The Structure of the Constitution

The Structure of the Constitution

This module in the No. 86 video project explores the central role in that structure plays in the document that has governed a free people for over 200 years.

“Nothing is more certain than the indispensable necessity of government, and it is equally undeniable, that whenever and however it is instituted, the people must cede to it some of their natural rights in order to vest it with requisite powers.” (Federalist No. 2)

Why did our Founding Fathers write the Constitution they way they did? What were their fears?  Why does the structure matter? How, or does it, work to protect our rights?  We explore below.

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1 of 9: The Era of State Constitution Writing [No. 86]

When was ‘the greatest era of constitution writing?’ Judge Jeffrey Sutton highlights how the Framers, in drafting the Constitution, drew upon the experience of the state constitutions written after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They bo ... When was ‘the greatest era of constitution writing?’ Judge Jeffrey Sutton highlights how the Framers, in drafting the Constitution, drew upon the experience of the state constitutions written after the Declaration of Independence in 1776. They borrowed key provisions such as separation of powers and protections of individual rights. Judge Sutton argues that the period of 1776 - 1787 is an important and frequently-neglected part of the story of the U.S. Constitution.

Jeffrey S. Sutton sits on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Judge Sutton was a partner with the law firm of Jones Day Reavis & Pogue in Columbus, Ohio, and served as State Solicitor of the State of Ohio. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (Ret.), the Honorable Antonin Scalia and the Honorable Thomas J. Meskill. He is the author of 51 Imperfect Solutions: States and the Making of American Constitutional Law.

As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.

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