Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Christopher Childers

Second Advisor

James L.S. Daley

Third Advisor

James McBain


This study determines the place of surviving Framers of the Constitution from the American convention to the constitutional crises of the early republic. Only seventeen of these men survived in 1819. In 1820, that number had dwindled to thirteen. Rather than playing background roles while the next generation took the reins of government of the early republic, many of these men were at the forefront of the major turning points of the early republic and their inherent constitutional questions. For Caleb Strong of Massachusetts, the questions concerned the nature of the new union, whether a state could leave the union, and under what circumstances could the federal government conscript state militias during the rise of the Jeffersonian Republicans and the War of 1812. For Charles Pinckney, the questions were of the legality of the three-fifths compromise and the rights of territories to determine the legality of slavery during the Missouri crisis. Luther Martin, as counsel for the State of Maryland in McCulloch v. Maryland, denied the existence of implied powers in the Constitution in that seminal case. These events occurred from twenty-seven to thirty-three years after the Constitutional Convention. Rather than being retired sages sought for their wisdom, like Madison and Jefferson, these men were still active in government and explicating the document they helped to draft.



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