tv State Constitutions Founding Documents CSPAN September 5, 2021 4:30am-5:46am EDT
father of one of the players on the ottawa high school team. gerald ford attended south high. he received 19209 the football match between ottawa high school and south high. it is the first game of the season. south high kicks off in the dark uniforms in the late great uniforms. gerald ford's it's his junior ears playing here the film is good enough you can look at slide by slide, frame by frame find number 23 in it and ford would become the captain of the team's senior next year end allstate player they would turn the state championship. i'm going to come up here in just a minute. i'm going to freeze frame the only known footage of gerald ford playing high school football, just a minute you will see number 23 coming in from the right hand side.
there is gerald ford number 23. >> watch the full program and the other presidency programs on our website c-span.org/history. >> i'm excited to be here live from the museum. for those who do not know me i have exhibitions here at the american revolution a bit on staff here since 2016. i served as one of the leaders of the project with a founding document 1776 do today. it's an exhibit that brings together historic flags and documents on loan from private collections. and it tells the story of changing and growing american nation. tonight i will be joined by doctor james from arizona state university. i am a really excited have jim join me. i would like to have jim say a
few words about himself. and about his career and how he became a young constitutional history scholar. so jim talked a little bit about yourself for. >> thanks matt. it's a pleasure to be with you and all of you out there, like matt said, i'm currently a lecturer at arizona state university. by training i am a historian of the american revolution i am especially thrilled to be doing this with you guys. again, trained of the american revolution. obviously my phd from the university of virginia that huge diploma behind me is inordinately large. i do not know why they make them that large. my history is i'm interested in the subjects, i'm working
on a book about revolutionary constitution making, specifically about the state of massachusetts. i was thrilled to be able to work on this project that allowed me too range much more alive that's i'm here to talk about tonight for. >> tonight's program jim and i are going to engage in conversation about the historic documents that we have on display in this exhibition. we are going to be talking about a wide ranging subjects. if you have questions, we're going to save those for the end. as we are going through and discussing these constitutions and different stories behind them, please put your questions in the chat option at the bottom of your screen. then we will select some of those questions at the end and get engage in some conversation surrounding them. so the chat function is the place to do that.
i would like to begin with a bit of an overview about the exhibit and how it came to be. and the flags in founding documents exhibit open flag day weekend here at the museum. the exhibit brings together as i said over 40 historic flags on loan from the collection of jeff bridgeman who was one of the leading collectors of antique and historic flags. the exhibit also features flags on loan from other private collectors. the exhibit pairs those flags with really an amazing document collection focusing on state constitutions from the collection of the dorothy goldman foundation. we'll talk about the foundation and a bit.
the exhibit itself is in our special exhibits gallery. patriots gallery on the first floor. that is where i am sitting right now. the exhibit was sponsored by number of different supporters of the museum for the presenting sponsor is american heritage credit union located here in philadelphia. this exhibit is also sponsor three chairman's grant of the national endowment for the humanities, also sponsors include mark shenkman. i would also like to point out this exhibition is officially recognized by america to 50 the museum of the american revolution has partnered with and planning for the 250th anniversary of the declaration of independence coming up just five years now and 2026. the exhibit has brought thousands of visitors already.
but the origins of this exhibit go back even before 2020 but to an exhibit that was held at the new york historical society. jim, i would like to have you talk about that and your involvement with that project. >> yes it definitely thanks for a should note at the start i am from ohio. so that is relevant. i'm really fascinated to see where everyone is coming from as well. i was actually living right there in philadelphia a few years back, was at the university of pennsylvania. it was at that time i was apprised of a pretty fantastic opportunity. i could not believe my luck, that is a collector who is based in new york, wasn't looking to put out an exhibit of her fantastic collection documents of the americana. she had acquired a huge and
again remarkable collection not just related to american constitutionalism over the years, this was built on things acquired first by her late husband. this was a document we will certainly talk about, the printing of the u.s. constitution. very rare. but over time dorothy had built up this wonderful collection of documents not just for the federal constitution but state constitution. and so should all this cool stuff. she wanted to let as many people as possible see it. i was there in philadelphia working on constitutional things. since that's not a very far trip that would accentuate the
rich stuff she had. it was obvious that was the case. we began working and planning it out. working with the new york historical society. takes a while to do these and certainly i was not alone. there is a huge number of people from the historical society and sort of dorothy's team was pivotal in helping me do all of that. i definitely want to note that. when we worked on putting the exhibit together, everybody was in place for the grand opening in february of 2020, which we held. it is a wonderful time, it was the new york historical society and everything closed down shortly after that.
