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The revolutionary portfolio: constitution-making and the wider world in the American Revolution.


The other documents in the revolutionary portfolio targeted foreign audiences even more directly than the state constitutions and were modeled, to one degree or another, on precedents within the law of nations. (150) David Armitage has reminded Americans that the purpose of the Declaration of Independence was to notify external audiences that the states had, collectively, decided to seek independent existence outside the British Empire and claim the rights of belligerent nations under the law of nations. (151) It says as much. (152) Historians have identified various generic precedents for the Declaration--such as a grievance petition, an indictment, a bill of particulars, or a bill in equity. (153) All of these forms no doubt contributed, but the Declaration also mapped closely onto an international form well known to eighteenth-century British Americans: a declaration of war. (154) The colonists had read many declarations of war over the eighteenth century. Declarations of war publicized a list of grievances perpetrated by the enemy (as just wars were supposed to be defensive wars), recounted the travails and patience of the declaring state, and notified the rest of the world of the change of the state's status from peaceful neutral to active belligerent. (155) As such, the Declaration of Independence was also a direct retort to the King's Proclamation of Rebellion of August 1775, which accused the colonists of "traitorous conspiracies" in violation of civil law. (156) In response to George Ill's characterization of the conflict as a domestic insurrection that activated martial law, Congress declared it to be an international conflict--thus activating the laws of war and neutrality.

"[A] decent respect to the opinions of mankind," read the first sentence in the Declaration, "requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation." (157) It ended with the claim "that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do." (158) It explained the reasons why the colonies had transformed a rebellion into a civil war and requested recognition, along with assistance, from European powers. (159) Of course it was a special kind of declaration of war, declaring that a civil war was now an international war. The Declaration thereby inaugurated, as Armitage has observed, a new genre within the law of nations and became a template for future colonial revolutionaries. (160)

The Declaration of Independence was nonetheless supposed to function like a traditional declaration of war. A published declaration of war was necessary, Vattel counseled in the middle of the eighteenth century, for the benefit of humanity and for a belligerent's own subjects, not least because it signaled to the enemy one last chance for peace in hopes that it could be brought to reason. (161) Declarations activated the laws of war and neutrality, and they might call into play preexisting treaty guarantees. (162) In a declared war, some neutral trade (commerce in contraband or running a blockade for example) could be seized by the belligerents. Also, some forms of assistance to one side, like permitting naval or privateering ships to fit out in a neutral port, arguably amounted to imperfect neutrality and ran the risk of expanding the war. Similarly, a neutral might decide to ally with one side and become a belligerent. (163) Thus, a declaration of war presented all these options to neighboring nations, which is what the Continental Congress meant to do in the summer of 1776. (164) Congress quickly sent a copy to its secret agent in France, Silas Deane, and instructed him to present it to Louis XVI and "the other Courts of Europe," and to publish a French translation in the newspapers. (165)

There was no constituted power, however, that could negotiate a treaty on behalf of the revolutionary states as a group. Like the revolutionary conventions, assemblies, and committees, the Continental Congress lacked a legitimate foundation or defined powers. (166) If the colonies had to institute formal governments, so did the Congress. Hence, there was a need for a formal confederacy, or what Thomas Paine called: "a CONTINENTAL CHARTER, Or Charter of the United Colonies ... (Always remembering, that our strength is continental, not provincial.)" (167) Congress established a committee to draft the Articles of Confederation on the same day that it appointed committees to draft the Declaration and the Model Treaty. It began debating the draft Articles of Confederation in the late summer of 1776 and, after more than a year of debate, sent the final version to the states in the fall of 1777 for ratification, emphasizing in its circular:

   More than any other consideration, it will confound our foreign
   enemies, defeat the flagitious practices of the disaffected,
   strengthen and confirm our friends, support our public credit,
   restore the value of our money, enable us to maintain our fleets
   and armies, and add weight and respect to our councils at home, and
   to our treaties abroad. (168)

Because, like all confederacies, it was in the form of a multilateral treaty, it required ratification--unanimous ratification under its own terms. (169) Most states approved the Articles of Confederation during the following year; however, Maryland held out for three and a half years, until March 1781. (170) Consequently, for most of the war there was no formal confederation among the states, only the informal Continental Congress. Once again, however, practice outran formalism, as Congress functioned as the designated representative of the thirteen states.

In early modern political thought, the theory behind a confederation was that it facilitated relations among the confederated states and conducted foreign relations, or what John Locke called the "federative power[s]," for all of them. (171) Constituent states delegated specified foreign affairs powers to the confederation government, but they remained otherwise independent and sovereign. (172) The precise delegations varied, and each arrangement contained ambiguities that often ripened into disagreements. But the basic form was familiar: "Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this confederation, expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled." (173) Though the Continental Congress had some legislative powers, some executive power, and even some judicial power, it was not precisely an executive, legislative, or judicial body. (174) Rather, it was a federative body, with all the ambiguity that this entailed.

Americans, therefore, consciously built on a European tradition of designing interstate confederations to coordinate commerce and collective security. The tradition's literature, if not every political project carried out in its name, was premised on the vision of perpetual peace. (175) Americans riffled through literature that was central to eighteenth-century European political thought and believed they were adding to it. Their self-described "league of friendship" was predominantly, though not simply, a practical tool for their own coordination; it also offered an example from which Europeans might learn, which is precisely how many Europeans read the confederation. (176) Richard Price trumpeted the American Confederation as an example for the world, especially for Europe. Americans had made progress, Price wrote as the war ended, in showing that a governmental body could arbitrate disputes between "any number of confederate States." (177) They had waged a war successfully,

but more important to Price, they had established a structure that seemed to ensure that no war would break out among themselves. (178) The Confederation therefore offered an example of how "universal peace may be produced, and all war excluded from the world." (179) The form was crucial because the Confederation evoked the European dream of overcoming war on their own continent. (180)

