Panel: Rediscovering State Constitutional History
Friday, October 23, 1:30-3:00
Chair: G. Alan Tarr, Department of Political Science, Rutgers University
The Liberal and Democratic Republicanism of the First State Constitutions, 1776-1780
Willi Paul Adams, JFK Institute for North American Studies, Free University of Berlin
Professor Adams will test J.G.A. Pocock's alleged liberalism/republicanism dichotomy against the creation of the first state constitutions. Those first state constitutions and the debate over their creation form the "most authentic" expression of the Founders' applied political ideas before 1787. His conclusion, calls into question the presumption that the early state constitutions reflect widespread "republican virtue." Instead, the institutions and procedures agreed upon on the state level between 1776 and 1787 rest upon as skeptical a view of "human nature " and on as realistic an attempt to learn from experience as the Federal institutions that were to be drafted in 1787
Constitutions and Constitution-Making in the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Far West: Understanding Institutions Historically
David A. Johnson, Department of History, Portland State University
This paper will look at how constitution-making and the development of legal institutions in mid-19th-century California, Oregon, and Nevada illuminate the larger history of states and regions, and, in turn, the ways in which the recent historiography of the Far West contributes to our understanding of legal and constitutional history.
Reclaiming Newspaper Coverage of State Constitutional History: Lawyers, Courts and Scholars Robert F. Williams, Rutgers (Camden) School of Law
One of the most important pioneers in the development of the teaching of state constitutional law in America law schools. Professor Williams has written widely in the field and with considerable emphasis and interest in the history of state constitutions and constitution making. His paper will explore the extent to which state constitutional convention and commission materials have appeared in 19th century newspapers and the extent to which courts have relied on such materials, even though they may not be "official."
Comment: John Orth, University of North Carolina School of Law
law as variously perceived by contemporary policy actors.
We also have to confront the complex interrelationships of legal principles,
scientific research, and political process, including the economic realities
and technological imperatives of resource industries such as the commercial
fishing interests, in the shaping of new law.
Comment: William T. Burke, University of Washington School of Law
Robert L. Friedheim, School of International Relations, University of Southern California