were thrilled we were able to put that together ... forever online in the virtual exhibit use note showed a snapshot of. if they are not able to visit in philadelphia, go online to the citizens constitution.org. they can go to a gallery that was in new york. so the exhibit ran ultimately for over a year. that is unprecedented, not importuning for the reasons we would have hoped. some people got to see it not as many as we would like of course. we were thrilled we were able to move it down to philadelphia where you,. >> and everybody there at the museum brilliantly combine the exhibit with this beautiful display of flags. both physically visibly and dramatically complemented our story extremely well. i guess i will say a few things about what i think we
were trying to do with the exhibit. i think it is exciting and unique. the first thing is something i did not mention. the exhibit tries to present not just documents and to the federal and state constitution, but also the state constitution. seeing both of these things together i think there is a far more complete understanding of this thing we call american democracy. certainly will have plenty of time to talk about that. that's the first point i would make the federal state constitution together. deriving from that, the chronological scope of the exhibit the time frame the exhibit tries to cover not comprehensively but in some way wheat range from documents
of the charter, all the way through the early 20th century. even that end date is a bit arbitrary it reflects the fact the papers out an early 20th century. the whole point and the exhibit in some ways this experiment in constitutional democracy is not limited to one moment. it is ongoing and it's never going to stop. by having that long timeframe, i think we make an important point there. alongside that is geographical. the object of the exhibit expands all corners of the united states ultimately. were you really cool, very
important will talk about it. that's not the only place constitutional making is going on and small towns and places all over the country this was going on. i think the exhibit tries to make that point. and again finally all this is related, it tries to make the point constitution making is not something done by just a small handful of people. what happened just a couple blocks away from where you are met, the constitutional convention of 1787 really cool and very important. we will talk about it. i think often we can kind of get sucked into thinking that was the only really important constitutional discussion that ever took place in united states history. when in fact with the exhibit shows is huge numbers of americans that have engaged in
this collective activity throughout the country's history. not just in a handful of people but a cast of thousands, millions ultimately. their handiwork is on display in the exhibit. that is a big framework for all the stuff we are going to talk about today. that is kind of but we are trying to do. >> thank you jim, let's get right into it. we are going to rewind. we are going to go back to 1776. we are going to go ahead and look at the constitution of pennsylvania from 1776. some of the questions i want to keep in mind as were having this discussion is, when the american revolutionaries began writing constitutions, what kind of questions that they have to wrestle with the side? what kind of government when they create?
what was revolutionary bold about what they said? with pennsylvania as our first example we are going to look into some of the details of the pennsylvania constitution. so the pennsylvania constitution of 1776 is a printed version of the constitution that was written very momentous year. on the heels of the declaration of independence and with the united states declares itself to be an independent nation. within each of the states and some have already been engaging in this, they are creating their own government. some are at doubting their colonial charters to this newly declared faith. others are starting from
scratch and writing a new form of government for their state. that is what happened in pennsylvania. the legislature in pennsylvania get together they decide they're going to write a petition with a republican form of government. they come up with one of the more revolutionary constitutions. maybe you could elaborate on that? >> pennsylvania certainly one of the most fascinating cases of this. 1776 a lot going on already. you think americans must be thinking your declared independence, we wrote a declaration, we approved it. the declaration of independence itself is sent out in the state of massachusetts. she was a flare in the sea after they had a light a lot on their mind.
