Talk:United States Constitution

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Former featured article United States Constitution is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on January 15, 2005.
On this day... Article milestones
Date Process Result
August 4, 2004 Featured article candidate Promoted
October 25, 2008 Featured article review Demoted
August 24, 2010 Peer review Reviewed
On this day... Facts from this article were featured on Wikipedia's Main Page in the "On this day..." column on September 17, 2004, September 17, 2005, September 17, 2006, September 17, 2008, September 17, 2009, and September 17, 2010.
Current status: Former featured article

"The first constitution of its kind"[edit]

I think the phrasing "The first constitution of its kind" should be more clear. There are the Constitution of San Marino, dated october 8, 1600 and the Corsican Constitution of 1755, both predating it and unmentioned (if not - unbeknown to them or not - nationalistically ignored by most US sources). Plus, saying "of its kind" seems at best evasive language. Now I am not an expert of the US constitution, or the US in general, but is it possible to fix this unfortunate wording?--Nickanc (talk) 16:50, 3 May 2017 (UTC)

Were both of those adopted by "the people's representatives"? Or by a single ruler, a body of nobles, or some other group? Though I think the connection should be clearer (my first reaction was to ask, "First constitution of what kind?"), I think that's the intended claim, that it was the first constitution adopted by "the people's representatives". Largoplazo (talk) 19:31, 3 May 2017 (UTC)
Almost all republics claim to some extent to represent their people, but intending representatives as an elected body by all males over a certain age, San Marino does not qualify because between 1571 and 1906 the Grand and General Council members were chosen by co-option with some degree of freedom for the direct democratic assembly, called Arengo, so no election. However Corsica seems to qualify, the constitution was apparently adopted by a provisional assembly of the people's representives called Consulta generale di Corte (see fr:Constitution corse).--Nickanc (talk) 08:24, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Could we perhaps say "the oldest constitution adopted by the people's representatives still in force and the second in history after the corsican constitution" (not sure Corsica is that relevant to be mentioned in the opening paragraph, but listing it prevents reverting it to "the frist constitution in history" which frankly is false)?--Nickanc (talk) 08:31, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
We solve that problem with "the first constitution of its kind" with better usage and style. It is not false, but true, backed by reliable sources. Unsourced ethnocentric POV asserting that all in modern constitutional history since 1500 is derivative from the Roman Empire and its descendants is not admissible here. Its sort of like the proposition that all of western civilization is of Greek derivation, as parodied in the movie, My Great Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Scholars point to the widespread literacy in the United States and the ratification process as reported in the widely available press and discussed among the people as being a "first of its kind". That is not the same as a clique of feudal war lords proclaiming themselves masters of an Italian city state and its illiterate people without consent of the governed. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 13:11, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Your analysis seems to cover San Marino quite squarely, but the story of Corsica's constitution seems to be grounded in a heavily democratic context. Am I wrong? Largoplazo (talk) 13:36, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
I am not here to push any POV, I was questioning. I am not an expert of Corsica, but AFAIK it is as Largoplazo says.--Nickanc (talk) 21:29, 4 May 2017 (UTC)
Interesting to see some reliable sources on the subject to overthrow the existing consensus. The article should not be modified on an unsubstantiated offhanded whim. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 02:50, 5 May 2017 (UTC)

The Corsican Constitution of 1755 was drafted by politician Pasquale Paoli (1725-1807), based on Enlightenment ideals. It was ratified by the Corsican population and declared the short-lived Corsican Republic (1755-1769) to be a representative democracy. "A national parliament, or Diet, was composed of delegates elected from each district for three-year terms. Suffrage was extended to all men over the age of 25. Traditionally, women had always voted in village elections for podestà i.e. village elders, and other local officials, and it has been claimed that they also voted in national elections under the Republic."