Similarly, Congress designed the Model Treaty as a template for liberal commercial relations with European nations. (181) Liberal, at the time, did not mean free trade, but rather, freer trade than was allowed by the jealous regulations of the European empires. These regulations ranged from discriminatory tariffs and tonnage rates to navigation acts restricting the right to carry goods into a nation's ports in the metropole and its colonies, as well as outright trade prohibitions. One mechanism for driving down trade restrictions was the most favored nation clause, which was increasingly included in commercial treaties. The Americans put one in the Model Treaty. (182) In addition to liberalizing peacetime trade, the Model Treaty also protected neutral shipping as much as possible during war. (183) Here, the key idea was incorporated into the Model Treaty by the free ships, free goods clause: In times of war, carriers hailing from neutral nations could ship anyone's goods anywhere, except through actual (rather than paper) blockades, and also excepting trade in contraband, which the Model Treaty defined strictly. (184) The goal was to reduce trade monopolies in peace and limit impediments to commerce during war. (185)

These liberal treaty provisions signaled the growing belief, or at least the aspirational ideal, that reciprocal trade could be the source of national wealth and power rather than a zero-sum game that threatened to weaken the nation. In other words, there could be mutual rather than unilateral gains from trade. Free trade and the doctrine of neutrality in wartime were not just ideologies of weak states such as the Netherlands and the struggling United States, despite the fact that weaker states might gravitate more naturally to such positions. Instead, free trade and the doctrine of neutrality were ideals that attracted adherents across Europe. (186) Nations were separate and independent--sovereign--and each had its own interests. Yet they also benefitted from mutual trade. Again, this was an Enlightenment conception that incorporated realist notions of balanced powers, mutual dependence, and comparative advantage with an idealist conception of a peaceful community of civilized nations.

Few revolutionary Americans were familiar with treaty-making or any kind of diplomacy. They had debated constitutions for decades. Many had read about ancient and modern confederations in school. Declarations of war were published in colonial newspapers. In contrast, colonists rarely parsed treaties. The closest experiences for colonial Americans were intra-imperial lobbying and Indian diplomacy. (187) Thus, the Continental Congress's first choices for overseas service and assistance in drafting the Model Treaty were former colonial agents and transatlantic merchants. For example, Benjamin Franklin was an easy choice for membership on the committee that drafted the Model Treaty because he had lived for fifteen years in London--representing the colonial assemblies of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Georgia--and also had attended the Albany Congress of 1754, where the northern colonies attempted to create a confederation and negotiated with the Iroquois Indians. (188)

The committee that drafted the Model Treaty collected compilations of European treaties. Although the conscientious John Adams did most of the drafting, Benjamin Franklin obtained the best single source: the Anglo-French Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. The Anglo-French Treaty of Utrecht was the leading example of liberal treaties designed to promote European peace by fostering relatively unfettered trade in peace and war. (189)

The Anglo-French Treaty was part of a skein of bilateral treaties at Utrecht that ended the War of Spanish Succession. Charles II of Spain had named his grandson, the future Philip V, as his successor. Philip was also the grandson of Louis XIV of France, which raised the possibility that France and Spain might someday unify to create a continental behemoth. The War of Spanish Succession prevented this from happening. (190) The ensuing Utrecht treaties, including the Anglo-French Treaty, were supposed to create a balance of power across Europe to prevent any one monarch from dominating continental affairs. (191) Most realized that preventing the union of the French and Spanish crowns was only a partial, perhaps temporary, solution. According to the leading ideas of the early eighteenth century, the way to reduce the proclivity toward war was not only to balance power but also to generate lasting commercial ties. Balance was only a starting point. Commercial reciprocity would draw all powers together. That the Utrecht treaties did not actually prevent war throughout the rest of the century did not undermine their attractiveness. (192) Thus, Americans educated themselves on the balance of power and reciprocity principles embodied in the Utrecht treaties.

Perhaps the greatest example that the Utrecht treaties provided was the peacemakers' separation of military and political questions--armistice and borders--from those regarding peacetime commercial relations. (193) This separation presumed that questions of war could, and should, be isolated from those of peace, and that treaties of commerce ought to flourish outside their usual origins--namely during negotiations ending war. Untainted by the war, the commercial treaty expressed the hope for a new era of peaceful coexistence. It was a nice image, and although it did not last on the ground, it persisted in the dreams of the Enlightenment. Revolutionary Americans codified that vision of peace in the Model Treaty. (194)

Adams and Franklin drew directly on the precedent of the Utrecht treaties when they constructed the Model Treaty. Franklin's copy of A Compleat Collection of All the Articles and Clauses which Relate to the Marine, in the Several Treaties Now Subsisting Between Great Britain, and Other Kingdoms and States contains the "X" marks he scratched in the margins next to provisions that he thought Adams should include in the draft treaty. Adams included some of those provisions and added a dozen others that he found while perusing Franklin's volume. 196 A classic cut-and-paste exercise, the Americans selected what they thought were the most liberal provisions in celebrated European treaties.

This was Adams's initiation into international diplomacy. In his autobiography, he recalled that Jeremiah Gridley (his mentor when he apprenticed law in the 1750s) told him to read some books on the law of nations to learn about statesmanship and ethics. (197) The subject arose in their first meeting. (198) Adams had just come from a two-year clerkship with James Putnam, and Gridley asked Adams whether he had yet read the law of nature and nations. (199) Young Adams replied that he had read Burlamaqui, Heineccius, and Turnbull on moral philosophy. (200) Gridley then asked whether he had read Grotius and Pufendorf. (201) "I cannot say I have Sir," Adams responded,

   Mr. Putnam read them, when I was with him, and as his Book lay on
   the Desk in the office for the most part when he had it not in his
   hand, I had generally followed him in a cursory manner, so that I
   had some very imperfect Idea of their Contents: but it was my
   intention to read them both as soon as possible. You will do well
   to do so [instructed Gridley]: they are great Writers. Indeed a
   Lawyer through his whole Life ought to have some Book on Ethicks or
   the Law of Nations always on his Table. They are all Treatises of
   individual or national Morality and ought to be the Study of our
   whole Lives. (202)

