnati , had been Morris' agent in England for a time; and he won election as a non-delegate to be the convention secretary. The convention was scheduled to open May 14, but only Pennsylvania and Virginia delegations were present.
The Convention was postponed until a quorum of seven states gathered on Friday the 25th. The rules of the Convention were published the following Monday. These were the same delegates in the same room, but they could use informal rules for the interconnected provisions in the draft articles to be made, remade and reconnected as the order of business proceeded. The Constitutional Convention voted to keep the debates secret so that the delegates could speak freely, negotiate, bargain, compromise and change. Yet the proposed Constitution as reported from the Convention was an "innovation", the most dismissive epithet a politician could use to condemn any new proposal.
It promised a fundamental change from the old confederation into a new, consolidated yet federal government. The accepted secrecy of usual affairs conducted in regular order did not apply. It became a major issue in the very public debates leading up to the crowd-filled ratification conventions.
Despite the public outcry against secrecy among its critics, the delegates continued in positions of public trust. State legislatures chose ten Convention delegates of their 33 total for the Constitutional Convention that September. Every few days, new delegates arrived, happily noted in Madison's Journal. But as the Convention went on, individual delegate coming and going meant that a state's vote could change with the change of delegation composition. The volatility added to the inherent difficulties, making for an "ever-present danger that the Convention might dissolve and the entire project be abandoned.
Although twelve states sent delegations, there were never more than eleven represented in the floor debates, often fewer. State delegations absented themselves at votes different times of day. There was no minimum for a state delegation; one would do. Daily sessions would have thirty members present. Members came and went on public and personal business. The Congress of the Confederation was meeting at the same time, so members would absent themselves to New York City on Congressional business for days and weeks at a time.
But the work before them was continuous, even if attendance was not. The Convention resolved itself into a "Committee of the Whole", and could remain so for days. It was informal, votes could be taken and retaken easily, positions could change without prejudice, and importantly, no formal quorum call was required. The nationalists were resolute. As Madison put it, the situation was too serious for despair. The building setback from the street was still dignified, but the "shaky" steeple was gone. They ate supper with one another in town and taverns, "often enough in preparation for tomorrow's meeting.
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The state legislatures of the day used these occasions to say why they were sending representatives abroad. New York thus publicly enjoined its members to pursue all possible "alterations and provisions" for good government and "preservation of the Union". New Hampshire called for "timely measures to enlarge the powers of Congress". Virginia stressed the "necessity of extending the revision of the federal system to all its defects".
On the other hand, Delaware categorically forbade any alteration of the Articles one-vote-per-state provision in the Articles of Confederation. At the same time, delegates wanted to finish their work by fall harvest and its commerce. It was weighted toward the interests of the larger, more populous states. The intent was to meet the purposes set out in the Articles of Confederation, "common defense, security of liberty and general welfare".
The Virginia Plan was national, authority flowed from the people. If the people will ratify them, changes for better republican government and national union should be proposed. Much of the Virginia Plan was adopted. Congress has two houses, the 'house' apportioned by population. It can enact laws affecting more than one state and Congress can override a veto. The President can enforce the law. The Supreme Court and inferior courts rule on international, U. The Constitution is the supreme law and all state officers swear to uphold the Constitution.
Every state is a republic, and new states can be admitted. Amendments are possible without Congress. The Convention recommendations went to Congress, from them to the states. State legislatures set the election rules for ratification conventions, and the people "expressly" chose representatives to consider and decide about the Constitution. It was weighted toward the interests of the smaller, less populous states. The intent was to preserve the states from a plan to "destroy or annihilate" them.
The New Jersey Plan was purely federal, authority flowed from the states. Gradual change should come from the states. If the Articles could not be amended, then advocates argued that should be the report from the Convention to the states. Although the New Jersey Plan only survived three days as an alternate proposal, substantial elements of it were adopted. The Senate is elected by the states, at first by the state legislatures. Congress passes acts for revenue collected directly in the states, and the rulings of state courts are reviewed by the Supreme Court.
States can be added to the Union. Presidents appoint federal judges. Treaties entered into by Congress are the supreme law of the land. All state judiciaries are bound to enforce treaties, state laws notwithstanding. The President can raise an army to enforce treaties in any state. States treat a violation of law in another state as though it happened there. Current knowledge of drafting the Constitution comes primarily from the Journal left by James Madison , found chronologically incorporated in Max Farrand 's "The Records of the Federal Convention of ", which included the Convention Journal and sources from other Federalists and Anti-Federalists.
