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The Death of Treaty SupremacyAn Invisible Constitutional Change$
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David L. Sloss

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199364022

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199364022.001.0001

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The Origins of Treaty Supremacy: 1776–1787

The Origins of Treaty Supremacy: 1776–1787

(p.17) 1 The Origins of Treaty Supremacy: 1776–1787
The Death of Treaty Supremacy

David L. Sloss

Oxford University Press

When the Constitution’s Framers met in Philadelphia in 1787, one of their primary goals was to persuade European powers that the United States could be trusted to fulfill its international obligations. In the decade since adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the United States had repeatedly violated treaties with European countries. Repeated infractions of international law were directly attributable to the structure of government under the Articles of Confederation, which created a weak national government that was powerless to control the individual states. The treaty supremacy rule, codified in the Supremacy Clause, was a central element of the Framers’ plan for a Constitution that would ensure the nation’s ability to comply with its international obligations.

Keywords:   Articles of Confederation, Supremacy Clause, Framers, treaty supremacy, treaty violations

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