they were fighting the british civil war started it was in full swing. you think they had enough on their plates. see your declared independence, what next? if you declare independence, that means whatever form of government you had before, and most cases you're going to have to place, isn't that the point of declaring independence? the question became how you do that? what is a constitution? and giving that is what is revolutionary about this moment reminding themselves what a constitution is. the notion is that it refers to an overall structure of the government that is a
fundamental set of rules that governs the system that notion of a constitution is not necessarily new. it's a large number of them matched in the english tradition. would have thought great britain itself had a constitution. and that is the sort of a piece you cannot read in any one place. the british constitution as it had evolved over a very long time was a combination of understanding some checks like that magna carta, the rights of 1869, other developments had all sort of congealed to a sense there was a fundamental
system. there were certain things that were off-limits. great britain itself, this is one of the great ironies immediately preceding the american revolution is columnists would have the thought of it as an empire of liberty great britain's biggest force for freedom in the world and a large part of that is because great britain had a constitution set a limit on the power of the king he could not do anything he wanted. and so there was an understanding that any political society had set up rules. the trick is if you are a a british colony declared its independence, you do not have hundreds of years for a general understanding of what the system should be. often that's very blood he.
there is a civil war you don't want to go through that. the trick is coming up with the way to decide all of these things relatively quickly. one way to do that instead of having to be hazy notion of a constitution let's write it all down and one place. it's going to be tricky because you're not going to think of everything at once. but you can do a pretty good job of laying out the basic structure. and as you said a lot of these colonies are building on earlier documents, other colonial documents that give a framework for the government. and so in pennsylvania his case they have some of these things pretty messy. the task of creating government, the first constitution is going to lead
to a very interesting document. that is what they do it's notable in a few ways. one is there is no governor in pennsylvania. there is a president actually of pennsylvania but he is kind of head of a counsel, and executive council that is not of the assembly. i think of congress today there is a house, a senate both need to pass laws. and in fact, this is one thing we highlight in the exhibits, pennsylvanians have a sense
ordinary people not just the representatives continue to exercise the voice in the past. therefore the final amendment. going to send them out to people and everybody's going to be able to read them. those laws will not go into effect until the next session of the legislature. there's going to be another election. everybody's going to be debating the idea, they're going to be debating all of these laws. presumably a book candidates to represent to them. and those people that next set of representatives are the ones to pass laws. there's going to be as
critiques without, ultimate have to rewrite the constitution in 1790. but in this moment of 1776 it seems to embody something powerful about the potential of the american revolution. what might the american revolutionary mean in practical terms that they're going to establish? >> sort of scopes out one end of the spectrum. part one the things i want to point out about pennsylvania too, is there voting requirement, there voting laws. it's not a property owning requirement to be a voter in pennsylvania. actually taxpayers over 20 ones that are residents of pennsylvania, they are the ones able to vote. there are no racial requirements in pennsylvania.