Scholars observe that it is unusual in world history for the minority in a revolution to have the influence that the "old patriot" Anti-Federalists had over the "nationalist" Federalists who had the support of the revolutionary army in the Society of the Cincinnati. Both factions were intent on forging a nation in which both could be full participants in the changes which were sure to come, since that was most likely to allow for their national union, guarantee liberty for their posterity, and promote their mutual long-term material prosperity.
The contentious issue of slavery was too controversial to be resolved during the Convention. But it was at center stage in the Convention three times, June 7 regarding who would vote for Congress, June 11 in debate over how to proportion relative seating in the 'house', and August 22 relating to commerce and the future wealth of the nation. Once the Convention looked at how to proportion the House representation, tempers among several delegates exploded over slavery.
When the Convention progressed beyond the personal attacks, it adopted the existing "federal ratio" for taxing states by three-fifths of slaves held. Again the question of slavery came up, and again the question was met with attacks of outrage. Over the next two weeks, delegates wove a web of mutual compromises relating to commerce and trade, east and west, slave-holding and free. The transfer of power to regulate slave trade from states to central government could happen in 20 years, but only then.
The delegates were trying to make a government that might last that long. Migration of the free or "importation" of indentures and slaves could continue by states, defining slaves as persons, not property. Long-term power would change by population as counted every ten years. Apportionment in the House would not be by wealth, it would be by people, the free citizens and three-fifths the number of other persons meaning propertyless slaves and taxed Indian farming families.
In , President Thomas Jefferson sent a message to the 9th Congress on their constitutional opportunity to remove U. The United States joined the British Parliament that year in the first "international humanitarian campaign". In the — era abolitionists denounced the Fugitive Slave Clause and other protections of slavery. William Lloyd Garrison famously declared the Constitution "a covenant with death and an agreement with Hell. In ratification conventions, the anti-slavery delegates sometimes began as anti-ratification votes. Still, the Constitution "as written" was an improvement over the Articles from an abolitionist point of view.
The Constitution provided for abolition of the slave trade but the Articles did not.
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The outcome could be determined gradually over time. In Virginia, Federalist George Nicholas dismissed fears on both sides. Objections to the Constitution were inconsistent, "At the same moment it is opposed for being promotive and destructive of slavery! Roger Sherman CT , although something of a political broker in Connecticut, was an unlikely leader in the august company of the Convention. It was like the proposal he made in the Continental Congress. Representation in Congress should be both by states and by population. There, he was voted down by the small states in favor of all states equal, one vote only.
He proposed that in the second 'senate' branch of the legislature, each state should be equal, one vote and no more. After these defeats, the delegates who called themselves the "old patriots" of and the "men of original principles" organized a caucus in the Convention. Supporters explained that it "sustained the sovereignty of the states", while the Edmund Randolph VA "Virginia Plan" erased it.
The Convention had no authority to propose anything not sent up from state legislatures, and the states were not likely to adopt anything new. The "nationalists" answered, The Convention could not conclude anything, but it could recommend anything. Then June 25, the "original principles" men finally won a vote.
The 'senate' would be chosen by the state legislatures, not the people, passed: 9 for, 2 against. Sherman tried a second time to get his idea for a 'house' on the basis of population and a 'senate' on an equal states basis. The "big states" got their population 'house' win, then his equal state 'senate' motion was dropped without a vote. The majority adjourned "before a determination was taken in the House. Sherman's proposal came up again for the third time from Oliver Ellsworth CT. In the "senate", the states should have equal representation.
Advocates said that it could not be agreed to, the union would fall apart somehow. If delegates could not unite behind this here, one day the states could be united by "some foreign sword". On July 2, the Convention for the fourth time considered a "senate" with equal state votes. This time a vote was taken, but it stalled again, tied at 5 yes, 5 no, 1 divided.
The Convention elected one delegate out of the delegation of each state onto a Committee to make a proposal; it reported July 5. July 10, Lansing and Yates NY quit the Convention in protest over the big state majorities repeatedly overrunning the small state delegations in vote after vote. But the Convention floor leaders kept moving forward where they could. First the new 'house' seat apportionment was agreed, balancing big and small, north and south.
