Tracing the political, ideological, and constitutional arguments from the imperial crisis with Britain and the drafting of the Articles of Confederation to the ratification of the Constitution and the political conflict between Federalists and Jeffersonians, The American Revolution, State Sovereignty, and the American Constitutional Settlement, 1765–1800 reveals the largely forgotten importance of state sovereignty to American constitutionalism. Contrary to modern popular perceptions and works by other academics, the Founding Fathers did not establish a constitutional system based upon a national popular sovereignty nor a powerful national government designed to fulfill a grand philosophical purpose. Instead, most Americans throughout the period maintained that a constitutional order based upon the sovereignty of states best protected and preserved liberty. Enshrining their preference for state sovereignty in Article II of the Articles of Confederation and in the Tenth and Eleventh Amendments to the federal constitution, Americans also claimed that state interpositionthe idea that the states should intervene against any perceived threats to liberty posed by centralizationwas an established and accepted element of state sovereignty.
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About the Author
Aaron N. Coleman is associate professor of history and higher education at the University of the Cumberlands.
Table of Contents
Part I: Establishing the Revolutionary Settlement
Chapter 1: King-in-Colonial Assembly: The Background to State Sovereignty
Chapter 2: Establishing and Debating the Nature of State Sovereignty: Articles of Confederation and the Politics of Early 1780s
Chapter 3: Trying to Altering the Settlement: The Critical Period and the Constitutional Convention
Chapter 4: Ratification the Constitution and Continuation of the Settlement
Part II: Defending the Revolutionary Settlement
Chapter 5: Preserving State Sovereignty: The Judiciary Act and the Tenth Amendment
Chapter 6: Breaking the Promise: Hamiltonianism
Chapter 7: The Settlement Defended: Republican Counter-Attack and the Eleventh Amendment
Chapter 8: The Settlement Secured: Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions and the Defeat of the Federal Common Law