Under the Constitution of 1818: The First Decade

By Jarvis M. Morse | Go to book overview

TERCENTENARY COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CONNECTICUT COMMITTEE ON HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS

Under the Constitution of 1818: The First Decade

JARVIS M. MORSE

CONNECTICUT has so often been called "The Land of Steady Habits" that one is surprised to discover a period when the foundations of the state were shaken, and political strife threatened to disrupt all peace and harmony. About 1800 there appeared a political party which maintained that the state had no legal constitution, and that the public policies upheld by tradition were subversive of civil and religious liberty. This party, usually called Republican, originated as a branch of the national organization associated with Thomas Jefferson, but within a few years after 1800 its activities were focussed on local affairs. The Republicans objected to many features of contemporary politics, especially the fact that legislative and other governmental powers were derived from a charter granted by Charles II in 1662. From the Republican point of view it was undignified for a sovereign state to be governed according to rules laid down by a king who had once held the community in subjection. Mere prejudice against the royal charter would not have led to serious consequences, but the reform party injected into this constitutional con-

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