The big states got a decennial census for 'house' apportionment to reflect their future growth. Northerners had insisted on counting only free citizens for the 'house'; southern delegations wanted to add property. Benjamin Franklin's compromise was that there would be no "property" provision to add representatives, but states with large slave populations would get a bonus added to their free persons by counting three-fifths other persons.
On July 16, Sherman's "Great Compromise" prevailed on its fifth try. Every state was to have equal numbers in the United States Senate. It was not that five was a majority of twelve, but to keep the business moving forward, he used precedent established in the Convention earlier. Debate over the next ten days developed an agreed general outline for the Constitution. Most remaining delegates, big-state and small, now felt safe enough to chance a new plan.
The Constitution innovated two branches of government that were not a part of the U. Previously, a thirteen-member committee had been left behind in Philadelphia when Congress adjourned to carry out the "executive" functions. Suits between states were referred to the Congress of the Confederation, and treated as a private bill to be determined by majority vote of members attending that day. On June 7, the "national executive" was taken up in Convention. The "chief magistrate", or 'presidency' was of serious concern for a formerly colonial people fearful of concentrated power in one person.
They had someone in mind whom everyone could trust to start off the new system, George Washington. After introducing the item for discussion, there was a prolonged silence. When addressing the issue with George Washington in the room, delegates were careful to phrase their objections to potential offenses by officers chosen in the future who would be 'president' "subsequent" to the start-up.
Nathaniel Gorham was Chair of the Committee of the Whole, so Washington sat in the Virginia delegation where everyone could see how he voted. The vote for a one-man 'presidency' carried 7-for, 3-against, New York, Delaware and Maryland in the negative. Virginia, along with George Washington, had voted yes. As of that vote for a single 'presidency', George Mason VA gravely announced to the floor, that as of that moment, the Confederation's federal government was "in some measure dissolved by the meeting of this Convention.
The Convention was following the Randolph Plan for an agenda, taking each resolve in turn to move proceedings forward. They returned to items when overnight coalitions required adjustment to previous votes to secure a majority on the next item of business. June 19, and it was Randolph's Ninth Resolve next, about the national court system. On the table was the nationalist proposal for the inferior lower courts in the national judiciary. Pure republicanism had not given much credit to judges, who would set themselves up apart from and sometimes contradicting the state legislature, the voice of the sovereign people.
Under the precedent of English Common Law according to William Blackstone , the legislature, following proper procedure, was for all constitutional purposes, "the people. One of John Adams clients believed the First Continental Congress in had assumed the sovereignty of Parliament, and so abolished all previously established courts in Massachusetts. In the Convention, looking at a national system, Judge Wilson PA sought appointments by a single person to avoid legislative payoffs. Judge Rutledge SC was against anything but one national court, a Supreme Court to receive appeals from the highest state courts, like the South Carolina court he presided over as Chancellor.
Rufus King MA thought national district courts in each state would cost less than appeals that otherwise would go to the 'supreme court' in the national capital. National inferior courts passed but making appointments by 'congress' was crossed out and left blank so the delegates could take it up later after "maturer reflection. The Constitutional Convention created a new, unprecedented form of government by reallocating powers of government.
Every previous national authority had been either a centralized government, or a "confederation of sovereign constituent states. The sources and changes of power were up to the states. The foundations of government and extent of power came from both national and state sources.
But the new government would have a national operation. But each state government in their variety continued exercising powers in their own sphere. The Convention did not start with national powers from scratch, it began with the powers already vested in the Congress of the Confederation with control of the military, international relations and commerce.
Five were minor relative to power sharing, including business and manufacturing protections. The Constitution increased Congressional power to organize, arm and discipline the state militias, to use them to enforce the laws of Congress, suppress rebellions within the states and repel invasions. But the Second Amendment would ensure that Congressional power could not be used to disarm state militias. Taxation substantially increased the power of Congress relative to the states. It was limited by restrictions, forbidding taxes on exports, per capita taxes, requiring import duties to be uniform and that taxes be applied to paying U.
But the states were stripped of their ability to levy taxes on imports, which was at the time, "by far the most bountiful source of tax revenues". Congress had no further restrictions relating to political economy. It could institute protective tariffs , for instance. Congress overshadowed state power regulating interstate commerce ; the United States would be the "largest area of free trade in the world. As of ratification, sovereignty was no longer to be theoretically indivisible. With a wide variety of specific powers among different branches of national governments and thirteen republican state governments, now "each of the portions of powers delegated to the one or to the other Besides expanding Congressional power, the Constitution limited states and central government.