The Corsican example apparently served as an inspiration for some American colonists. The Hearts of Oak militia in the Province of New York called themselves "the Corsicans" when formed in 1775. Members included minor American politicians and soldiers, such as Nicholas Fish, Robert Troup, and Alexander Hamilton.

Based on the article on Pasquale Paoli, he was seen as a hero in the United States. Despite the man using catchphrases such as "Either we shall be free or we shall be nothing" and "Either we shall win or we shall die (against the French), weapons in hand"

"The American Sons of Liberty movement were inspired by Paoli. Ebenezer McIntosh, a leader of the Sons of Liberty, named his son Paschal Paoli McIntosh in honor of him. In 1768, the editor of the New York Journal described Paoli as "the greatest man on earth". Several places in the United States are named after him. These include:

We have sources across several articles. What I don't get is why Americans were inspired by a revolutionary politician who spend his life trying to create a free Corsican state, struggling against the perceived tyranny of the Republic of Genoa and the Kingdom of France. Paoli famously failed to accomplish his goal, and (despite irridentist attempts) Corsica never did regain its independence. Dimadick (talk) 14:33, 7 May 2017 (UTC)

This is great! Perhaps we should have it in this article that the U.S. Constitution is the "first permanent constitution of its kind", with a footnote to explain the Corsican Constitution and links to the Paoli article.
I find this unheralded factoid absolutely delightful. We just need a reliable scholarly source that also makes the connection that seems so obvious on the face of it. I have always been intrigued by the Mediterranean influences in American war making including the Civil War Zouaves and the U.S. Marine Corps officer's Mameluke sword.
The Americans who were inspired by Paoli were probably Enlightenment readers of Locke, Sidney and Milton or at least of their popularizers in the colonial press. That is of course complete speculative WP:OR on my part without sourcing the connection. TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 14:41, 8 May 2017 (UTC)
I agree on saying "first permanent" with a footnote. As for sources: the britannica article on Pasquale Paoli essentially covers most of what Dimadick said ( britannica), and for a source specifically on the connection there is this article by the president of a Pasquale Paoli foundation in Corsica. This very sourced article could be cited too, albeit centered on Paoli, not specifically on the connection Paoli-American Constitution. Following its footnotes it seems that as early as 1769 Paoli was very popular and the Pennsylvania Gazzette praised him to the point they wrote "that Mr. Wilkes in England; Dr. Lucas in Ireland; and Paschal Paoli in Corsica, are the three greatest Patriots in their respective Countries". Concerning French revolution, where sources are easier to find, Paoli's contribute and example was in person and very notorious, whereas for American history, he did not took part directly, but was regarded as an important source and example for the American revolution - also on the grounds that there were not many universal suffrage polities at the time - and was inspirational in some aspects more than in France, because American revolution was an independence war too, as Corsican. So not only Corsican Constitution precedes Amercan one, but inspired the American revolutionary movement. A link between actual articles of the two constitutions is perhaps possible, but I have not found anything on the matter. My guess would be that it could be extremely difficult to establish whether some statements are drawn from the Corsican constitution or directly from Enlightenment philosophy in general, but a general acknowledgement of the two movements is definitely established.--Nickanc (talk) 17:16, 19 May 2017 (UTC)
Proposed introductory statement revised to: "United States Constitution is the first permanent constitution of its kind."
Note: An earlier Enlightenment Constitution was drafted by Pasquale Paoli for the Corsican Republic, which was in force from 1755 to 1769.
Citation: Ruppert,Bob. "Paoli: hero of the Sons of Liberty” in the Journal of the American Revolution, viewed May 22, 2017.
Reliable source explanation: Journal of the American Revolution reports itself as "the leading source of knowledge about the American Revolution and Founding. Appealing to scholars and enthusiasts alike, we feature meticulous, groundbreaking research and well-written narratives from scores of expert writers. Our work has been featured by the New York Times, TIME Magazine, History Channel, Discovery Channel, Smithsonian, Mental Floss, Mount Vernon, and more. Journal of the American Revolution also produces annual hardcover volumes and its own book series.” TheVirginiaHistorian (talk) 12:55, 22 May 2017 (UTC)

Judicial review; Subsequent Courts; William Howard Taft.[edit]

"Taft successfully sought the expansion of Court jurisdiction over non- states such as District of Columbia and Territories of Arizona, New Mexico, Alaska and Hawaii."

