The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional by Peter S. Onuf

By Peter S. Onuf

Historians have emphasised the founding fathers' statesmanship and imaginative and prescient within the improvement of a extra strong union lower than the federal structure. In The Origins of the Federal Republic, Peter S. Onuf clarifies the founders' success by way of demonstrating with case experiences of recent York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Virginia that territorial confrontations one of the former colonies performed an important function in shaping early options of statehood and union and supplied the real foundation of the yankee federalist system.

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Extra info for The Origins of the Federal Republic: Jurisdictional Controversies in the United States, 1775-1787

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It also implied that the new states, like their colonial predecessors, were part of a larger community and should be subordinate to a higher authority. ' The Revolutionary assumption of authority and creation of new governments apparently offered a much broader mandate for expanded state power. But patriotic Americans had denounced the legislative supremacy claimed by Parliament and were wary of according extensive powers to their own governments. 2 Popular sovereignty was institutionalized in the drafting of new state constitutions, which limited the powers of the new state governments.

The western lands controversy stalemated other, unrelated issues as long as Maryland and other landless states brought pressure on the claiming states by withholding their approval of the Articles. If anything, however, these delays promoted the peaceful resolution of conflicts. The corollary of a diminutive notion of state power—which inhibited the use of force in interstate diplomacy—was a faith in the wisdom and disinterestedness of a higher authority. It was more important to preserve this faith in Congress than to bring it to the test in a particular instance and find it wanting.

There was little debate over how Congress was constituted as long as Congress was conceived in these terms. "42 Only a Congress and the States 13 few lines of his Thoughts on Government were devoted to this question. Congress's powers and the legitimacy of its authority would be more closely scrutinized only when the United States itself was seen as a kind of state with interests of its own, possibly opposed to the interests of particular states. Americans were much more concerned about the relative size and strength of the confederating states than with defining the powers of Congress.

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