Six limits on the national government addressed property rights such as slavery and taxes. The regulation of state power presented a "qualitatively different" undertaking. In the state constitutions, the people did not enumerate powers. They gave their representatives every right and authority not explicitly reserved to themselves.
The Constitution extended the limits that the states had previously imposed upon themselves under the Articles of Confederation, forbidding taxes on imports and disallowing treaties among themselves, for example. In light of the repeated abuses by ex post facto laws passed by the state legislatures, —, the Constitution prohibited ex post facto laws and bills of attainder to protect United States citizen property rights and right to a fair trial.
Congressional power of the purse was protected by forbidding taxes or restraint on interstate commerce and foreign trade. States could make no law "impairing the obligation of contracts. They rejected proposals for Congressional veto of state laws and gave the Supreme Court appellate case jurisdiction over state law because the Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Federal judicial districts would follow those state lines.
The British had relied upon a concept of " virtual representation " to give legitimacy to their House of Commons. It was not necessary to elect anyone from a large port city, or the American colonies, because the representatives of " rotten boroughs ", the mostly abandoned medieval fair towns with twenty voters, "virtually represented" them. Philadelphia in the colonies was second in population only to London.
They were all Englishmen, supposed to be a single people, with one definable interest. Legitimacy came from membership in Parliament of the sovereign realm, not elections from people. As Blackstone explained, the Member is "not bound While the English "virtual representation" was hardening into a theory of Parliamentary sovereignty , the American theory of representation was moving towards a theory of sovereignty of the people.
In their new constitutions written since , Americans required community residency of voters and representatives, expanded suffrage, and equalized populations in voting districts. There was a sense that representation "had to be proportioned to the population. Once the Great Compromise was reached, delegates in Convention then agreed to a decennial census to count the population.
The Americans themselves did not allow for universal suffrage for all adults. There were enough differences among people in different American communities for those differences to have a meaningful social and economic reality. Thus New England colonial legislatures would not tax communities which had not yet elected representatives. When the royal governor of Georgia refused to allow representation to be seated from four new counties, the legislature refused to tax them.
The Americans had begun to demand expansion of the franchise, and in each step, they found themselves pressing towards a philosophical "actuality of consent. For the U. Congress, persons alone were counted. Property was not counted. The Convention found it more difficult to give expression to the will of the people in new states. What state might be "lawfully arising" outside the boundaries of the existing thirteen states?
Now there was to be admission of new states. Regular order would provide new states by state legislatures for Kentucky, Tennessee and Maine. But the Congress of the Confederation had by its Northwest Ordnance presented the Convention with a new issue. Settlers in the Northwest Territory might one day constitute themselves into "no more than five" states.
More difficult still, most delegates anticipated adding alien peoples of Canada, Louisiana and Florida to United States territory. Should they become states? Some delegates were reluctant to expand into any so "remote wilderness". It would retard the commercial development of the east. They would be easily influenced, "foreign gold" would corrupt them.
Western peoples were the least desirable Americans, only good for perpetual provinces. These were poor people, they could not pay their fair share of taxes. It would be "suicide" for the original states. New states could become a majority in the Senate, they would abuse their power, "enslaving" the original thirteen. If they also loved liberty, and could not tolerate eastern state dominance, they would be justified in civil war. Western trade interests could drag the country into an inevitable war with Spain for the Mississippi River. Even if there were to be western states, a House representation of 40, might be too small, too easy for the westerners.
They called themselves republics, and set up their own courts directly from the people without colonial charters. In Transylvania , Westsylvania , Franklin , and Vandalia, "legislatures" met with emissaries from British and Spanish Empires in violation of the Articles of Confederation, just as the sovereign states had done. For example, the British sought to curb American growth. That brought hate, then separation. Follow the same rule, get the same results. Congress has never been able to discover a better rule than majority rule.
If they grow, let them rule. As they grow, they must get all their supplies from eastern businesses. Character is not determined by points of a compass. States admitted are equals, they will be made up of our brethren. Commit to right principles, even if the right way, one day, benefits other states. They will be free like ourselves, their pride will not allow anything but equality. It was at this time in the Convention that Reverend Manasseh Cutler arrived to lobby for western land sales.