it is a taxpayer requirement rather than a property requirement colonies turn states have certain levels of property a potential voter had to meet in order to be eligible to vote in that respective state. and the other thing that's interesting about the pennsylvania constitution as it did have a religious test for serving in the unicameral legislature the california assembly. that religious test required a candidate, before they take their seat in the assembly is to actually swear they believed in both the old and new testaments. so that prevented jewish americans from serving in the
assembly. and so we have here on the screen that religious test that people had to swear too. and so, it is interesting. the religious test if you know your united states constitution are kind of abolished with the federal constitution. certain states did have these kind of things in the revolutionary. >> let's move on to massachusetts, jim near and dear to your current research and writing. >> massachusetts constitution of 1780 matt is still what massachusetts uses today. it's gone through many amendments. it is still the general framework of massachusetts government today. which is pretty amazing. that is the oldest state
constitution still in effect. so jim tell us about the long-standing effort which and will involve the new thing called a convention for. >> you are exactly right. he said it is the longest running constitutional roads show in history or something. like you said it has undergone lots of amendments. the fact is they are all amendments to this document. and apparently so it is extraordinary and a number of ways. it took massachusetts come on mike pennsylvania took massachusetts a wild for a bunch of complicated reasons i'll be very boring if i explained all of them. but you are exactly right and that the document they finally did produce was grounded in a
deeper religion potentially deep religion because of the process by which it was written. so, you need to write a constitutional tool. how do you do that? people do not have experience doing this. initially in places that did not have a functioning framework of government there is some royal government, kind of a vacuum. you need something in place very quickly. and so out of necessity americans end up writing lots of documents quickly. kind of the constitution now. that was better than nothing but it was not ideal. again think of the principles
you are familiar with that led to the american revolution. the whole thing about consent, of the american revolution to abolish your government it's a notion that people have a say in this. even if it is the representatives of the people writing these constitutions, still the fact without any chance for anybody to say this looks good or know this doesn't look good. that can be problematic. what happens in massachusetts is a couple different things. first of all they say we need a new constitution. okay, we will elect people also the going to write a constitution. and in addition to that, they are going to sense that all of
the towns and massachusetts in the 1780s, his little towns of varying sizes. everyone's going to get together, they're going to look at the constitution that will come back and be the hallmark of american constitutionalism. the advantage of that issue will in some imperfect weights never going to be perfect, you're going to get a real sense people have consensus in the form of government they are living under. but the problem is, there is a lot of questions you have to work out about how that
process actually works. massachusetts writes it in eight they send out to the towns, the majority of towns decide they don't like and vote no. and so it first tried down the tubes. so they have to get together and write a new constitution. well, by this point they decide this process with members of the legislature taking time out of their day to debate the constitution and write it, maybe that is not the best. a lot of stuff going on. it is hard to compartmentalize, so maybe it would be better for that reason alone to have a separate set of people get together and write the constitution.
there is also a deeper theoretical constitution to this. if you have a sitting government writing a constitution, maybe because they are in charge of implementing it, maybe it is not that good to have them writing the fundamental law. they are going to be the ones found by it. there is a conflict of interest there. if you have a group of people get together for the sole task of writing a constitution. and then they adjourn and go their separate ways. they have no power, no existence past the writing of the constitution. that has the potential to endow this document even greater legitimacy and that's what happens in massachusetts a. : : :
they just declared that the constitution had been ratified so this suggested the kind of model that on theoretical grounds americans throughout the united states recognize as having a lot of potential and the goal is to create governments that were legitimate that would comply with it and that would read truly something that they had created and this
new -- suggested that they could take that theoretical notion that sovereignty lies in people and some kind of tangible way to add to the document so that's one of the things that happened in massachusetts. >> they are like to point out at the bottom of the image you see at declaration of rights and the state constitutions had their own declarations of the rights of people that have a similar declaration and you can see the taxpayer but the first right all manner of worn free and equal kind of quoting independence and the declaration of rights and people are paying attention to this and there is even cases of men and women suing for their freedom in massachusetts because
of this and the case of elizabeth freeman successfully won our freedom due in large part because of the declaration of rights under the massachusetts constitution and of course these declarations of rights lay the groundwork and a framework for the later essentially called the bill of rights and the federalist constitution. as massachusetts is wrangling with how to use the new government others are rapidly creating a new government and as you well heard of there are the articles of confederation's bringing together the states to conduct the revolutionary war as part of a loose confederation joining us suffered together to do things like wage the war engage in diplomacy as a nation but is certainly have its limitations with no power to enforce taxes and get funds from