In 1760, Adams still had yet to read Pufendorf. (203) However, by the time of the Stamp Act debates, he had read Pufendorf and continued to cite Grotius, Pufendorf, and Vattel to support colonial claims of autonomy against the Crown and Parliamentary regulation. (204) Like all hard working law students, Adams noted his mentor's advice, but focused on what seemed most immediately important to his prospective practice in Massachusetts during the late 1750s, as in most times and places: the law of debtor and creditor. Twenty years later, as a forty-year-old man entrusted with crafting the template for the revolutionary states' relationship with the rest of the world, he scrambled to obtain books to learn more about the law of nations and treaties. He continued to consult those books every time he faced a question of first impression about diplomacy and international commerce. It was a decade of continuing education in the law of nations, which was repeated for the next generation in the 1790s and continually after that. For generations American lawyers instructed their clerks to read the law of nations. (205) Nevertheless, many did not study it closely until faced with real problems. Then, amidst war, they learned under the pressure of experience. (206)


In the fall of 1776, after manufacturing a Declaration of Independence, a Model Treaty, and a draft of the Articles of Confederation, and having recommended that the states write constitutions, the Continental Congress turned to diplomacy. (207) France was the key audience. (208) Congress had to persuade the French that the new states were reliable partners in a war against Britain. (209) In the spring of 1776, it had already sent over a covert agent, Silas Deane, to purchase arms, uniforms, and supplies for the Indian trade, all to support the war effort. (210) In addition, it had instructed Deane to ask French Foreign Minister Vergennes "whether if the Colonies should form themselves into an Independent State, France would probably acknowledge them as such, receive their Ambassadors, enter into any Treaty or Alliance with them, for Commerce or defence [sic], or both?" (211) At first demurring on recognition and a treaty, Vergennes jumped at the chance to irritate France's historical enemy and organized a secret program to send military supplies indirectly to the Americans. (212)

Deane was supposed to get supplies while offering a future shipment of tobacco as payment. (213) Because a gift or direct trade might have sparked war with Britain, the ministry enlisted an unfortunate courtier to establish a shell trading corporation that was supposedly private, but was actually funded by the crown. (214) Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, a music teacher and playwright remembered today for The Barber of Seville and The Marriage of Figaro, was at the time notorious for his scandalous life, which even before gun-running was more interesting than his fictions. (215) Among other offenses, he ran up unpayable debts, bribed a judge, and had an affair with a duke's mistress. (216) Stripped of his civil rights, Beaumarchais could have languished in jail. Instead, he went to Spain and set up a front corporation, Rodrigue Hortalez and Company, which in a nice coincidence received its charter of incorporation on July 4, 1776. (217) Like many of his compatriots, Beaumarchais embraced the American cause with passion and celebrated its principles. (218) For him it became a moral crusade, all the more passionately pursued because his freedom also depended on it. (219)

Six months later, Congress commissioned its most seasoned transatlantic operator, Franklin, along with Deane and Arthur Lee, to negotiate a "true and sincere friendship, and a firm, inviolable, and universal peace, for the defence [sic], protection, and safety of the navigation and mutual commerce of the subjects of his most Christian majesty and the people of the United States." (220) Upon arriving in France in late November 1776, Franklin immediately used the portfolio in his negotiations. All the documents were publicized as proof of the viability, and even enviability, of the revolutionary states. (221) The French were least interested in the Declaration. (222) Although the broad statement of equality and inalienable rights attracted admiration, the bald claim of independence was not persuasive. The question was not whether the American provinces claimed independence; any group could say that. The question was whether they could prove it. To do that, Congress thus turned to one of America's greatest salesmen.

Immediately Franklin informed the French ministry that the American people had "call'd loudly upon the Congress to declare an Independence." (223) It did so, and:

   the several Colonies have since approv'd and confirm'd that
   Declaration, and have accordingly form'd their separate
   Constitutions as independant [sic] States: A general Confederation
   is also plann'd by the Congress, whereby, for general Purposes and
   the common Defence [sic], the Power of the whole is united in that
   Body. A Copy of that Instrument of Confederation is hereunto
   annexed. (224)

In retrospect, it all seems factual. In early January 1777, however, most colonists had not approved the Declaration of Independence, although the revolutionary assemblies had. Furthermore, most colonies did not yet have state constitutions. The copy of the Articles of Confederation that Franklin packed in his luggage in October 1776, marked "secret" (indeed, it was first published in Paris, not North America), was revised before Congress approved it the following year. (225) Even then, the Articles were not ratified until 1781. (226) When translated and published in Europe, however, it appeared as though Congress had approved the Articles in October 1776. (227) The preface to its publication in London claimed that the Articles had "at length been resolved and signed by all the Delegates" and that "it is not yet doubted [that] they will be approved and generally received" by the states. (228) In Franklin's telling, the Revolution sounded more promising than it was.

By many accounts Franklin was not America's best diplomat. (229) He had little interest in international commerce and abhorred his naval duties, the magnitude of which he and possibly everyone else had not anticipated. He did not seem especially interested in the law of nations, except when a brilliant idealist, who was also wrongly convicted (he maintained) of murder, showed up at his doorstep outside Paris brandishing a plan for international government. (230) Franklin failed to discover that his secretary was actually a British spy (Americans supported open agreements openly arrived at from the beginning). (231) He felt he had little left to prove, which is rarely a good trait in an advocate, and talked of retiring to a country house in France, never to see America again. The most perceptive analysts of his reserved posture as a diplomat refer to Franklin's "strategy of humility" and stress his self-description as a "courted virgin." (232)

Beneath the apparent casualness, however, lay a profound confidence in North America's future that rested on a geopolitical vision of continental expansion and transatlantic commercial integration that he had developed decades earlier as an entrepreneur, land speculator, and colonial agent. (233) The peopling of America, he had long thought, would generate new and astonishing markets for Europe, and also create a political equal on the western side of the Atlantic. (234) Indeed, the center of gravity of European civilization would eventually cross the Atlantic. Confident that American and European interests overlapped, Franklin felt he need not connive too much. (235)

France's national interest, as perceived by its leading statesmen and especially Foreign Minister Vergennes, mattered most. (236) French national pride had not recovered from the stunning defeat in the Seven Years' War and the cession of most of their North American empire to Britain. (237) The French delighted at the chance to get revenge by helping to carve off a large chunk of Britain's empire while taking some of its trade as well. (238) "America had hardly declared its independence," observed the Marquis de Condorcet, "when [French] political leaders clearly understood that this happy revolution would necessarily result in the ruin of England and the prosperity of France." (239) This progenitor of public choice theory accurately assessed the diplomats's sense of the stakes, though, as with most ex-ante predictions about multilateral relations, he miscalculated the outcome's costs and benefits (and his own endgame played out in a Jacobin prison). (240) Revenge was not France's only interest: an independent confederation of American states might also allow the French to restore their American trading networks. (241)

