In order to craft this new supreme law of America, many delegates to the Constitutional Convention maintained that the Constitution should embody the principles of the American Revolution. Some historians contend that the document did not live up to those principles, and rather embraced a doctrine for “aristocratic” men who abandoned the true “republican” form of government the Patriots had so tirelessly fought for. This historiography is gravely inaccurate. Rather, the same men in the 1770s who led the Patriots by developing the Royalist position and opposing the British Parliament—by promoting a restoration of the defunct Crown prerogatives—were the same men who spearheaded Royalism in Philadelphia in 1787. This paper argues that the Federalists (those who defended the Constitution) embodied the Revolutionary principles through their condemnation of virtual representation, and the reliance on the theory of authorization to legitimate a representative. Those two principles were supported and promoted by the Patriots who dominated the American position during the imperial crisis.
The first claim the Federalists have to “Revol...
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...oportion of [merchants, traders, farmers, etc.].” Melancton Smith wrote that “when we speak of representatives [the idea] is that they resemble those they represent. They should be a true picture of the people, possess a knowledge of their circumstances and their wants.” The Antifederalists of the time were supporting the concept of a representative as a trustee of a specific class of people, not a delegate of a district. Further, they were convinced that only a selection of representatives based on occupation was the only way to achieve a legislative body that “should resemble” the voters, in order for it to truly represent the people. The same terminology of “likeness,” “resemblance” and “image,” along with the totality of the argument was taken directly from Parker, Gray, Lind and Howard—four men Patriots spent the latter part of the late 1760’s directly refuting.
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