the state to conduct this war so the states were still operating as an independent, very independent state coming together for one cause but the articles of confederation had plenty of issues. the constitutional convention in 1787 is coming about two revised the federation not to talk them out of it but that so is what ends up happening. in philadelphia in the summer of 1787 just two blocks from where i'm sitting right now delegates come together to work on amending and approve improving of the articles of confederation coming up with a brand-new document in the united states constitution and the amazing document in philadelphia on loan from the goldman foundation was known as the dunlap printing of
the constitution on december 17, 1787 or that's the day the constitutional convention ends here in philadelphia. that night the document itself is and distributed to the state for ratification consideration at the state level. this is really an amazing and a rare survivor one or 15 or so that survive from 1787 and the only one that still remains. the rest are institutional collections. to rare opportunity to see a dunlap claypool printing from the first official printing of the constitution on display and of course there is a lot of connection between what the constitutional convention
decides on and present between the many connections between the revolutionary state constitution in massachusetts and pennsylvania that we just talked about. what are they learned from the state process in creating constitutions and can you share something about that? >> it's a topic that we won't deal to cover everything but that connection between what americans are doing on the state level in 1776 running through the 1780s and to 1787 and immediately after is one of those questions in american history. americans are getting a lot of experience in writing the constitution but they are
writing a constitution for their state and there are so many things you have to decide on a people of have all kinds of different ideas that you have to sort out so it's not easy. the advantage is a plan of government basically designed to do something you're familiar with. the states had colonies and they had government and people who are writing the new constitution , the new the kinds of things that governments needed to do so they had some blueprint in mind that they could build on to accord with new circumstances. when it came to what all of those states are going to collectively provide that's the
real trick because that was unprecedented. they had all been part of the british empire but they had not had any formal connection to one another before. they had been working next to each other but if you are in massachusetts you had no say in what happened in the united states in a most cases it didn't matter much what connecticut was doing. this is very different because they are fighting a war against great britain and its tough to beat great britain. they are really powerful so if you want to cooperate in that endeavor you have to be sought. they declared the united states much later with the fundamental
act of union of the states. it's being created and what exactly that is is an ongoing question. in the articles of confederation which we showed this as an attempt to figure out how this would likely work. it resembled something more akin to an international alliance in some ways but very tricky because the confederation of congress that was created as a national body have lots of power to do -- you know to borrow money and treaties and all these things that left it up to the states to implement all of those policies voluntarily. so the system looks very
differently from any state constitution so the question that americans are facing as they are gathering is okay how do we actually form something that both respects the state and americans like their states and i don't want to get rid of them but accomplishes all of the other goals. collectively we need to handle them together and so i think the strategy that they adopt and not many people go this is mine but the solution is as they start debating this how does any local society or any state do you get the buy-in from all the people in the state?
you pass representatives that represents very -- various constituencies together and they are the ones that agree on what to do and are seen as legitimate because they are the representatives of the people. as a model you need to represent all the people of the state in a more nuanced way in the key thing about the article is every state gets to vote no matter how big it is and how many people it has every state gets one vote. taxation is not as compelling because if you live in new york why am i going to let delaware tell me what to do?
you need some kind of system of representation that is going to allow you to say okay we have to do all these things and we will do them i'll ultimately that's what they had a doing and was a great question that faced the convention is how you were it rep present all of the states and the solution as everybody knows is for one has to have where are his sensation proportionate to the population and each state has two votes so that allows the convention to go forward to decide on other questions but really the united states constitution acknowledging and respecting the state is going to in some ways function more like a political society that americans are familiar with on the state level
it can be applied on a different level and that's what allows americans to come to terms with this very novel new federal government. what is this going to mean for the future but that's when they begin to do it. >> and concerns about strength at the state and concerns about the new federal government but ultimately what has happened is the federal constitution still leaves a lot up to the states in 1787 and we are going to see some of those issues play out in the 19th century about voting rights and about about popular sovereignty. there's a lot left up to the states in the 1787 constitution and i just want to point out
cool as the united states moves into the early 19th century and of course at the end of the 18th century states are being added to the union and their provisions of the constitution to allow for the addition of new states and they have republican forms of government and they have to be approved by congress and so we are seeing states like ohio and illinois alabama louisiana all join this union and of course with westward expansion this land is being taken from native americans and many native americans are resettled by the united states government and reserve territories in oklahoma.