Pride and economic interest might suffice to explain assistance, but the French were most interested in a viable threat to the British Empire. (242) Fueling a mere rebellion would threaten to ensnare France in a global war that, in 1776, it did not have the navy to fight, let alone win. (243) "[I]t would not be in keeping with the dignity of the King, nor in his interest, to make a pact with the insurgents," thought Vergennes in early 1776, before the Declaration of Independence. (244) "This pact, in fact, would only be worthwhile insofar as they make themselves independent and do not find it in their interest to break it, [and if] the system does not change into an administration both mobile and necessarily unstable." (245) Even if the Americans proved constant, they had an enormous fight on their hands. Victory would also require other allies, like Spain, with money and ships. (246) In the short run, assistance would have to be covert, though in the eighteenth century, covert aid was often an open secret. (247) Therefore, even French decision-makers, focusing on only national interest, wanted assurance that the American colonies would not reconcile voluntarily or by force with the British Empire. (248)

The portfolio conveyed American assurances. The commissioners made sure that the entire portfolio was translated and published in French and other languages. The new American governments--state and confederate--soon became leading topics in the salons of Paris. (249) Capitalizing on the cult of his own personality, Franklin in particular made them so. Franklin's unadorned head, which was memorialized in etchings, paintings, cameos, busts, and figurines, circulated with the states' transparent constitutions through Parisian salons and across Europe. (250) They were images of wisdom borne of experimentation. The intellectuals, at least, wanted war in favor of such ideas, as well as to humble the British. (251) "The Age of Revolutions had begun," observed historian Durand Echeverria, "and the literary symbol of America fashioned by the Physiocrats and Philosophes was transformed almost overnight into a popular enthusiasm which fired all of France." (252)

Different segments of French society viewed the American cause in different ways. (253) Courtiers could see the revolutionaries as first-class irritants to a perennial enemy. (254) The intellectuals, in turn, viewed the states as laboratories of experimentation, testing old theories and trying out institutions they might hope to establish someday at home. (255) "[T]o a great extent," argued

Echeverria, "the American example was used as an excuse to express ideas which otherwise could not have been voiced." (256) The broader literate public, and those not fully literate but able to take in Franklin's multimedia performance, saw an assault on stifling privilege: a rebuke to the Ancien Regime everywhere. (257) "[I]t is not enough that the rights of man be written in the books of philosophers and inscribed in the hearts of virtuous men," Condorcet wrote before the end of the war, "the weak and ignorant must be able to read them in the example of a great people. America has given us that example." (258) Presenting this image of America to France was one of Franklin's greatest achievements. As John Adams recalled:

   His name was familiar to government and people, to kings,
   courtiers, nobility, clergy, and philosophers, as well as
   plebeians, to such a degree that there was scarcely a peasant or a
   citizen, a valet de chambre, coachman or footman, a lady's
   chambermaid or a scullion in a kitchen, who was not familiar with
   it, and who did not consider him as a friend to human kind. (259)

Proving that an action is actually in the national interest is often difficult. Strategic decisions that include the risk of war depend on so many variables and independent actors that they retain a substantial degree of uncertainty. At the very least, as historian Quentin Skinner has argued, it is usually necessary to show that some action is not only consistent with one's interests, but also consistent with one's principles. (260) Contrary to the behavioral premise of realism, sometimes the formula is reversed, as decision-makers with strong ideas assure their colleagues that their projects are in everyone's interest. (261) The French could calculate their interests on their own. Thus, the American commissioners needed to show that their states were not only functionally independent, but also ideologically attractive.

This was not a straightforward case. As the American drama moved from rebellion to revolution, the main and symbolic culprit was the British King, and almost no one proposed replacing him with a new monarch or an aristocracy. Ideologically, the states were deeply republican, which intrigued many philosophes, who identified with the fight against autocracy. (262) The program drew pause, however, from Louis XVI and his leading ministers, many of whom were titled aristocrats. As much as they all enjoyed the schadenfreude of the situation, some also criticized Paine's Common Sense for blaming King George III for problems that should, in fact, have been laid at the feet of the British people and their overreaching Parliament. One commentator, writing from inside the French Foreign Ministry, even tried to distinguish unlimited monarchy from absolute government by praising the former because a king, who embodied law, could modify that law in the interests of his subjects. In the latter, the law was king, meaning that everyone was at the mercy of a demagogic mob. (263) Paine, therefore, was mistaken: it was a revolution against representative government. (264)

In addition to ideological ambivalence, the French ministry did not want to wage war without Spanish assistance. (265) However, the Spanish court was reluctant to support colonial rebellion in the Americas because it might set a dangerous precedent for its own empire. (266) Viewed as an anti-monarchical and anti-colonial effort, the American Revolution was not an easy sell in European courts.

The Comte de Vergennes felt this ideological tension, but in the end, or rather, practically from the beginning, he decided that harming Britain was more important than preserving monarchy in North America. (267) He knew that others in the corridors of influence would need greater persuasion. (268) Thus, when Franklin arrived, Vergennes met him only in secret. (269) An open reception would have been too inflammatory and Vergennes had doubts about the states' intentions and capacity. He continued supporting Beaumarchais' supply effort, which took months to organize, but he and the rest of the ministry did not allow Franklin to run privateering operations out of French ports. Similarly, he tried to stop the enlistment of Frenchmen into the Continental Army, a delicate problem that rose to a high-level diplomatic concern when Silas Deane promised the Marquis de Lafayette a commission as major-general in that army. (270) Covert supply was quite different from welcoming armed American ships hauling in British prizes captured in European waters and sending aristocratic youth over to American battlefields. Besides the practical difference between covert aid and flagrant aggression, there was a legal difference: since the Anglo-French Treaty of Utrecht, France and Britain had agreed that neither side would allow enemies of the other to fit out privateers in their ports, nor would they permit enemies to bring in and sell prizes captured from the other. (271) In other words, using the legal language of the day, each would strive to remain perfectly neutral while the other was engaged in war, and that pledge was backed by treaty. When Franklin began issuing privateering commissions, and American ships started hauling British prizes into French ports, the ministry demanded that the ships leave and not return. (272) French merchants, of course, were willing to purchase the goods at a discount, and American captains sabotaged their own boats to avoid immediate expulsion. However, the French position hampered American efforts, frustrating Franklin (and setting the stage for an ironic role reversal fifteen years later). (273)