He brought acres of land grants to parcel out. Their sales would fund most of the U. There were allocations for the Ohio Company stockholders at the Convention, and for others delegates too. Good to his word, in December , Cutler led a small band of pioneers into the Ohio Valley. The provision for admitting new states became relevant at the purchase of Louisiana. It was constitutionally justifiable under the "treaty making" power of the federal government. The agrarian advocates sought to make the purchase of land that had never been administered, conquered, or formally ceded to any of the original thirteen states.
Jefferson's Democratic-Republicans would divide the Louisiana Purchase into states, speeding land sales to finance the federal government with no new taxes.
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The new populations of new states would swamp the commercial states in the Senate. They would populate the House with egalitarian Democrat-Republicans to overthrow the Federalists. After nearly four months of debate, on September 8, , the final text of the Constitution was set down and revised. Then, an official copy of the document was engrossed by Jacob Shallus. Shallus engrossed the entire document except for the list of states at the end of the document, which are in Alexander Hamilton 's handwriting.
Massachusetts' Rufus King assessed the Convention as a creature of the states, independent of the Congress of the Confederation, submitting its proposal to that Congress only to satisfy forms. Though amendments were debated, they were all defeated. On September 28, , the Congress of the Confederation resolved "unanimously" to transmit the Constitution to state legislatures for submitting to a ratification convention according to the Constitutional procedure.
In doing so, they went beyond the Constitution's provision for the most voters for the state legislature. Delaware, on December 7, , became the first State to ratify the new Constitution, with its vote being unanimous. Pennsylvania ratified on December 12, , by a vote of 46 to 23 New Jersey ratified on December 19, , and Georgia on January 2, , both unanimously. The requirement of ratification by nine states, set by Article Seven of the Constitution, was met when New Hampshire voted to ratify, on June 21, In New York, fully two thirds of the convention delegates were at first opposed to the Constitution.
Hamilton led the Federalist campaign, which included the fast-paced appearance of The Federalist Papers in New York newspapers. An attempt to attach conditions to ratification almost succeeded, but on July 26, , New York ratified, with a recommendation that a bill of rights be appended. The vote was close — yeas 30 Following Massachusetts's lead, the Federalist minorities in both Virginia and New York were able to obtain ratification in convention by linking ratification to recommended amendments.
Maryland's Luther Martin argued that the federal convention had exceeded its authority; he still called for amending the Articles. However, the unanimity required under the Articles made all attempts at reform impossible. They began to take exception to the Constitution "as it was", seeking amendments. Several conventions saw supporters for "amendments before" shift to a position of "amendments after" for the sake of staying in the Union. New York Anti's "circular letter" was sent to each state legislature proposing a second constitutional convention for "amendments before".
It failed in the state legislatures. Ultimately only North Carolina and Rhode Island would wait for amendments from Congress before ratifying. Article VII of the proposed constitution stipulated that only nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify for the new government to go into effect for the participating states. On September 13, , the Congress of the Confederation certified that the new Constitution had been ratified by more than enough states for it to go into effect. Congress fixed the city of New York as the temporary seat of the new government and set the dates for the election of representatives and presidential electors.
It also set the date for operations to begin under the new government. The membership of the new Congress was decidedly federalist. George Washington was unanimously elected the first president, even receiving the electoral vote of ardent anti-federalist Patrick Henry. Both were sworn into office on April 30, The business of setting up the new government was completed.
Anti-Federalists' fears of personal oppression by Congress were allayed by amendments passed under the floor leadership of James Madison during the first session of Congress. These first ten Amendments became known as the Bill of Rights. Since the beginning of federal operations under the Constitution in through the beginning of , approximately 11, proposals to amend the Constitution have been introduced in the United States Congress.
Twenty-seven of these amendments have been ratified and are now part of the Constitution. The first ten amendments were adopted and ratified simultaneously and are known collectively as the Bill of Rights. Prior to the Twenty-seventh Amendment, which languished for years, 7 months, 12 days before being ratified submitted for ratification in as part of the Bill of Rights , but not ratified until , the Twenty-second Amendment held the record for longest time taken to successfully complete the ratification process — 3 years, 11 months, 6 days.
The Twenty-sixth Amendment holds the record for shortest time taken — 3 months, 8 days. Four of these are still technically open and pending, one is closed and has failed by its own terms, and one is closed and has failed by the terms of the resolution proposing it. Much of opposition to the proposed Constitution within several states arose, not because the machinery of the new frame of government was considered unworkable or because strengthening the union between the 13 states viewed as undesirable.
