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 folks could rule because the sovereign after the yank Revolution. nationwide and country debates approximately govt motion, legislation, and the people's political powers display how american citizens sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the position because the ruler and but be governed via governments in their personal opting for.

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

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Wilson’s observations suggest his excitement about the constitutionalism Americans had developed. 34 Drafting constitutions during the Revolution introduced Americans to the process of making governments. It led many to expect that as the sovereign they would have an ongoing right and obligation to act. Creating written constitutions expressed but did not exhaust the people’s role as the sovereign. To many Americans, the people’s sovereignty, like life, liberty, and property, might go unstated, but it remained an inherent right.

25 Many state constitutions acknowledged the subordination of government to the people, much as Virginia’s 1776 constitution did. ” The first constitutions for Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware echoed this sentiment. Massachusetts and New Hampshire used similar wording, stating that government officials were the people’s “substitutes and agents . . at all times accountable” to the people. This was not a burst of revolutionary enthusiasm. Massachusetts’s 1780 constitution both provided for “instruction” and spoke of the right of the people to make “requests” (rather than “prayers”) of the legislature.

A Declaration of Independence was unnecessary because the people were “establishing their Governments . . ”21 Finding that the people as the new sovereign could give life to new governments through written constitutions marked a shift in the nature of representation and the existence of inherent rights. The principle that the people were the sovereign changed the relationship of the governed to their governors. Because the people were the new sovereign, representatives and other governmental officers who served them were subordinate to the new masters, the people.

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