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The Historical Debate about America’s Constitution

  • Oct 21, 2012 · 1:30 PM
  • This location is shown only to members

American history proves to be an inexhaustible subject. From the earliest Colonial
history up to the present day, there have been so many important events that we could
easily stay with our “American history” cycle for a year and never get bored.

So far, we have covered the Industrial Revolution in America, the U.S. Supreme Court
(two meetings with fruitful discussion), and the early post-revolutionary period. The
stage has been set for an interesting debate.

I’m not talking about the debate between the presidential candidates in the November
election. That is sure to be full of sound bites and feel-good slogans. Let us go back to
1787 – 1790 and talk about a substantive debate – the reasoned arguments of those who
favored ratifying America’s constitution, and those who opposed it. In other words, the
Federalists vs. the Anti-Federalists.

Let’s not take the Constitution for granted. Instead, let’s examine how it came into being.
We can listen to the voices of those who wrote it and defended it; but we can also hear
the forgotten voices of those who passionately opposed it.

A few housekeeping issues. First, we have a long-standing tradition of bringing snacks
or beverages to share. While you’re not required by the constitution to bring something,
consuming calories does help the discussion run smoothly.

Second: let me remind you that this is a historical meetup, not a “Let’s discuss modern
political controversies” meetup, and the organizers really would like to keep it this way.
As the election nears, there might be a strong temptation to forget about our topic and to
launch into electoral politics instead.

This does not mean that you cannot draw parallels between our historical period and
issues of the day, or make an observation that the roots of some current problem go back
to 1787. It’s OK to say, for example, “What Alexander Hamilton said reminds me of
what Paul Ryan said...”, as long as you are doing just that – drawing a historical parallel.
However, it is not OK to just switch to the subject of Paul Ryan and forget about poor
Hamilton altogether. Our goal is to keep our group a history group.

Lastly: Running a meetup is not free. Meeup.com website charges organizers for the
privilege. To cover the cost of running this group, a donation of $2 is respectfully
requested. Hope to see you in October!

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  • A former member
    A former member

    Really enjoyed it...

    October 21, 2012

  • Arthur Z.

    Just read above words till now. Very humorous, interesting, and thoughtful.

    October 18, 2012

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