The debates in the state ratifying conventions centered around the absence of anything equivalent to the bill of rights found in several state constitutions. He also opposed the constitution when it was brought before the state for ratification. He acquiesced and the convention voted narrowly to give its assent only after it was decided that a list of twenty proposed amendments be sent along with the state's resolution of ratification.
Delegates to Massachusetts' convention had many of the same concerns, and along with its notification of approval made a request for nine alterations, the first among them being "that it be explicitly declared that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved to the states to be exercised by them. The sharp Anti-Federalist critique of the Constitution did not abate after it became operational, and by the time the First Congress convened in March , there existed widespread sentiment in both the House and Senate in favor of making alterations.
That September, Congress adopted twelve amendments and sent to the states for ratification. Ten of these were ratified by the required number of states in December and became part of the Constitution. These amendments enumerate freedoms not explicitly indicated in the main body of the Constitution, such as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, a free press, and free assembly; the right to keep and bear arms; freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, security in personal effects, and freedom from warrants issued without probable cause; indictment by a grand jury for a capital or "infamous crime"; guarantee of a speedy, public trial with an impartial jury ; and prohibition of double jeopardy.
In addition, the Bill of Rights reserves for the people any rights not specifically mentioned in the Constitution and reserves all powers not specifically granted to the federal government to the people or the States. Amendments to the Constitution subsequent to the Bill of Rights cover a wide range of subjects. Several have added significant content to the original document. One of the most far-reaching is the Fourteenth , ratified in , which establishes a clear and simple definition of citizenship and guarantees equal treatment under the law.
Also significant are the Fifteenth , Nineteenth , Twenty-fourth , and Twenty-sixth , which were enacted to extend the right to vote to persons previously considered ineligible and also to protect their exercise of that right. One Amendment, the Eighteenth , which criminalized the production, transport and sale of alcohol nationwide, was later repealed by another, the Twenty-first.
Nine ratified amendments 11,  12,  13,  14,  16,  17,  20,  22,  and 25  have explicitly superseded or modified the text of the original Constitution. In the early twentieth century Lochner era , the Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional various state laws that limited labor contracts. The Constitution was criticized as putting the government at the beck and call of big business. More recent criticism has often been academic and limited to particular features. University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson wonders whether it makes sense for the Connecticut Compromise to give " Wyoming the same number of votes as California , which has roughly seventy times the population".
Hayes , Benjamin Harrison , George W. Bush and Donald Trump. Yale professor Robert A. Dahl saw a problem with an American tendency towards worship of the Constitution itself. He sees aspects of American governance which are "unusual and potentially undemocratic: the federal system, the bicameral legislature, judicial review , presidentialism , and the electoral college system. University of Virginia professor Larry Sabato advocates an amendment to organize presidential primaries.
In United States history , four periods of widespread Constitutional criticism have been characterized by the idea that specific political powers belong to state governments and not to the federal government —a doctrine commonly known as states rights. At each stage, states' rights advocates failed to develop a preponderance in public opinion or to sustain the democratic political will required to alter the generally held constitutional understanding and political practice in the United States.
At its adoption among the people in the state ratification conventions, the "men of original principles" opposed the new national government as violating the Whig philosophy generally accepted among the original thirteen colonies in According to this view, Congress as a legislature should be only equal to any state legislature, and only the people in each state might be sovereign. They are now referred to as the Anti-Federalists in American historiography. The proponents of "state sovereignty" and "states rights" were outvoted in eleven of thirteen state ratification conventions, then thirteen of thirteen, to "ordain and establish" the Constitution.
The Nullification Crisis ensued. Justification for the nullifiers was found in the U. Senate speeches and writings of John C. He defended slavery against the Constitutional provisions allowing its statutory regulation or its eventual abolition by Constitutional amendment, most notably in his Disquisition on Government.
The crisis was averted when once General Jackson declared he would march a U. Despite this, a states-rights-based defense of slavery persisted amongst Southerners until the American Civil War; conversely, Northerners explored nullification of the Fugitive Slave Act of Abraham Lincoln kept a portrait of Andrew Jackson above his desk at the War Department during efforts to defend the Constitution as understood by a national majority of people and states at that time. An important survey of the philosophical and legal underpinnings of "States Rights" as held by secessionists and Lost Cause advocates afterwards is found in the speeches of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government.
