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  • Constitutional Convention: John Jay Letter Shows Its Power Came from State Legislatures, not Congress

    Constitutional Convention: John Jay Letter Shows Its Power Came from State Legislatures, not Congress0

    • January 14, 2017

    A persistent constitutional myth has it that (1) Congress called the Constitutional Convention under the Articles of Confederation, (2) the convention drew its power from Congress, and (3) the convention exceeded its power when it recommended a new Constitution rather than merely propose amendments to the Articles. As readers of this website know, however, the

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  • This Resolution Suggests Congress Did Agree to a Broad Constitutional Convention0

    • October 27, 2016

    On April 23, 1787, the Confederation Congress extended the post office franking privilege to all commissioners about to attend the Constitutional Convention. In other words, Congress gave to convention delegates the same privilege to send and receive free mail its own members enjoyed. Why is that important? Because it tends to show that Congress accepted

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  • Changed Conditions May Justify Term Limits0

    • October 18, 2016

    This is the full version of an op-ed  first appearing in the Detroit Daily News. Advocates for term limits want to amend the Constitution to add them. Their most common argument is that restricting how long an elected official may serve will curb special interest influence and other federal abuse. The Articles of Confederation, the document

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  • What should you remember when drafting a constitutional amendment?0

    • October 16, 2016

    Last month, Citizens for Self Governance sponsored a simulated convention for proposing amendments in Williamsburg, Virginia. I was an adviser for the project, and just before the initial meeting I spoke to the assembled commissioners. My purpose was to provide them with some last-minute tips on drafting proposed constitutional amendments. Several people have asked me

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  • What Connecticut’s Authorizing Documents Tell Us About the Constitutional Convention—and About Modern Misinterpretations0

    • October 10, 2016

    On May 11, 1787, the Samuel Huntington, the governor of Connecticut, addressed his state legislature about the pending Constitutional Convention. Shortly thereafter the legislature adopted a law governing Connecticut’s participation in the gathering—the eleventh state to do so. (Only Maryland acted later.) The governor’s remarks, and the ensuing legislative resolution, illustrate the following: * The

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  • Who Called the Constitutional Convention? The Commonwealth of Virginia0

    • October 7, 2016

    In interstate convention practice a “call” is an invitation for state representatives to meet at a particular time and place to discuss certain designated issues. During the Founding Era, convention calls were issued by the Continental and Confederation Congresses, by prior conventions and—most frequently—by individual states. In rare instances the call might be the product

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