The Corner

Food For Thought

The first American constitution (the Articles of Confederation) took over a year to write (July 1776-November 1777), over three years to ratify (the 13th state, Maryland, did not sign on until March 1781), and about five and half years before roughly half the country realized it had to be junked. We had some harder problems than Iraq has–thirteen prickly sovereignties, a war against the world’s greatest superpower–but we also had great advantages–more than a century of experience of home rule in some places. Some of our circumstances were comparable (e.g., one third of the country disaffected in the early stages).

Historian Richard Brookhiser is a senior editor of National Review and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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