Davis defended secession by appealing to the "original principles" of the Founders' Revolutionary generation, and by expanding on William Blackstone 's doctrine of legislative supremacy. By the elections of , all states which had been admitted to the United States in accordance with the Constitution were fully represented in the U. Following the Supreme Court holding in Brown v. Board of Education , President Dwight D. Eisenhower used National Guard and U. Public schools in every state are now racially integrated by law under the authority of the U.
The tradition is seen in many shorter episodes of limited minority protest against the United States. During the War of , Federalists conducted a Hartford Convention proposing New England secession during wartime to reopen trade with the declared enemy of the United States.
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It led to accusations of treason and the demise of the Federalist Party as a force in American politics. In , the Maryland Attorney General sued to block woman suffrage. He argued in Leser v. Garnett that state legislatures were Constitutionally the sole determiners of who should vote in what federal or state elections, and that the 19th Amendment was improper.
The Supreme Court's judicial review of the state court findings held that the 19th Amendment was Constitutional, and that it applied to the women's right to vote in every state. Women now vote in every state under the authority of the U. One exceptional example of "states rights" persuading overwhelming majorities in a democratic and sustained way, and so transforming the nation came in the John Adams administration. Fear had spread that radical democratic sentiment might turn subversive as it had in the French Reign of Terror.
But the Federalist-sponsored Alien and Sedition Acts meant to preempt the danger led to suppression of opposition press. The political reaction in the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions sparked public opposition against the Federalist policy and led to twenty-four years of Constitutionally elected Democratic-Republican Party rule through six administrations of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, opponents of federal laws prohibiting the sale and possession of marijuana have based their objections partially on states' rights grounds, as have opponents of federal laws and regulations pertaining to firearms.
States' rights under the constitution has also been recently raised as an issue on a number of other occasions, most notably regarding Common Core , the Affordable Care Act , and same-sex marriage. At first, little interest was shown in the parchment object itself. Madison had custody of it as Secretary of State — but having left Washington, he had lost track of it in the years leading to his death. A publisher had access to it in for a book on the Constitution. In historian J. Franklin Jameson found the parchment folded in a small tin box on the floor of a closet at the State, War and Navy Building.
In the State Department sealed the Declaration and Constitution between two glass plates and kept them in a safe. The two parchment documents were turned over to the Library of Congress by executive order, and in President Coolidge dedicated the bronze-and-marble shrine for public display of the Constitution in the main building. The parchments were laid over moisture absorbing cellulose paper, vacuum-sealed between double panes of insulated plate glass, and protected from light by a gelatin film.
Although building construction of the Archives Building was completed in , in December they were moved from the Library of Congress until September , and stored at the U. They were transferred to the National Archives in Visual inspections have been enhanced by electronic imaging. Changes in the cases led to removal from their cases July , preservation treatment by conservators, and installment in new encasements for public display in September From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Voting Rights. Drafting and ratification timeline Convention Signing Federalism Republicanism. Main article: United States Declaration of Independence. Main article: Articles of Confederation. Main article: Mount Vernon Conference. Main article: Annapolis Convention See also: Constitutional Convention United States. Independence Hall , south wing. Washington as Convention President. George Washington Convention President. James Wilson , PA "unsung hero of Convention".
Edmund Randolph , VA consolidated government. William Paterson , NJ states and congress equal. Main article: Slavery in the United States. Main article: Connecticut Compromise. Luther Martin , MD if not state equality create regional nations. John Dickinson , DE for one-person president. Main article: Federalism in the United States.
Constitution of the United States. Morris , PA provinces forever. Main article: United States Bill of Rights. United States Bill of Rights. Additional amendments to the United States Constitution. Further information: List of amendments to the United States Constitution. This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Tansill ed. See also H.
Commager ed. Thomas Jenifer for Maryland. Wise , U. Beard emphasize this aspect of the U. Although An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States is discredited among modern scholars, Beard's legacy is that the economic, financial and commercial aspects of American history are almost always included in a survey of any topic. All nine were leaders in the Revolution, seven served in the Continental Congress. Five attended the Constitutional Convention, one later served the new government as Attorney General, two on the Supreme Court, and two as President.
In the Revolution, three served in uniform, two were judges, two merchants, one financier. Two had been immigrants. Attorney General. Neither Randolph nor Madison actually attended the conference; Gov. Patrick Henry had not informed them of the date. Alexander Henderson served during the Revolution as an officer in the Virginia militia. He was a Scottish-born merchant, the "Father of the American chain store".