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Who Was John Jay?

In those foundational documents and in the acts of the colonial legislatures, the settlers sought to harmonize their aspirations for just institutions and individual rights with the exigencies and imperatives of an alien and often hostile environment. When the colonies faced the withdrawal of the crown governments in , they drew on their experience, which they formalized in written constitutions. This uniquely American constitutional tradition of the charters, covenants and state constitutions was the foundation of the federal Constitution and of the process by which the Constitution was written and ratified a decade later.

Lowell Brown is an attorney and historian. Attorney Brown argues that the American constitutional tradition derived from the legacy of Colonial charters, Colonial covenants, and Revolutionary-era state constitutions, all of which contributed to a body of constitutional law distinct from its British counterpart.

The British constitution drew from a wide range of written and unwritten law that changed and evolved over time at the will of the legislature. In contrast, the American written constitution of established primacy over any legislative act and stands above the work of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.


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However, the Founders did not build their new constitution out of nothing. In crafting Colonial charters and state constitutions, Americans had already diverged from the British tradition of an uncodified constitution.

Effects of the Revolutionary War - Constitutional Convention

In doing so, they adopted a more circumscribed form of constitutional government that limited authority by enumerating specific powers…. Summing Up: Recommended. Table of Contents. All Rights Reserved.

The Constitution as a Revolutionary Document | ACS

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Five myths about the start of the Revolutionary War

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14a. State Constitutions

Sign up. Publications Pages Publications Pages. Search my Subject Specializations: Select Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. The Revolutionary Constitution David J. Bodenhamer Abstract The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union—not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. More The framers of the Constitution chose their words carefully when they wrote of a more perfect union—not absolutely perfect, but with room for improvement. Authors Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Bruce Ackerman: Revolutionary Constitutions (HD)

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