one of the nations that is removed as the choctaw nation largely based in what is now mississippi and one of the interesting things that the choctaw nation does is after they are forced to be removed from their original homeland and move to what is now oklahoma they write their own republican form of government right down to the constitution that is very similar to the federal constitution and the other specific word about this constitution and the way we should think about it? >> it's really fascinating because native americans are adopting their strategy to respond to all of the things that are happening in that you just described. one of the best strategies for observing autonomy and freedom in the face of what is often
aggressive by the federal government or under the state government like georgia key players in the removal of the cherokee nation. so as they are looking at different strategies one strategy that they look to is trying to show that they can combine their traditional forms of government with a kind of new american form of government and forcing american authorities to allow them to retain a degree of autonomy.
it's very interesting for the ways in which it incorporates aspects of traditional choctaw governance with the form of what we have been talking about in this constitutional form so a fascinating and huge topic and i wish we had more time to get into it. >> speaking of huge the next volume that we are going to talk about one of the largest documents in a bound volume is its constitutional convention so states likely is anna and alabama are looking to president set by pennsylvania massachusetts and the constitutional convention of 1787 on what to do about their own government and changes to government over time but states
once they adopt a constitution that doesn't mean that they have to stick with it. there are amendments of constitutions of the states so places like pennsylvania are adopting new constitutions in the late 18th century early 19th century making changes like in pennsylvania the racial requirement for the voting law in 1838 taking the vote away from african-americans. a huge issue in pennsylvania especially in philadelphia. louisiana is debating a new constitution in the 1840s and unlike the very secret of 1787 constitutional convention where we know little about what went on inside of the pennsylvania state house in independence hall
we know bits and pieces from notes that some of the delegates for our making that louisiana actually and published all of the proceedings of the constitutional convention in 1845. literally word for word every things in their and i put some of these on the screen and maybe you could talk about these two. one was about where to put the capitol and some of the issues regarding that. >> you are quite right. the contrast between james madison's notes which we only published decades later and had they've been changed at all not necessarily the case. lots of states do this where it's free and open and it's an
event that people play close attention to their contact reports on what's going on in them and there's almost a back-and-forth while the conventions are going on about what people back home are thinking so it's something that happened in philadelphia in 1787 and you are right louisiana is one of the states so we have all of these things to talk about in some of the things they talk about are just fascinating and one of the things that these officially new states although old states are changing the question is often debated and constitutional amendment how big of a deal is this? it's a huge deal especially in the 19th century because members in the 19th century
everything travels by foot and you have the telegraph but still cheated the geographical location of the capitol is a huge deal practically because it will affect so many things related to the development of that state. the new states start off -- they are living in every part of his day. they are often clustered in one area so you are thinking how is this going to develop over time and how are we going to make sure that we have in and tires state developed in a reasonable fashion and locating a capital in a particular place in the center of the state, that could help a cause that means presumably you want the state collect -- capital connected to other things and if you go to
the put the capitol in the middle of the state you have to build roads and it's also going to allow citizens living in every part of the state to hold power. if the state state capitol is oe end of the state that people living on the far and won't get there is easily so they would have concerns about if their rights and views are being respected so it's in louisiana kind of a small state because original french colony and fascinating history but by the 1840s they are debating a new constitution and the question of the state government comes up. it's currently in new orleans and by far the largest city in
the state and in the southern half the diet of states. it wouldn't work in any other city. it's kind of a model of a metropolis in the area and the concern is kind of self-serving we if you put the cap on new orleans and we know cities are full of bribery and other things and so it's the gumbo in turkey. it's a speech that somebody gives regarding having the capitol in new orleans and all these applications going on and had anybody been bribed with a plate of gumbo here?
