When the Framers of the Constitution sent their handiwork out to the states for ratification in 1787, opponents denounced it. The new system of government, they argued, threatened to take away power from the states and the people and give it to the federal government. Many of these Anti-Federalists, as they were called, agreed to support ratification, though, in return for a promise that the new Congress would quickly add amendments protecting the people’s rights.
Just as the Earth contains underground fault lines that slip, slide, and sink, causing earthquakes, so does the basis of our Constitution contain fractures that can demolish our government.
In response to recent events, we want to explore a different clause in the Constitution—the Supremacy Clause—and raise the question: is this aspect of our government another fault line? Or is it actually solid bedrock that should remain unchanged?
The US Constitution does not make it easy for citizens to cast their ballots. Nevertheless, we urge everyone who is eligible to vote.
Can the government force Americans to be vaccinated? A Supreme Court case during a smallpox epidemic provides an answer, at least for now.
What parts of founder Alexander Hamilton’s life and work are missing from Lin Manuel-Miranda’s musical?