By Christian G. Fritz

ISBN-10: 0511480385

ISBN-13: 9780511480386

ISBN-10: 052112560X

ISBN-13: 9780521125604

ISBN-10: 0521881889

ISBN-13: 9780521881883

American Sovereigns is a path-breaking interpretation of America's political background and constitutionalism that explores how american citizens struggled over the concept the folks may rule because the sovereign after the yankee Revolution. nationwide and country debates approximately govt motion, legislations, and the people's political powers demonstrate how americans sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the position because the ruler and but be governed by means of governments in their personal deciding upon.

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

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Under English law, writings and speech that cast the government in a bad or false light, producing public disaffection with government, could be punished. Such seditious libel laws were not discarded upon the creation of American governments after the Revolution. Both state governments and eventually the national government under the federal Constitution would prosecute seditious libels. Such laws increasingly seemed anachronistic because they conflicted with the central teaching of American constitutions that the collective sovereign had the right and duty to scrutinize government.

21 Finding that the people as the new sovereign could give life to new governments through written constitutions marked a shift in the nature of representation and the existence of inherent rights. The principle that the people were the sovereign changed the relationship of the governed to their governors. Because the people were the new sovereign, representatives and other governmental officers who served them were subordinate to the new masters, the people. As the sovereign, the collective people inherently could act independent of government and even alter or abolish it.

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. These constitutions did not arise out of a hypothetical bargain for 9:41 P1: IBE 9780521881883c02 22 CUNY1095/Fritz 978 0 521 88188 3 October 2, 2007 The People’s Sovereignty rights with an equal or superior.

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American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War by Christian G. Fritz


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