they were ways to tease out the things we have been talking about i ran across. also in making it a legitimate point that americans in every state and that debating. >> baton rouge is has decided upon the capital and baton rouge remains the capitol of louisiana. the next topic i want to bring up is the constitutional crisis and that is really rising in the early 19th century but then with the secession of the southern states and the establishment of the confederacy based on a brand-new forum, this debate over the future of in the
united states and what we have on display from the goldman foundation's collection is the confederate states constitution which is reaffirming and establishing that is going to be protected in the confederate states and is a direct response to compromises that have been made about restricting the spread of in the territory that was part of the louisiana purchase for example in the early 19th century. briefly do want to talk about how the constitution is similar and different to the federal constitution to the united states? >> absolutely and there are so many things that i wish we could go into in much greater depth
but it's one of the essential topics and in this exhibit as well to the extent that we can explore. the thing to mention is that a huge topic debate -- a debate always in american constitutionalism going back to the federal constitution of 1787 and the key things to note here to is in large degree it's left up to the states to decide. this is american and this is the future of their society and all the different forms.
the condition for allowing in their state was one of those things that americans debated. americans are always debating this question and he comes the central question of the 19th century for americans and leads to ultimately one question because whether the preponderance of the federal government's powers going to be represented in free states are states will have an advantage and this is seen as some kind of an issue that's going to affect the future of where it already exists in leads us to the safor question -- the civil war
question and the extension of in the territories and the party which is devoted to restricting the spread of and lincoln the leader of the republican party the first republican president in the constitution to limit the spread of and he thinks this is constitutional and americans from states and a precursor to what they believe is inevitable attack on even though it our day exists. that leads to secession in which confederate received threats pitting the institution of is the overriding -- for a new
country which they are going to call the confederate states of america and that name the confederate states they are going to come up with something that looks like the articles of confederation, right? not really, not at all. they take the united states constitution and because they are not stupid the articles of confederation did not work and especially the confederates looking ahead and that they are going to have to fight a war. we saw how that went during the revolution so they take the united states constitution and basically in its form and make a few changes to it.
alexander in march of 1861 to give a speech about the confederate constitution, he trained that is something that is an advanced of the drafters of the united states constitution. because he says the cornerstone of the confederacy is the notion of white supremacy. he says that explicitly. he is talk about the constitution, this is the document that is going to allow us to enshrine what he says the fundamental and world truth. incredibly important thing for us to reckon with. i was able to display this document because it's part of this very complicated story of american democracy we are telling pickwick's aren't thanks jim.
want to point out the slide you can see behind me. it's light on loan, no union slavery, 13 alternating black and white stripes with an eagle. twenty-three stars on this flag. it's from 1861 there 34 states in the united states. so it minus the states that succeeded this is an exclusionary flag. removing the stars have not been completed. abraham lincoln was very much against this when he became president. he wanted to emphasize the unit was still together, removing stars from the flag with legit arm and legitimate saws the confederacy. it really isn't amazing flag we have on display connected to the story of the confederate constitution and the crisis over slavery the last few things i want to bring up here, as the united
states is expanding even further west there are interesting things going on in places like wyoming and utah. the franchise is expanded into wyoming for example to include women. this is a partly progressive. also partly practical. jim, i know you write about this in the book that accompanied the exhibit. they're actually very few women and wyoming at the time. they're seeking to boost population there is more and more people are moving to wyoming. anything you want to mention here with that? >> one of the key questions, one of the many things it would be great to talk more about i know you guys are going to have an exhibit that explores more of this question, of women voting and the history of women voting.
