To know what the Framers intended, we need to understand the late-18th century historical context.
Members of the first Federal Congress had to create a new government almost from scratch.
It is important to tell the story of the Constitution’s origins in a way that demythifies it. Impressive as they were, the men who wrote the Constitution were not demigods; they had interests, prejudices, and moral blind spots.
It has been called one of the most consequential debates in American history. The Revolution's greatest orator later fought to stop ratification of the Constitution because of his worries about powers proposed for the Federal government
An impetuous and sometimes corrupt Congress has often hamstrung the efforts of the president since the earliest days of the Republic
Written in haste, on an April midnight in 1803, the unedited text of the message that led to the Louisiana Purchase is printed for the first time.
A diminutive, persuasive Virginian hijacked the Constitutional Convention and forced the moderates to accept a national government with vastly expanded powers
At five critical junctures in American history, major political compromises have proved that little of lasting consequence can occur without entrenched sides each making serious concessions
Without major compromises by all involved and the agreement to avoid the contentious issue of slavery, the framers would never have written and ratified the Constitution
Suppose they could go on "Meet The Press"...
VOTER TURNOUT MAY BE DOWN IN RECENT YEARS, BUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE COMMON CITIZEN HAS GROWN TO FAR SURPASS ANYTHING THE FOUNDING FATHERS EVER DREAMED OF
ON IT HE GAVE THE NEW nation a new industry, wrote a protoguide to New England inns and taverns, (probably) did some secret politicking, discovered a town that lived up to his hopes for a democratic society, scrutinized everything from rattlesnakes to rum manufacture—and, in the process, pretty much invented the summer vacation itself
It has always been politics as usual
Two hundred years ago the United States was a weakling republic prostrate beneath a ruinous national debt. Then Alexander Hamilton worked the miracle of fiscal imagination that made America a healthy young economic giant. How did he do it?
Every one of the Founding Fathers was a historian—a historian who believed that only history could protect us from tyranny and coercion. In their reactions to the long, bloody pageant of the English past, we can see mirrored the framers’ intent.
James Wilson was an important but now obscure draftsman of the Constitution. Carry Wills is a journalist and historian fascinated by what went on in the minds of our founders. The two men meet in an imaginary dialogue across the centuries.
The framers of the Constitution were proud of what they had done but might be astonished that their words still carry so much weight. A distinguished scholar tells us how the great charter has survived and flourished.
The Founding, Fathers never did agree about the proper relationship between church and state. No wonder the Supreme Court has been backing and filling on the principle ever since.
Did the fifty-five statesmen meeting in Philadelphia at the Constitutional Convention know that a witch-hunt was taking place while they deliberated? Did they care?
In an age of ersatz heroes, a fresh look at the real thing
The Unknown Alexander Hamilton
"With half the western world at stake, See Perry on the middle lake.” —Nineteenth-century ballad
The year was 1814, and within three weeks our “young and not always wise” nation suffered acute shame and astonishing victory
The idea goes back to the very beginnings of our national history. Then as now, it was built upon human relationships, and these—as Mr. Jefferson found to his sorrow—make a fragile foundation.
In her later years, Dolley was urbane and gracious, but ruined financially by her spendthrift son.
Jefferson and Madison led a revolutionary fight for complete separation of church and state. Their reasons probed the basic relation between religion and democracy
Was the old South solidly for slavery and secession? An eminent historian disputes a long-cherished view of that region’s history
At Ghent five Americans—divided and far from home—held firm for a treaty that won their nation new respect, and began a lasting alliance