By Christian G. Fritz
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 could rule because the sovereign after the yankee Revolution. nationwide and kingdom debates approximately govt motion, legislation, and the people's political powers display how americans sought to appreciate how a collective sovereign-the people-could either play the function because the ruler and but be governed by means of governments in their personal making a choice on.
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Additional info for American Sovereigns: The People and America’s Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War
Pennsylvania’s 1776 constitution instructed the people to watch their officeholders since they – and not their governors – held “the sole, exclusive and inherent right of governing and regulating” the state. The 1776 constitutions of Maryland and North Carolina basically incorporated this same instruction. The people under all these constitutions would play a role. In some states it was ongoing and active, even to the point of dispensing with traditional checks and balances of government branches.
Thoughts on Government reflected a concern shared by other revolutionary leaders. On one hand, the tract fully endorsed the constitutional premise that the people were the sovereign. On the other hand, once the sovereign established the new government, Adams opposed democratic political participation such as that advocated by Thomas Paine in Common Sense. Adams insisted that American governments incorporate “popular Principles and Maxims” and secure the welfare of the people. Under a leadership of their betters, the people should have a limited political role to play in these governments.
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. Written constitutions expressed the will of the collective sovereign. During the first decade of constitution-making, the foundations of a revolutionary constitutionalism were firmly laid.