Week 2

Interpreting the Constitution

Historians began talking about the Constitution almost as soon as it was written. As you read today's selections, think about the following questions:

What argument is each author making?

What evidence do they provide?

How would you describe the type of argument they are making?

What order do you think they were written in? What makes you think this?

How do these arguments compare to one another?

Readings (Available on Blackboard)

Max Edling, A Revolution in Favor of Government
David Waldstreicher, Slavery's Constitution
Gordon Wood, The Creation of the American Republic
Woody Holton, Did Democracy Cause the Recession that Led to the Revolution?


Questions: What is Bouton’s argument? What historiographical argument is he responding to? What makes the Pennsylvania Constitution “democratic”? What would a government look like following this model?

Readings (If you have not yet purchased the Bouton book, you can access it via the library's e-copy. The other document is available in the course reader, for sale at Quartet)

Terry Bouton, Taming Democracy: “The People,” The Founders, and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution, Intro, Part I

Pennsylvania Constitution**

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