While Vergennes refused to recognize Franklin as an accredited diplomat, he granted him access to the crown's underground publishing machinery. Franklin drew upon his past career as a printer (from which he retired almost three decades earlier) to organize a publicity campaign for the United States centering on its foundational documents. The ministry financed and actually published many translations in Paris, though the title pages claimed that they were printed in Antwerp (outside France) to avoid official censors and not risk diplomatic incident by exposing royal support. One branch of government winked at another. Plausible deniability is all that kept Lord Stormont, the fuming British ambassador to Versailles, from breaking off official relations. (274) Central to the publicity campaign was Franklin's discreet relationship with Edme Jacques Genet, head of the Department of Interpretation in the Foreign Ministry, a similar position to undersecretary of state. Among other tasks, Genet directed the ministry's propaganda arm, the centerpiece of which--beginning in 1776--was a periodical entitled Affaires de I'Angleterre et de I'Amerique (Affaires) (275) Putatively edited by "a London banker," the main purpose of the Affaires was to identify embarrassments to Britain in its North American empire and publicize them across Europe. Tit for tat: the British government published the francophone Courier de I'Europe in Holland, for sale in the Lowlands and France. (276) The "banker" was likely the Duc de La Rochefoucauld, and Franklin handed him and Genet all the documents in the portfolio. (277)

Effectively the publisher of Franklin's compilations, Genet enlisted other translators as well. One was his young son, Edmond-Charles, who became the revolutionary French Republic's envoy to the United States fifteen years later and appealed over the head of President George Washington for American support of France in its war against Britain. (278) He recalled at that time that "it was I who had the privilege of helping to spread the spirit of 1776 and 1777 among the French, by translating into our tongue, under the direction of my father, then head of the bureau, the greater part of your laws and the writings of your politicians." (279) By the "greater part of your laws," Genet meant the state constitutions, the Articles, the Declaration, and the treaties. (280) After this youthful experience collaborating with Franklin to irritate the British, Genet fils never lost his belief in a transatlantic front in favor of progress. (281)

In addition to periodical publication, Franklin produced a stand-alone version of the portfolio, first published in 1778 and subsequently republished. (282) Along with the draft of the Articles of Confederation from October 1776, Franklin added the constitutions of six of the states that had written constitutions by the time he had sailed for France: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and South Carolina. (283) He also included Adams's Congressional Resolution of May 15, 1776, recommending that the states institute new governments, the Congressional Act of April 1776, opening American ports to all trade except with Britain (a declaration of independence from the imperial navigation acts), and Harvard's honorary doctorate for General Washington. (284) Finally, he included a census of the colonies, totaling more than three million inhabitants, as part of his ongoing argument that the center of civilization was bound to shift across the Atlantic. (285) According to the imprint, it was published in Philadelphia, though sold in Paris. (286) This obvious falsehood, along with a dedication to Franklin, was a telltale sign that the American commissioner was involved. (287)

The dedication drove home the claim that the portfolio represented a historic achievement. (288) "The laws I have assembled form one of the most beautiful monuments to human wisdom," exclaimed the editor, and they have created "the most pure democracy that has ever existed." (289) In short, although the portfolio had local and practical significance, it was also a landmark achievement in human progress. Both locally and philosophically, the portfolio embodied the Constitutional Enlightenment.

Conscious redesigning of government was not solely, or even originally, an American idea. French philosophes had increasingly defined the Enlightenment as political reform. To them, the American Revolution marked only the beginning of a transformation that would spread across the civilized world. "The independence of the Anglo-Americans is exactly the right event to accelerate the revolution that must spread happiness on earth[,]" wrote the Abbe Genty in the 1780s in response to an essay contest asking, "[h]as the discovery of America been useful or harmful to the human race?" (290) "In the bosom of this nascent republic lie," he continued, "the true treasures that will enrich the world." (291) From the perspective of Paris, the American Revolution was a world revolution and, in the words of Abbe Raynal, "transported us into a new century." (292)

Franklin did more than orchestrate the translation and publication of this bound copy of the portfolio. He, perhaps with the help of the other commissioners, added dozens of explanatory footnotes. (293) Most notes range from annotated keywords that were central to Anglo-American legal and political culture, but were difficult to translate conceptually into French, such as attainder, corruption of blood, equity, freeman, impeachment, and indictment. (294) Other notes explained brand new rights. One long footnote, for example, elaborated on constitutional protections for the freedom of religious worship. (295) Franklin appended the note to Article II of Pennsylvania's

Declaration of Rights, which declared that "[a]ll men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences." (296) In the note he postulated that "[l]a liberte de la Religion est de droit naturel dans la grande Republique des Nations": freedom of religion is a natural right in the great republic of nations. (297) He went on to note that the doctrine of freedom of worship had long protected the Quakers in Pennsylvania. Now, the doctrine was made permanent and universal, for all sects. (298) Franklin did not note the fact that some states, like Virginia, had preserved tax support for a single denomination at the same time that they declared that "all men are equally entitled to the free exercise of religion." (299) However, he did drop a note criticizing the article of New Jersey's Constitution that provided that "there shall be no establishment of any one religious sect" and that "no Protestant ... shall be denied the enjoyment of any civil right, merely on account of his religious principles." (300) The previous section of the New Jersey Constitution guaranteed the freedom of worship, without mentioning Protestantism or even Christianity, and it also prohibited the establishment (or tax support) of any denomination. (301) The next article then distinguished between the civil rights of Protestants and non-Protestants. (302) As Franklin noted, the article left Catholics vulnerable to discrimination in their civil and political rights. (303) He concluded that "[l]a Constitution de Pensylvanie a ete plus juste & plus impartiale." (304)

