Author Archive: Jeremy Massengale

AFED85: Concluding Remarks: Evils Under Confederation Exaggerated; Constitution Must Be Drastically Revised Before Adoption

By Melancthon Smith (a “PLEBIAN”) . . . . It is agreed, the plan is defective-that some of the powers granted are dangerous-others not well defined-and amendments are necessary why then not amend it? Why not remove the cause of danger, and, possible, even the apprehension of it? The instrument is yet in the hands …

Continue reading

AFED84: On The Lack Of A Bill Of Rights

By “BRUTUS” When a building is to be erected which is intended to stand for ages, the foundation should be firmly laid. The Constitution proposed to your acceptance is designed, not for yourselves alone, but for generations yet unborn. The principles, therefore, upon which the social compact is founded, ought to have been clearly and …

Continue reading

AFED82: The Power Of The Judiciary (Part IV)

Part 1: Part 2 of “Brutus’” 14th essay (from the March 6, 1788, New-York Journal) Part 2: The final segment of the 15th essay (March 20, 1788 New York Journal) It may still be insisted that this clause [on appellate jurisdiction] does not take away the trial by jury on appeals, but that this may …

Continue reading

AFED78-79: The Power Of The Judiciary (Part I)

Part one is taken from the first part of the “Brutus’s” 15th essay of The New-York Journal on March 20, 1788; Part two is part one of his 16th of the New York Journal of April 10, 1788. The supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and …

Continue reading

AFED81: The Power Of The Judiciary (Part III)

Part 1: from the 12th essay by “Brutus” from the February 7th & 14th (1788) issues of The New-York Journal Part 2: Taken from the first half of the 14th essay February 28, 1788. In my last, I showed, that the judicial power of the United States under the first clause of the second section …

Continue reading

AFED83: The Federal Judiciary And The Issue Of Trial By Jury

by Luther Martin of Maryland In all those cases, where the general government has jurisdiction in civil questions, the proposed Constitution not only makes no provision for the trial by jury in the first instance, but, by its appellate jurisdiction, absolutely takes away that inestimable privilege, since it expressly declares the Supreme Court shall have …

Continue reading

AFED80: The Power Of The Judiciary (Part II)

From the 11th essay of “Brutus” taken from The New-York Journal, January 31, 1788. The nature and extent of the judicial power of the United States, proposed to be granted by the constitution, claims our particular attention. Much has been said and written upon the subject of this new system on both sides, but I …

Continue reading

AFED68: On The Mode Of Electing The President

From a speech by William Grayson given to the Virginia ratifying convention on June 18, 1788. Mr. [William] GRAYSON. Mr. Chairman, one great objection with me is this: If we advert to….. [the] democratical, aristocratical, or executive branch, we shall find their powers are perpetually varying and fluctuating throughout the whole. Perhaps the democratic branch …

Continue reading

AFED74: The President As Military King

“PHILADELPHIENSIS,” who was influenced by Thomas Paine (in “Common Sense), wrote the following selection. It is taken from 3 essays which appearing February 6 & 20, and April 9 of 1788 in either The Freeman’s Journal or, The North-American Intelligencer. Before martial law is declared to be the supreme law of the land, and your …

Continue reading

AFED71: The Presidential Term Of Office

Part 1: Luther Martin, The Genuine Information Part 2: An excerpt from the 18th letter of “AGRIPPA” appearing in The Massachusetts Gazette on February 5, 1788. Part 3: From by “A CUSTOMER” in the Maine Cumberland Gazette, March 13, 1788. …. The second article relates to the executive-his mode of election, his powers, and the …

Continue reading

AFED72: On The Electoral College; On Re-eligibility Of The President

By an anonymous writer “REPUBLICUS,” appearing in The Kentucky Gazette on March 1, 1788. . . I go now to Art. 2, Sec. 1, which vest the supreme continental executive power in a president-in order to the choice of whom, the legislative body of each state is empowered to point out to their constituents some …

Continue reading

AFED75: A Note Protesting The Treaty-Making Provisions Of The Constitution

The following essay was penned anonymously by “HAMPDEN,” and it appeared in The Pittsburgh Gazette on February 16, 1788. …. It may be freely granted, that from a mistaken zeal in favor of that political liberty which was so recently purchased at so costly a rate, even good men may give it [the constitution] unreasonable …

Continue reading

AFED69: The Character Of The Executive Office

by Richard Henry Lee The great object is, in a republican government, to guard effectually against perpetuating any portion of power, great or small, in the same man or family. This perpetuation of power is totally uncongenial to the true spirit of republican governments. On the one hand the first executive magistrate ought to remain …

Continue reading

AFED76-77: An Antifederalist View Of The Appointing Power Under The Constitution

by Richard Henry Lee . . . . In contemplating the necessary officers of the union, there appear to be six different modes in which, in whole or in part, the appointments may be made. 1. by the legislature; 2. by the president and the senate; 3. by the president and an executive council; 4. …

Continue reading

AFED73: Does The Presidential Veto Power Infringe On The Separation Of Departments?

“WILLIAM PENN,” an anonymous writer appeared in the [Philadelphia] Independent Gazetteer on January 3, 1788. . . . I believe that it is universally agreed upon in this enlightened country, that all power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, they ought to be governed by themselves only, or by their immediate …

Continue reading

Restore The Intent

Long Live the Republic