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America's History in the Making

Revolutionary Perspectives

Theme 3

During this period, the writing of state constitutions provided crucial, but contested, opportunities to put democratic concepts into practice.

The states had more power than the young federal government until the Federal Constitution of 1789, and the constitutions negotiated and created by these states during the Revolutionary War often differed a great deal from each other. Patriots disagreed over how state government should work.

Citizens of the young nation agreed that power should reside ultimately in the people, not a monarch. But they disagreed strongly on the particulars of who should wield power and how, and on how directly ordinary people should be able to participate in politics.

Primary Sources

Texts

Text Artifact

Original State Constitution for Virgina and Pennsylvania

PLAN OR FRAME OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE COMMONWEALTH OR STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA (September 28, 1776), http://yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/pa08.

Text Artifact

Original State Constitutions for Virginia and Pennslyvania

Original state constitution for Virgina (June 29, 1776), http://yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/states/va05.htm.

Text Artifact

Prince Hall Petition

To the Honorable Council & House of Representatives for the State of Massachusetts...(January 13, 1777), Courtesy http://www2.volstate.edu/socialscience/
FinalDocs/Revolution/petition.htm

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