Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Federalism and Representation in the Theory of the Founding Fathers: A Comparative Study of U.S. and Canadian Constitutional Thought

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While there are many important points of comparison and contrast between the American and Canadian foundings, perhaps none is more important than the role of political theory. Both the United States and Canada share much in common historically, structurally, and theoretically, yet each established a very different form of federalism that has in turn developed in strikingly different ways. Starting from a common British inheritance, different theoretical applications resulted in divergent conceptions of sovereignty and representation that affected the system of federalism in each country. Our findings demonstrate the crucial importance for understanding the political philosophy of the founding relative to the ongoing dialectic of the Great Conversation. In these two nations, the federalism that developed resulted in substantive differences in representation and constitutional structures.