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A Revolution in Favor of GovernmentOrigins of the U.S. Constitution and the Making of the American State$
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Max. M Edling

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195148701

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195148703.001.0001

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Legitimacy and Meaning: The Significance of Public Debate to the Adoption of the Constitution

Legitimacy and Meaning: The Significance of Public Debate to the Adoption of the Constitution

Chapter:
(p.15) 1 Legitimacy and Meaning: The Significance of Public Debate to the Adoption of the Constitution
Source:
A Revolution in Favor of Government
Author(s):

Max. M Edling

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0195148703.003.0002

Argues that the role of debate in the struggle over ratification was significant to the adoption of the US Constitution because public debate was a necessary step in the decision‐making process leading to its ratification. It was a necessary step because adoption would not have been legitimate without the possibility of public debate, but the debate was also significant in another way: it provided the first widely shared and detailed interpretation of important clauses of the Constitution. This original elucidation of the meaning of the Constitution later served as the point of origin for constitutional interpretation in the political life of the early republic – an authoritative source for establishing the meaning of the Constitution.

Keywords:   adoption of the US Constitution, legitimacy, public debate, ratification, US Constitution, USA

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