A campaign organized with the help of a duke and an undersecretary of state would not emphasize the anti-monarchical and anti-colonial aspects of the American project. Instead, a revolution in the rights of man and government, inspired by and furthering Enlightenment principles, made for a more attractive case than one against all kings and for the sole benefit of the American people. (305) Franklin immediately went to work to show the French that the states were not simply republican and rebellious, but also civilized and modern. They were on the vanguard of European political culture, but still very much within it. Rights, therefore, figured large in his presentation, as did the experiments with governmental structure--both within the states and among them in the Confederation. The state constitutions were published more frequently and with greater notice than the Declaration of Independence; the Articles of Confederation were popular too. Presenting the turbulent events as evidence of civilization's progress was a good match of character and role. The French already thought of Franklin as one of nature's noblemen: learned, inventive, and self-made. A man who began life as a printer's apprentice and now claimed a spot at Versailles was playing a role in a tale almost everyone wanted to believe. (306)

Franklin regaled his hosts with descriptions of the new American institutions. He also presented the portfolio to foreign ministers and envoys from across Europe as part of the American Commissioners' credentials. (307) The documents themselves were the first reliable reports of governmental behavior in the revolutionary states (stylized reports of course) and ones that even Franklin and the rest of the commissioners could not elaborate much upon because they too had limited information about what was transpiring at home. (308) News took at least five or six weeks to reach Paris from America. Consequently, the portfolio was, for a while, the only source of information for European observers. During his fourth month in Paris, Franklin reported the following to the Continental Congress:

   All Europe is for us. Our Articles of Confederation being by our
   means translated and published here, have given an appearance of
   consistence and firmness to the American States and Government that
   begins to make them considerable. The separate constitutions of the
   several States are also translating and publishing here, which
   afford abundance of speculation to the politicians of Europe, and
   it is a very general opinion that if we succeed in establishing our
   liberties, we shall, as soon as peace is restored, receive an
   immense addition of numbers and wealth from Europe, by the families
   who will come over to participate in our privileges, and bring
   their estates with them. Tyranny is so generally established in the
   rest of the world, that the prospect of an asylum in America for
   those who love liberty, gives general joy, and our cause is
   esteemed the cause of all mankind. Slaves naturally become base, as
   well as wretched. We are fighting for the dignity and happiness of
   human nature. Glorious is it for the Americans to be called by
   Providence to this post of honor. Cursed and detested will every
   one be that deserts or betrays it. (309)

Soon after, in a letter to Samuel Cooper in May 1777, Franklin emphasized:

   [T]hey read the Translations of our separate Colony Constitutions
   with Rapture, and there are such Numbers every where who talk of
   Removing to America.... Hence 'Tis a Common Observation here that
   our Cause is the Cause of all Mankind; and that we are fighting for
   their Liberty in defending our own. (310)

Franklin laid it on, but there was something behind it all. A Swiss translator gushed that he proposed "to publicize these beautiful laws, not only to my country, but also to Germany and Italy, the translation for the latter country will be done before my eyes, and I will do the German translation myself; no one would be able to do so with more attention and zeal." (311)

Franklin also contributed some original essays to the Affaires. One example is a narrative of a Hessian prisoner of war in Pennsylvania, who paradoxically celebrated his newfound freedom behind American lines. According to the narrative, he became a self-supporting farmer. Another piece compared what passed for trade statistics at the time and forecast the decline of British commerce and concomitant rise of the states'. The message was plain: America was the better bet. (312) Franklin developed the theme as the war ended and reports of American state defaults and abuses of foreign-creditors' rights reached Europe. Despite the new stream of negative news, he maintained his belief that Europeans should, and would, seek refuge in the free air of America. In his Information to Those Who Would Remove to America, Franklin extolled the climate of opportunity in the states, maintaining that "people do not enquire concerning a Stranger, What is he? but What can he do?" (313) The self-made Franklin believed this, and French intellectuals critical of the Ancien Regime wanted to believe that such a place existed too. These aspirations related to the project of Constitutional Enlightenment---breaking down civil and political privileges and redesigning government--but they also pointed in an even more radical direction. In France and elsewhere in Europe, Franklin's stylized picture of American politics and social structure raised the question of loyalty to the Ancien Regime. He counseled exit. Many disgruntled Frenchmen would respond instead with their voices, and eventually with more than that. (314)

Recognition came in fact, if not in law, with the signing of the two Franco-American treaties in early February 1778: the Treaty of Alliance and the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. (315) American success at the Battle of Saratoga played a role, as did France's gradual preparation for war. (316) Despite Britain's claim that the revolutionaries remained rebels, France's legal argument was that the states had proved they possessed sovereignty. (317) Britain treated the recognition as essentially a declaration of war by France, which in practice it was. (318) In response to Britain's accusation that France was interfering with an internal dispute and violating its navigation acts (by the Treaty of Commerce), the French invoked an example from the three-generation struggle for Dutch independence from Spain: Britain itself had made a treaty with the Netherlands in 1585, before Spanish recognition. (319) In addition, France claimed that the states were effectively independent by 1778--not by mere declaration, but as a matter of fact--and it noted that prisoner exchanges between Britain and the states indicated that Britain had begun to observe the laws of war, thus signaling its own recognition that it was involved in an international, and not a municipal, conflict. (320) War between Britain and France was inevitable.

After signing the treaties and becoming an accredited diplomat, Franklin stopped working with the underground press to publicize the American cause. (321) Now he focused on formal diplomacy and the salons. (322) The American publicity effort, however, did not end with the signing of the treaties. In Britain and on the continent, the British countered American efforts with their own publicity in which they trumpeted American duplicity and ineffectiveness, and most insidiously, spread rumors that the states were about to make peace and reconcile with the Empire. (323) British propaganda so dismayed John Adams--then in Paris as one of the commissioners--that he was left to wonder whether it was because "[the Art of political Lying] is better understood in England than in [any other Country, or] whether it is more practiced there than [elsewhere, or whether it] is accidental that they have more Success [in making their Fictions] gain Credit in the World." (324) In any case, Adams came to appreciate the importance of counter-intelligence and renewed the American connection with Genet to publish articles detailing American naval and diplomatic successes. When Adams went to the Netherlands to negotiate a loan in 1780, he kept the effort going there, publishing pro-American stories in Dutch periodicals that circulated throughout Europe. (325)

Even as the war turned in the American direction, British propaganda did not relent. If anything, stories of American political inefficacy increased. To counter the growing belief that the states were failing as republican governments, Franklin produced a 540-page compilation of the portfolio in 1783. The template for this volume came from Congress itself. During the winter of 1780-1781--the darkest period of the Revolution, as battles were lost, funds dried up, and Continental paper money inflated--Congress printed 200 copies of the portfolio. (326) This volume included the thirteen state constitutions, the final version of the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, and, instead of the Model Treaty, the Franco-American treaties of alliance and amity. (327) The purpose evidently was to rally support at home, because Congress said nothing about sending volumes overseas or translating it abroad.

