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 american citizens struggled over the concept that the folk might rule because the sovereign after the yank Revolution. nationwide and country debates approximately govt motion, legislation, and the people's political powers show how americans sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the position because the ruler and but be governed by way of governments in their personal selecting.

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

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This underlying principle of American constitutionmaking gave Americans considerable pride. But the idea that the people were the sovereign in America also introduced a worrisome potential: how could such governments be stable if subject to the will of such a collective sovereign? Moreover, the concept of a sovereign people called into question the continuing relevance of the right of revolution. SOVEREIGNS AND SUBJECTS After declaring independence, Americans believed the people acted directly and unilaterally to create constitutions that established their new governments.

Government was subordinate to the people. Although normally quiet and acquiescent, the people could, when they desired, act directly and independently of the existing government, or of constitutional procedures, to manifest their will. These competing views of how the people as the sovereign articulated their will appropriated the universal acknowledgment that Americans used to support their Revolution. The idea that the people collectively were the sovereign – not a monarch or people serving in government positions – gave life and authority to the governments Americans created after Independence.

The people could alter written constitutions whenever and however they wished, even without strict compliance with existing procedures for change in the constitution. 39 Only five of the eleven states that drafted initial constitutions contained bills of rights with alter or abolish provisions. As bills of rights became more common, alter or abolish provisions appeared more frequently. Even state constitutions with alter or abolish provisions harkening back to the natural law precondition of oppression were not necessarily interpreted after the Revolution as limiting their use.

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