Apparently the author of the above sentence was blissfully unaware that both New Mexico and Arizona became states in 1912, nine years before W.H.Taft became Chief Justice and Thirteen years before passage of Judiciary Act of 1925.

Anyone want to comment before I remove New Mexico and Arizona from this sentence? Jonel469 (talk) 03:56, 13 June 2017 (UTC)

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In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.[4][5] The majority of the seventeen later amendments expand individual civil rights protections. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.227.195.132 (talk) 07:14, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

subtext[edit]

The wikipedia on the us constitution currently reads:

In general, the first ten amendments, known collectively as the Bill of Rights, offer specific protections of individual liberty and justice and place restrictions on the powers of government.[4][5] The majority of the seventeen later amendments expand individual civil rights protections.

+++++++

This language presents 'liberty and justice' as occurrences opposed to 'individual civil rights protections'. In practice in the US, the segregation of these concepts has amounted to slavery. I suggest that the 'general'-ity and the 'majority' in these sentences is a dangerous simplification at best — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.227.195.132 (talk) 07:26, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Edit: Moreover I note that neither sentence has a meaningful reference and propose that both sentences be removed from the article. This is no place for editorials. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 96.227.195.132 (talk) 07:36, 5 July 2017 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 21 September 2017[edit]

Currently the 'civil liberties' link in the History section leads to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Coke#Petition_of_Right. I believe it should lead to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_liberties. SeanFrancis (talk) 03:56, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Done SparklingPessimist Scream at me! 04:13, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

Bias in lead?[edit]

"Profoundly different", "wisely separated balance of powers". Erm, I get that this is from Senate.gov, but it appears to have been written by a Democrat two months before "the threat" of a Trump presidency could have taken hold. Is this language really neutral? To me it comes across as if it was written by a 'progressive'. Why else would you use the words 'profoundly different to the 18th century world'? Thoughts on making the lead less overtly biased? Oxr033 (talk) 21:52, 17 February 2018 (UTC)

Age of the US Constitution[edit]

The age of the Constitution has not been changed in two years. Currently the article says that it is 229 years old but as of September 2018 it will be 231. Could this be edited please? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 12.38.31.244 (talk) 14:01, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

You're thinking that the "age" of the constitution should be from the time the document was signed, but the article considers its age from when it came into effect. The template used for the date_effective infobox parameter reads {{Age|1789|03|04}}. The article consistently says the constitution "came into force in 1789". Dhtwiki (talk) 21:55, 4 April 2018 (UTC)

"The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States"[edit]

If you would take a look at Balzac v. Porto Rico you would see that the full United States Constitution is only applicable to the portions of the United States that have been incorporated into the Union and not the Nation as whole. Should the wording of this article be modified to reflect that? My suggestion would be to change it to the "supreme law of the incorporated United States". But, of course I'm sure others have better ideas. -- Endercase (talk) 16:28, 7 May 2018 (UTC)

why no link to text in intro[edit]

I find it astonishing beyond belief that link to the text is not in the intro this is a major fail !! — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:192:4701:BE80:D178:E4E3:3ECD:B2F4 (talk) 00:16, 13 May 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 23 May 2018[edit]

Footnote 7: "America's Founding Documents". October 30, 2015. is broken correct link is: https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs 87.183.115.206 (talk) 13:54, 23 May 2018 (UTC)

 Done Well, it wasn't broken -- I was redirected to the correct page. Made the change for you anyway. Thanks! --SarekOfVulcan (talk) 13:57, 23 May 2018 (UTC)