Why does our government work the way it does? Is it supposed to represents citizens, or states? We consider the origins of the U. S. Constitution, particularly the creation of the controversial bodies (Senate and Electoral College) that represent the public in skewed and disproportionate ways. We dispel the false notion that these bodies were created in order to protect small states, tracing instead the Framers’ quest to tamp down the “excess of democracy” of the 1780s, wrest control over monetary policy away from the poor majority, and strike a careful balance between slave and non-slave states. Suggested further reading: Woody Holton, “Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution”; Charles Beard, “An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States”; Michael Klarman, “The Framers’ Coup”; Max Edling, “A Revolution in Favor of Government,” Robert Brown, “Charles Beard and the Constitution”; Irwin Polishook, “Rhode Island and the Union,”; Hillman Metcalf Bishop, “Why Rhode Island Opposed the Federal Constitution”; Gordon Wood, “Ideological Origins of the American Revolution” and “Creation of the American Republic”
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What does the English Civil War of the 1640s tell us about the American Civil War, and about the present?
What can we know about enslaved Africans who were held in a specific New England house, even without written records?
Who were the Freemasons of the 1700s? How did they grow from a local Scottish fraternity to a global network?
Could all of British history have turned out differently if the winds on the English channel had shifted direction on just one day in 1066?
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Why can no one agree on what “capitalism” actually is? And why does a lack of clear definition call into question so many other myths of the modern world?
How – and why – did universities begin in the Middle Ages, long before the scientific revolution and the “Enlightenment”?
Was there really an Exodus from Egypt like the one described in the Bible?
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How did accusing people of witchcraft further several political agendas of the time?
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Why is the dramatic 2019 fire at Paris’ Notre Dame actually a common occurrence for cathedrals around Europe?
Why don’t US citizens directly elect their President? Or have a more proportional Senate?