February 15: The Constitutional Convention
The signing of the Constitution
|Last time, we made our way through the Articles of Confederation and the state governments. A few key points: one, that the American Revolution began with a flurry of anti-executive feeling, seen not only in the PA Constitution but also in the Articles framework; two, that fundamental issues about the structure of government remained unresolved through the 1780s, namely the purpose of the upper house of the legislature (Senate); and three, that the state constitutions themselves need to be viewed as historically significant value, both for their intellectual content and for the precedents that they formed. Beyond that, though, historians disagree strongly, particularly over Wood's thesis that the PA Constitution represented the high point of revolutionary fervor, with events of the 1780s, culminating in the Constitution, forming a counterrevolutionary backlash orchestrated by the elite. What do you think?|
Rakove, Original Meanings--read pp. 23-56 especially closely. Also, Wood on interest from the SB
The Constitution of the United States
1.) How did the Americans' practical experience with federalism during the previous 30 years affect the writing of the Constitution?
2.) Looking at the Constitution, where does sovereignty seem to be located?
3.) Did the US Constitution embody the spirit of the Declaration of Independence and 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution?
return to course schedule