Aug 3, 2018 in History

Was the Philadelphia Convention of 1787 a “Constitutional Coup”? Why or Why not?

If one could answer this question directly, the answer would be no. Moreover, the participants of Philadelphia Convention knew that this coup was illegal. Thus, the whole process was a secret. The convention took part behind closed doors with the special oath of secrecy from its participants. Even though it was authorized that Articles of Confederation need to be revised, all participants of Philadelphia Convention disagreed and decided not just revise, but replace them. These Articles represented the long-term friendship and cooperation between all states. All the participants locked themselves in one of Pennsylvania’s statehouses and worked on the Constitution for a whole summer.

In September 1787 three fathers of the main law James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and elected during this convention a president of the United States, George Washington, presented the Constitution with new rights and laws. This event made the Philadelphia Convention one of the most significant events in the history of the United States. Despite everything, the participants of this Convention with creating of the mail law had to decide also several more issues: the elections process of the Senate and the president; the issues about slavery and properties; the division of power in the government. Let us not forget that only few representatives of several states took part in this Convention, and that they all came just to revise the Articles, not to make a Constitution. Therefore, some of participants came back to their states, and that was the moment when the revolution in the United States had begun. The major problem of this Convention was to keep all participants in the room and to persuade them that the decision to create the main law was the right one. Although some of them understood that Convention meant to change or cancel something, it was over for them as they only could alter or revise it.

The first delegate who came in Philadelphia for the Convention was James Madison. He was sure even before the Convention that the change was coming to the United States. The main achievement he had been chasing during this convention was the amendment about separating church from civil government. Madison planned a coup that meant the initial destroying and changing of the Articles. He became one of the fathers, creators, as many scientists said, of not only the Constitution, but also the revolution that came after.

The Convention of 1787 and the Constitution as the result of it were the reasons why American Republic was destroyed and turned into the union. Before the Constitution, there was no president or even no actual government in the United States, while after its declaring new additional checks and rules were created. Of course, the declaring of the Constitution had immediate results both in economics and in the politics of the United States. Moreover, the fundamental rights were not mentioned in this document. Thus, there were two sides of this constitutional coup as dramatic as positive ones. Americans got the opportunity to solve their global problems, but in the same time they agreed to establish new institutions, governmental institutions.

From the information mentioned above it can be stated that a constitutional coup really meant the Convention of 1787 in Philadelphia. It really meant that its main goal was to create the Constitution. However, one cannot actually call this coup constitutional because it was illegal and secret.

How and Why Did James Madison’s Solution to the Problem of Faction in Federalist #10 Correspond With Political Parties’ Constitutional Interpretation from 1787 to 1828?

Federalist papers were the articles published in New York newspapers. Their main goal was to persuade citizens to ratify the Constitution as the main law of the United States. From all written Federalist’s papers by James Madison probably the most famous is Federalist #10. As it was mentioned in the passage above, several officials were disagreed in declaring the Constitution. They all stated that the United States is a huge country to govern and it had too many political parties or factions as they were called in those times. Even though Madison knew this fact, he still thought that democracy would make factions to cooperate and unite. He stated that the new Constitution would give all factions the opportunity to express themselves sitting in one room, in the democratic government. James Madison along with factions became the people united by the same goals, beliefs and perspectives. Madison thought that the union of factions would become a sort of a cure to the country as big as the United States was. It was not also a secret that James Madison was afraid of factions’ union. Although in his Federalist #10 he insisted on the union of factions, Madison meant that with the union it could be only one faction, the faction of majority. Thus, with his Federalist #10 he insisted on cancelling small sort of governments, factions, and to create one faction that would control everything and everyone instead. However let us not forget that before, James Madison wanted to separate government from church and from Christianity itself. From the beginning, the faction that was on Madison’s mind was the religious faction. He wanted to destroy state-established churches and cancel all relations with the government depending on Christianity.

James Madison fought against small republics. He stated that in small republic there would be less amount of parties and small variety of interests, while in one big united republic, the variety of parties and interest will grow. All these factors lead to the establishment of political parties in 1790s. These parties could combine both public policy and public opinions. Moreover, as the parties creation was written in the Federalist papers, first party system consisted of Federalist Part and Anti-Federalist (Democratic-Republican) Party. The first party was founded by George Washington along with Alexander Hamilton, while Anti-Federalist Party was founded by James Madison. However, after both parties rejected in supporting The War of 1812, the era of these two parties ended. The second party system was created in 1828, when Democratic - Republican Party was separated into Modern Democratic Party, founded by Andrew Jackson with the support from Whig Party. This new party declared that the power should be owned and controlled only by the president. After the Second Party System came the Third, The Fourth Party Systems and so on.

The main impact made by James Madison and his Federalist #10 was the establishing of the Party System in whole, and the division of power between two major parties. James Madison did not only proved that it is possible to control the big country such as the United States with the less amount of parties, he proved that it is much better for American policy and economy to be controlled in such a way.

How and Why Did an “Independent Judiciary” Develop and then Shape America's Constitutionalism?

The great judiciary power in the United States from 1787 was exercised through different acts declared by Congress or the president. The whole act of its exercising is called “judiciary review.” This term cannot be found in the Constitution, but in 1787, almost eight states used the term of “judicial review” in their constitutions. Although this term was also supported by the Constitutional Congress, Thomas Jefferson called it illegal and undemocratic. In 1789, Judiciary Act was declared. It gave to the Supreme Court the opportunity to exercise their power independently through “judicial review.” Moreover, if this act declared that “judicial review” should be independent, then the question about independent judiciary is answered. Although in the American colonies and America itself judges had their positions “during good behaviour,” later with the influence of King’s power it was changed: judges started to hold their positions “during the royal pleasure.” However, the Declaration of 1776 changed everything. Judicial power was mentioned as the independent one. Moreover, as the government official or president, judges could be removed from their positions only in case of impeachment.

In the III Article of the Constitution, it was said that nor public, neither Congress can remove judges from their position. However, Judicial Independence caused the appearing of federal judges who were appointed only by the president. Also, it was stated in the Constitution of the United States that federal judges could be removed only by the president in case of impeachment, death, or simply removal by Congress from their positions.

Until 1780s, the power, the supremacy of judges, and the Supreme Court had mostly the theoretical meaning. Moreover, until 1780s, American Constitution has no bill of rights, only the basic points of it. However, later it was added in the Constitution, and each of the judiciary departments was responsible for interpreting new laws and provisions, as well as coordinating all duties and responsibilities mentioned in the Constitution of the United States.

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