When Franklin received a copy, he took it upon himself to translate it into French at his own expense, though he later requested reimbursement. This was the most challenging period of his diplomatic career, as he continually sought new funds and military aid without the ability to repay what Congress already owed. The force of his personality, however, was no small part of the reason why Louis XVI and Vergennes remained committed to the alliance. (328) Franklin republished the volume in whole and added the recent Dutch (1782) and Swedish (1783) treaties of commerce. (329) As in his last compilation, he added footnotes explaining keywords and concepts possibly unfamiliar to European readers. (330) A nice example of a new note was his explanation of the articles in New York's Constitution (1777) that adopted "such parts of the common law of England, and of the statute law of England and Great Britain ... as together did form the law of the said colony" at the outbreak of the Revolution. (331) For readers unfamiliar with English common law and statute, he explained that the term "common law" corresponded to the "Droit Coutumier" in French law, and "statutes" were the law made by the legislature after that body had been regularized. (332) Probably of greater interest to his French audience was the first footnote in the new volume, which explained that a "convention" was a special gathering of the people's representatives, separate from the ordinary legislature. (333) This idea was of increasing importance within the states and attractive to people in France skeptical of their Parlement. (334)

By the time of its publication, Franklin was negotiating the Treaty of Peace. The battle over the meaning of the American experiment, however, was far from over. British reports of misgovernment were damaging the states' reputation--a cold war had begun--and Congress's inability to meet periodic payments on its foreign debt was dampening commercial negotiations with the rest of Europe. (335) As Franklin reported to the president of the Continental Congress in late 1783:

   The extravagant Misrepresentations of our Political State, in
   foreign Countries, made it appear necessary to give them better
   Information, which I thought could not be more effectually and
   authentically done than by publishing a Translation into French,
   now the most general Language in Europe, of the Book of
   Constitutions which had been printed by Order of Congress. (336)

He gave two copies to every ambassador in Paris: one for each minister and another, bound more elegantly, for their sovereign. Now the portfolio was no longer just a weapon of direct diplomacy to gain alliance and assistance. It had become a form of news reporting intended to counter other intelligence flowing across Europe. One purpose was to facilitate treaties with "Foreign Courts, who could not before know what kind of Government and People they had to treat with." (337) Another was Franklin's decades old obsession with the peopling of North America: the portfolio itself would "promote the Emigration to our Country of substantial People from all Parts of Europe." (338) While requesting reimbursement for publication costs, he added that the book "has been well taken, and has afforded Matter of Surprise to many, who had conceived mean Ideas of the State of Civilization in America, and could not have expected so much political Knowledge and Sagacity had existed in our Wilderness." (339) The new volume became the talk of many salons. What made it "particularly a Matter of Wonder," reported Franklin, was that "in the Midst of a cruel War raging in the Bowels of our Country, our Sages should have the firmness of Mind to sit down calmly and form such compleat [sic] Plans of Government. They add considerably to the Reputation of the United States." (340) That was the portfolio's effect, if not its entire purpose.

Before peace, though, the war had to be won. Here, the Articles of Confederation--the document itself--proved crucial. Long after the other twelve states had ratified the Articles, Maryland held out. It was afraid Congress would not be able to persuade all the states to release their western land claims deriving from their overlapping colonial charters. There was tension between land-rich states like Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Virginia, and land-poor states, whose original charters gave them no claim to the west. Speculators from those other states had, however, purchased land rights directly from the Indians or from those who had done so. Vindicating those Indian-title claims required, first, disproving the preemptive claims of other state governments. Maryland was land-poor and speculator-rich; some of those speculators sat in the state's legislature. They did not want to ratify the Articles of Confederation until they were sure that the land-rich states would cede their claims. That would not guarantee their own titles, but it would knock off competitors' claims based on state patents.

What made Maryland finally come around in early 1781? The Chevalier de la Luzerne, French minister-plenipotentiary to America, personally pleaded with an active land speculator and member of the Maryland Assembly to ratify the Articles of Confederation in order to give France the confidence it needed at a critical moment in what had become an unexpectedly long war. (341) France had requested that the treaties of alliance and commerce of 1778 be made between itself and all of the thirteen states, not Congress, which was not yet invested with the formal powers of a confederation. (342) Three years later, that was still true. By then, France had committed ground troops to the effort, and, in one last bold attempt to win the American war, was planning to sail its navy up the Chesapeake Bay (inland waters surrounded mostly by the independent state of Maryland), while marching troops down from the north. But was Maryland really part of the collective effort? French scruples on the point reflect a degree of legal formalism: the law of nations required consent before one sovereign nation moved its military through the territory of another. (343) Some Marylanders also pointed to the confidence that ratification would give Europeans who were deciding whether to lend the states more money for supplies.

It was amidst this fraught scenario that Luzerne persuaded the speculator, who on principle refused to vote for ratification, to withdraw quite publicly from the state's legislative session, thereby signaling to his allies that a favorable vote would not be held against them. With the opposition's ringleader absent, Maryland ratified, new loans came, and the French navy sailed up the Chesapeake, cutting off supplies to Lord Cornwallis, who was thereby forced to surrender at the battle of Yorktown in October 1781. The British army was not crushed. It was stranded, with supplies dwindling and no way to escape to the sea. Not only had the war turned. Suddenly it was all but over.


From the beginning, American constitution-making was enmeshed in diplomacy. The four foundational documents in the revolutionary portfolio were written at least in part (recall Adams's list of nine reasons why the colonies should institute new governments), and publicized abroad almost entirely, to persuade Europeans to support, trade with, lend money to, emigrate to, and even fight for the United States. (344) The portfolio also expressed a vision of interstate relations, both locally and internationally, that drew on Enlightenment ideas about how to promote peace through governmental structure. The portfolio was hardly sufficient cause for that support. However, it was a necessary part of the case that was made--and the audience responded. At least, influential French decision-makers were impressed.

