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founders



  • The Changing Same of U.S. History

    by David Waldstreicher

    Historians have returned to the question of whether the Constitution is the problem or the solution with renewed vigor and high stakes. Those accusing ideological rivals of "doing politics, not history" are not innocent of the same charge. 



  • There’s a Very Good Reason ‘Washington Slept Here’

    by Nathaniel Philbrick

    "Today the phrase 'Washington slept here' is a historical joke, but during the two years of intermittent travel at the beginning of his presidency, all those nights spent in taverns and homes across the country were essential to establishing an enduring Union."



  • A Conflict Among the Founders Still Shapes the Infrastructure Debate

    by Susan Nagel

    "The lack of a clearly defined constitutional role for the federal government in funding infrastructure improvements left it to the men who had been competing to enrich themselves to figure out what role the national government ought to play."


  • America's First Peaceful (Just Barely!) Transfer of Power

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    While the selection of Thomas Jefferson as the third president in 1801 (after an electoral college deadlock) is touted as a crucial peaceful transfer of presidential power from one party to another, the transition was far more fraught with peril than most realize. 



  • The Year That Changed Everything

    by Akhil Reed Amar

    A legal historian and constitutional scholar considers the founding document in terms of the process of its founding. Neither cynical nor purely idealistic, the Constitution did submit to ratification by a broad vote, but pursued national security by institutionalizing the slave power. 



  • A Forgotten Black Founding Father

    by Danielle Allen

    The figure of Black abolitionist Prince Hall has been discussed for his advocacy for abolition in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but there remains a deeper work of historical reconstruction to understand his connections to family, community and civil society in the founding era. 



  • ‘George Washington’ Review: Our Founding Politician

    David Stewart's new book on George Washington highlights his political skills and careful work at cultivating allies. Far from being an apolitical leader, Washington was a skilled operator whose greatest achievement was avoiding the stigma of politics. 



  • The Founders Were Wrong About Democracy

    by David Frum

    The conservative commentator writes that the framers' concern with broad populist movements shouldn't overshadowing the greater damage done to democracy by a minority faction that controls key institutions and follows its own fickle self-interest.


  • The Constitution Forbids a Post-Presidential Impeachment Trial

    by William G. Hyland, Jr.

    A biographer of George Mason argues that, by the text and original intent of the Constitutional impeachment power, Donald Trump's exposure to trial ended when he left office and the Senate trial set to start on February 8 is unconstitutional.



  • New Research Suggests Alexander Hamilton Was a Slave Owner

    A recent paper by a researcher at th Schuyler Mansion looks into Alexander Hamilton's papers to argue that is reputation as an abolitionist is undeserved; he had personal dealings in purchasing enslaved laborers for his household. 



  • Alexander Hamilton, Enslaver? New Research Says Yes

    A paper by a researcher at the Schuyler Mansion finds overlooked evidence in letters and Hamilton’s own account books indicating that he bought, sold and personally owned slaves.  


  • Yes, Even George Washington Can Be Redeemed

    by Richard Lim

    While we cannot ignore Washingon's participation in slavery, we shouldn’t discount his remarkable transformation into someone who wished for its abolition and took steps personally to make things right, becoming the only major founder to free his slaves.