the fact is there's nothing in the u.s. constitution that precluded a state from allowing women to vote. there is nothing in there. it is up to the state to decide. and you think maybe some state will explore this. it takes until 1889 with the exception of new jersey of course for very brief seven years in the early 19th century but that is the exception until wyoming in 1889. women had been able to vote in wyoming territory. not a lot of people living in wyoming at this time we should note. but, when it came time for women to write a constitution 1889 they decided that a very brief debate the convention
continues allowing them to vote in 1889. that is the first estate who explicitly guarantees the right of women to vote. you think the dam is going to break, other states will allow them to vote soon after this. a few do what is going to take another generation or so before the idea women should vote in general throughout the united states ultimately is guaranteed to the 19th amendment. the relationship assume what's going on on the state level for different provisions that may not be generally accepted yet. but they could try them out and convince other americans, look at wyoming. this is a just an extension of the sort of principles we
fought for in the revolution that we pride ourselves on. it's kind of an interesting connection between the state and the federal levels we have been talking about. >> each state is little different. i want to point out both spanish and english because it is reflective of the population that was living in new mexico at the time and still is. there's a lot of difference at the state level, federal amendments are sort of leveling the playing field in many ways in terms of who can vote, who can be a citizen with the 13th, 14th , 15th mm 19th amendment these are increasing the sameness at the state level by making changes at the federal level. interesting story of how the historic progression happens.
we are winding down here and i wanted to open up some time for questions. we'll take a look at the chat. i believe there been some questions asked will take a look at some chrome i want to take a look at jim i think you can see these as well. >> yes. >> great. okay, let's see questions about claypool family related, and interesting note we just got a donation from the descendents of betsy ross connected to, that had that revolutionary war diary of john claypool who eventually became betsy ross' third
husband. there's an interesting story there. so what is the best book on the constitution convention of 1877 any recommendations jim? >> there are so many. the book by richard demon which gives a good overview. it is such a vast illiterate sure that could be a good starting place a good narrative of what happens. >> there is another questions about native american constitutions what other nations broke constitutions. maybe you want to talk about the cherokee constitution a little bit, bring it up? >> many do, many did and do have constitutions today. the cherokee constitution is an especially notable one. it was written in the 1820s.
again it was part of the attempt by the cherokees to secure their place in this new transformer confident. the cherokees and other nations did. interesting things in order to, these are all different strategies. different native american groups, different places, different circumstances and up adopting different strategies to pursue here. one strategy is to write a constitution. they also create a rich and a language like the choctaws about slavery actually. they pointed to this as another sign of their ability
to coexist in this american society alongside this american society owning in this, specific 19th century context they could argue doing things like owning slaves, american slaves was a sign of the fact they were just like other americans. and adopting a constitution as we mentioned was another way to do that. but different circumstances that act of writing the constitution could be seen as white americans as a kind of threat. this is generally how this was received by what the cherokees wrote a constitution, it seemed to and a greater degree
mobilize americans to figure out how to remove the cherokees to somewhere else. again an enormously complex story. i wish i was more of an expert on this to give you guys a full explanation. there is a wide range of scholarship available on this. >> have big points i would make is that we have been talking about americans taking a big role in drafting their own constitutions. i point that has not been emphasized enough, obviously at many points, large numbers of americans have not been granted the opportunity to participate in this formal way in writing constitutions. but that should not lead us to think that all of these groups
again, who have been denied the opportunity have not exerted a profound impact on american democracy at all times. they absolutely did and we need to pay attention to the native americans, african americans and many other groups fall into that category. i want to emphasize that. >> jim another question we have is about whether one particular state constitution served as the primary model for the federal constitution. was it massachusetts that was the key model? >> yes and no. i'm a lot of the ways was more of a model than any constitution john adams have you ever heard of him,. [laughter] he did not like the pennsylvania he drafted the pennsylvania constitution the
convention changed a bunch of things that john adams did not like. there are many things john adams did. one important thing, he really kind of organize the massachusetts constitution like structurally. a lot of things did end up resembling the federal constitution. just looking at the constitution, it is organized into nice section with different breaks and things. earlier constitutions, a lot of them weren't lists of provision. they were not grouped, and any organized way. so in that regard i think we can thank john adams for playing a key role there. the federal constitution is easy to read. you can find what you're looking for pretty easily. >> writes, thanks jim. i know we are are at 7:15 p.m. now pretty wish we could talk longer a lot more questions
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