UMSL professor’s book highlights what US Constitution framers were really thinking | St. Louis Public Radio

UMSL professor’s book highlights what US Constitution framers were really thinking

Feb 19, 2018

Encore Presentation: This program's original broadcast was on March 19, 2013.

Having existed and endured for nearly 230 years, the U.S. Constitution and the intent of those who created it continues to be a hotly contested topic.

On Monday's St. Louis on the Air during President's Day, host Don Marsh revisited his 2013 discussion with David Robertson, author of the book "The Original Compromise: What the Constitution's Framers Were Really Thinking." Robertson is a Curators' Teaching Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

While the Constitution is often thought of the nation’s founding document, it did not go into effect until 1789, more than ten years after the Declaration of Independence of 1776.  The Articles of Confederation loosely governed the states prior to 1789, though it lacked several key provisions including distinct branches of government and the ability of the government to tax.

In his book, Robertson argues that the Federalist Papers, of which many people believe composes the lens through which we view the ideas behind the U.S. Constitution, represent only one side in a fierce argument that was settled by numerous compromises.

Intentional Ambiguity

Certain things about the U.S. Constitution were left intentionally vague (i.e. the Necessary and Proper Clause).  The framers also made room to revise the U.S. Constitution with the addition of amendment, of which there have been twenty-seven.

The Word ‘Slavery’ Never Appears in the U.S. Constitution

“They avoided that word scrupulously. (The Framers) didn’t want to put the word ‘slavery’ in the Constitution, it would be controversial. They didn’t like the idea that slavery existed. In the privacy of the convention hall, the discussion over slavery was frank and chilling at times.”

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex HeuerEvie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.