European Common Market and the American Constitution Compared
It is an interesting question how similar the constitutions of the European Union and the United States are, while reaching dissimilar outcomes. A real question arises whether further small modification might trigger major changes, or whether Constitutions are just less important than our Founding Fathers believed. If we expect different outcomes, It can be an important question.
- Charter of Pennsylvania, from Charles II to William Penn William Penn suggested what he wanted, and the Royal bureaucracy suggested suitable modifications of the gift. The resulting charter is a shrewd and fair legal document, but contained a major geographical error.
- Controlling the Currency Robert Morris confronted an enduring theme of American politics in 1779: how can citizens without political power protect their assets from government confiscation?
- ...Ratification, Bill of Rights and Other Amendments The 1787 Constitution lacked a Bill of Rights. Few except Madison himself were opposed to adding one, but many other delegates would have failed election without promising it. Negotiations at the Convention had proved so excitingly innovative that time ran out before the Convention had to adjourn with only a promise of a Bill of Rights, first thing. Almost immediately, political America was thrown into a year of state ratification conventions. Massachusetts initiated the concept of ratifying the Constitution, attached with eight or nine amendment proposals for the Bill of Rights. When the First Congress finally convened, it faced almost two hundred proposed amendments, and Madison made sure he was chairman of a committee to deal with them. Practically alone he pared them down to a succinct twelve which survived as the first order of business of the new Congress. Almost unnoticed, he made a deal with Oliver Ellsworth the leader of the Senate, to pass the Bill of Rights in exchange for passing the Senate's Judiciary Act in the House of Representatives. Out of this combined beginning, the power and scope of the Judiciary Branch was born. But while that is a subject for later chapters, Madison never achieved a more skillful moment in his political life, than this pivotal one.
- American and European Unions, Compared(1)
The (1648) Treaty of Westphalia created the modern nation-state by limiting sovereignty to fixed boundaries. Soon, everyone had a sovereign King. While there had been kings for centuries; what was new was kingship boundaries. Inheritance addressed succession, but nations outgrew the ability of one man to rule it all, so aristocracies evolved into republics, republics into semi-democracies, finding succession still had difficulties.
Today, Europeans live in republics, wishing to unite into democracies, while finding a command state has its charms. Like others, they found a mixture hard to manage, and so began with monetary union, hoping to expand gradually. Unlucky timing: world monetary crisis suddenly struck in 2008.
- Constitution and Civil War The Constitution hoped to reconcile slavery with Abolitionists, but the Civil War put it all to a test. Or so they say, but there were other issues, too.