World Anew

Atlantic Dimensions 8

Though in the 1790s numerous German newspapers, pamphlets, and books had carried notices of the Anglo-American conflict, often distorted, and translations of certain key documents had been avail¬able, it was not until 1800, with the publication of Friedrich von Gentz’s comparative study of the American and French revolu-tions—the study that had caught the eye of Quincy Adams—that the importance of ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 7

As the chaotic process of state formation in Latin America pro¬ceeded, realpolitik was everywhere, often in the crudest, most brutal form; but so too were idealistic hopes for enlightened, liberal polities. And those enlightened aspirations were rationalized and conceptual¬ized with reference, in part to the classic texts of advanced European thought, in part to Hispanic traditions, and in large part ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 6

For if the social implications of American constitutionalism were critical for the English radicals, and if defining human rights and assessing the benefits and dangers of balancing powers were critical for the French revolutionaries, American federalism proved to be a primary concern for nations as different as Switzerland and Argentina, attempting to reconstruct their public institutions—in the one case after ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 5

But beyond that, and more important, for them America’s reform of public institutions was dynamic; its inner propulsion led not simply to liberalizing the institutions of public authority but to confronting social concerns and alleviating social oppression. Just as all the lead¬ing radicals agreed with John Cartwright that America had become England’s best instructor “in the … recovering from that ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 4

Within a year, the responses began to appear. The critical docu¬ment proved to be John Stevens’s Observations on Government, a bel¬ligerent attack on what he called the “rubbage” of Adams’s Defence, its “absurdities and inconsistencies” dredged up “from the store¬houses and magazines of antiquity,” its bicameralism a “single rem-edy for all disorders” concocted out of the delusion that America had, ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 3

Thus awareness of provincial America, its successful revolution and constitutional creations, had quickly become part of the conscious¬ness of officialdom and the clerisy in both cosmopolitan Europe and its colonial dependencies. But with what consequence? The general effect of the American Revolution throughout the Atlantic world is well known: its creation of the sense that a new era was beginning, ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions 2

That Raynal and Talleyrand in France, Falsen in Norway, Gentz in Prussia, Silva Xavier in Brazil, and Miranda in Venezuela were well aware of American constitutionalism and sought to explore it and to some extent promote it is less mysterious when viewed in the light of the extraordinary speed with which notice of America’s innova¬tions coursed through the Atlantic communities, ... Read More »

Atlantic Dimensions

It is difficult to convey the energy and imagination that went into the constitutional creations of the Revolutionary generation— the freshness of the Revolutionary leaders’ minds, their capac¬ity to re-imagine the political world. Yet these were not intellec¬tuals devoted to ideas as such; they were not scholars engaged in the systematic study of political and constitutional thought, or philosophers debating ... Read More »

A Note on The Federalist and the Supreme Court 2

Why the increase in citations, why the papers’ increasing impor¬tance and sanctity? Not simply because of an increase in the number of cases disposed of by opinion—that number declined significantly in those years. And not because of the presence of self-described “originalists” on the Court for whose views The Federalist, might have been uniquely supportive. The two most vehement “originalists” ... Read More »

A Note on The Federalist and the Supreme Court

The chronology of the Supreme Court’s citations of The Federalist is a significant commentary on the persistent relevance of the papers and the variety of purposes to which they have been put. As the numbers indicate, the greater the distance in time from the writ¬ing of the papers, the more the justices have found it useful to draw on the ... Read More »