Display by
Items 1-8 of 8
  • The Constitution of the United States of America

     |  The Apple of Gold/Frame of Silver

    The Constitution of the United States of America The Constitution of the United States of America Fifty-five delegates from twelve states (Rhode Island declined to participate) traveled to Philadelphia to attend the Constitutional Convention, which began in May 1787. They quickly scrapped the existing Articles of Confederation, and after four months they concluded their business by adopting a new frame of government. On September 17, thirty-nine delegates signed the Constitution. It was nine months before the requisite nine states ratified the Constitution, putting it into effect. The thirteenth state, Rhode Island, did not ratify it until 1790. Subsequently, it has been amended twenty-seven times. September 17, 1787 Preamble We the People of ...
  • Federalist 39

     |  Rethinking Union and Government

    Federalist 39 Federalist 39 1 James Madison Responding to the Anti-Federalist charge that the Constitution will consolidate power at the national level, Publius sets up a five-prong test to demonstrate that the Constitution will establish neither a wholly national government nor one in which all the power resides with the states. A combination, he argues, creates the best chance for liberty. January 16, 1788 The Conformity of the Plan to Republican Principles The last paper having concluded the observations which were meant to introduce a candid survey of the plan of government reported by the convention, we now proceed to the execution of that part of our undertaking. The first question that offers itself is whether the general form ...
  • Brutus XI

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Essay XI Essay XI 1 Brutus Here Brutus criticizes the power granted by the Constitution to an independent judiciary. January 31, 1788 The nature and extent of the judicial power of the United States, proposed to be granted by this constitution, claims our particular attention. Much has been said and written upon the subject of this new system on both sides, but I have not met with any writer, who has discussed the judicial powers with any degree of accuracy. And yet it is obvious, that we can form but very imperfect ideas of the manner in which this government will work, or the effect it will have in changing the internal police and mode of distributing justice at present subsisting in the respective states, without a thorough investigation ...
  • Federalist 78

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Federalist 78 Federalist 78 1 Alexander Hamilton Defending the idea of judicial review—the authority of the courts to declare a law unconstitutional—Publius denies that it leads to judicial supremacy. The courts must never substitute "will" for "judgment," as all branches of government answer to the Constitution. June 14, 1788 The Judiciary Department We proceed now to an examination of the judiciary department of the proposed government. In unfolding the defects of the existing Confederation, the utility and necessity of a federal judicature have been clearly pointed out. It is the less necessary to recapitulate the considerations there urged as the propriety of the institution in the abstract is not disputed; the only questions which ...
  • Marbury v. Madison

     |  Three Branches of Government

    Marbury v. Madison Marbury v. Madison 1 John Marshall (1755-1835) Thomas Jefferson's election as president is often called the "Revolution of 1800," because it marked the first peaceful transfer of power from one political party to another. Despite its uniquely pacific character, the election's aftermath was marked by partisan rancor. The day before Jefferson took office, President John Adams commissioned fifty-eight Federalist judges. Upon assuming office Jefferson ordered his Secretary of State, James Madison, to withhold their commissions. One of them, William Mar-bury, brought a case that eventually reached the Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Marshall wrote an opinion that established the power of judicial review. 1803 Mr. Chief Justice ...
  • First Inaugural Address

     |  Secession and Civil War

    First Inaugural Address First Inaugural Address 1 Abraham Lincoln Lincoln's First Inaugural Address, delivered a month after the formation of the Confederacy, served as a final plea for Americans to reunite. Lincoln makes clear that he has no intention to change the status of slavery in the states where it exists, having no constitutional authority to do so. He makes equally clear that secession is not a constitutional option. March 4, 1861 Fellow citizens of the United States: In compliance with a custom as old as the government itself, I appear before you to address you briefly, and to take, in your presence, the oath prescribed by the Constitution of the United States, to be taken by the President "before he enters on the execution of ...
  • The Right of the People to Rule

     |  Progressive Rejection of the Founding

    The Right of the People to Rule The Right of the People to Rule 1 Theodore Roosevelt Roosevelt relinquished the presidency in 1908, believing that his Progressive legacy lay safely in the hands of his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft. Although Taft expanded many of Roosevelt's policies and succeeded in passing through Congress the Sixteenth Amendment, permitting a national income tax, Roosevelt challenged Taft in the 1912 Republican primary. Losing the nomination, he announced an independent candidacy under the banner of the Progressive or "Bull Moose" Party. In this campaign speech, he urges more direct power to the people through recall elections, referenda and initiatives, and direct primaries. March 20, 1912 The great fundamental issue now before ...
  • A Time for Choosing

     |  New Deal and Great Society

    A Time for Choosing A Time for Choosing 1 Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) In this nationally televised speech in support of Barry Goldwater, the 1964 Republican Party presidential candidate, Reagan challenges the Progressive principles behind President Johnson's Great Society. The speech propelled Reagan to national prominence. October 27, 1964 I am going to talk of controversial things. I make no apology for this. I have been talking on this subject for ten years, obviously under the administration of both parties. I mention this only because it seems impossible to legitimately debate the issues of the day without being subjected to name-calling and the application of labels. Those who deplore use of the terms "pink" and "leftist" are themselves ...
Display by
Items 1-8 of 8