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Boston University School of Law




The U.S. Constitution was written, debated, ratified, and implemented in the shadow of crisis. The country was birthed in war. In the aftermath of ratification, opponents of the Constitution could have precipitated a civil war that would have jeopardized the survival of the fledgling national government. I Throughout the founding era, any number of European powers were perceived to pose a serious threat of invasion. 2 Well into the 1800s, especially in certain northeastern states, substantial homegrown support for realignment with England persisted; the possibility of an internal rebellion in those areas was quite real.3 Individuals interested more in power than politics hatched plans to break off parts of the country into their own empires. 4 Given the view of human nature widely held by the founders, 5 these possibilities could not have come as a surprise to most of them. It would be astonishing if a constitution adopted under such conditions did not consider and accommodate these potential crises.



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