Most influential Britons, however, were less impressed. The United States's success during the Revolution and their liberal constitutions did bolster Lord Shelburne's opposition party, which won power in early 1782 and ended the war, believing all the while in the long-term complementarity of American and British interests. (345) However, the failed implementation of the Treaty of Peace in the 1780s revealed the portfolio's limitations. In the rush of revolutionary events, there was little thought about how to guarantee that the new states would perform all the international duties that went along with independence. The state constitutions, for example, did not commit the states structurally to enforce treaties, and the Confederation Congress similarly lacked independent power to implement treaties. These failings persuaded many Britons that the political systems of the states were full of vice. Indeed, British complaints were a central resource for the so-called "critical period" diagnosis of American politics in the 1780s. The significant innovation of the federal Constitution of 1787 was the drafters' realization that they had to structure internal American governance, at the federal and state level, in ways that would induce and even force both governments to adhere to treaties and comply with core principles of the law of nations. (346) Nevertheless, the desire to join the wider world and to use constitutions as diplomatic instruments to facilitate integration was there from the beginning.

(1.) Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams (Apr. 12, 1776), in Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, MASS. HIST. SOC., 760412ja_1.

(2.) See generally PAULINE MAIER, RATIFICATION: THE PEOPLE DEBATE THE CONSTITUTION, 1787-1788 (2010) (setting forth recent account of federal constitution-making).

(3.) See U.S. CONST. art. I, [section][section] 2-3, art. II, [section] 1, art. III, [section] 1 (requiring citizenship for offices of President, Senators, and Representatives, though not judicial officials). Legislation required the same for some federally created institutions such as the board of directors of the Bank of the United States. See An Act to Incorporate the Subscribers to the Bank of the United States, ch. 10, [section] 7(III), 1 Stat 191, 193 (1791).

(4.) See generally GEORGE ATHAN BILLIAS, AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM HEARD ROUND THE WORLD, 1776-1989: A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE (2009) (recounting reception of American constitutionalism in Europe and Latin America); Zachary ELKINS ET AL., The ENDURANCE OF NATIONAL CONSTITUTIONS (2009) (attempting to quantify diffusion of constitutional provisions as part of ongoing comparative-constitutions project).

(5.) See generally Mark Tushnet, Constitution, in THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL LAW 217 (Michel Rosenfeld & Andras Sajo eds., 2012) (exploring whether constitutions autochthonous).

(6.) THE FEDERALIST NO. 1, at 3 (Alexander Hamilton) (Jacob E. Cooke ed., 1961).

(7.) See DAN EDELSTEIN, THE ENLIGHTENMENT: A GENEALOGY 1-3 (2010) (arguing self-consciously scientific approach to society as distinguishing feature of eighteenth-century Enlightenment). The classic interpretation of the Enlightenment posits a more unitary conception. See generally ERNST CASSIRER, THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT (1951). It has also been argued that the Enlightenment should be viewed as plural enlightenments. See J. G. A. Pocock, The Re-description of Enlightenment, in 125 PROCEEDINGS OF THE BRITISH ACADEMY 101, 105 (P.J. Marshall ed., 2004) ("[Enlightenment] bears a richness and diversity of meanings that cannot be embraced within any single formula with the definite article prefixed to it."); see also J. G. A. POCOCK, 1 BARBARISM AND RELIGION, THE ENLIGHTENMENTS OF EDWARD GIBBON, 1737-1764, at 9 (1999) (criticizing unitary concept of Enlightenment).

(8.) See generally David M. Golove & Daniel J. Hulsebosch, A Civilized Nation: The Early American Constitution, the Law of Nations, and the Pursuit of International Recognition, 85 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 932 (2010); see also DANIEL J. HULSEBOSCH, CONSTITUTING EMPIRE: NEW YORK AND THE TRANSFORMATION OF CONSTITUTIONALISM IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD, 1664-1830, at 215-17 (2005) [hereinafter HULSEBOSCH, CONSTITUTING EMPIRE]; Daniel J. Hulsebosch, A Discrete and Cosmopolitan Minority: The Loyalists, the Atlantic World, and the Origins of Judicial Review, 81 CHI.-KENT L. Rev. 825 (2006) [hereinafter Hulsebosch, A Discrete and Cosmopolitan Minority].

(9.) See generally Charles F. Hobson, The Recovery of British Debts in the Federal Circuit Court of Virginia, 1790 to 1797, 92 VA. MAG. OF HIST. & BIOGRAPHY 176 (1984); Wythe Holt, The Origins of Alienage Jurisdiction, 14 OKLA. CITY U. L. Rev. 547 (1989); Wythe Holt, "To Establish Justice": Politics, the Judiciary Act of 1789, and the Invention of the Federal Courts, 1989 DUKE L.J. 1421 (1989).

(10.) In a typical formulation, James Wilson wrote: "'The general principle,' says Burlamaqui, 'of the law of nations, is nothing more than the general law of sociability, which obliges nations to the same duties as are prescribed to individuals.'" James Wilson, The Works of the Honourable James Wilson, L.L.D., CONST. SOC.,


(12.) Cf. Charles Tilly, Reflections on the History of European State-Making, in THE FORMATION OF NATIONAL STATES IN WESTERN EUROPE 42 (Charles Tilly ed., 1975) ("War made the state, and the state made war"). See generally JOHN BREWER, THE SINEWS OF POWER: WAR, MONEY, AND THE ENGLISH STATE, 1688-1783 (1989) (applying this model to eighteenth-century Britain); MAX M. EDLING, A REVOLUTION IN FAVOR OF GOVERNMENT: ORIGINS OF THE U.S. CONSTITUTION AND THE MAKING OF THE AMERICAN STATE (2003) (applying model to early United States); CHARLES TILLY, COERCION, CAPITAL, AND EUROPEAN STATES: AD 990-1992 (1992) (developing this conception of state-building).

(13.) See generally SEYMOUR MARTIN LIPSET, THE FIRST NEW NATION: THE UNITED STATES IN HISTORICAL AND COMPARATIVE PERSPECTIVE (1979); RICHARD B. MORRIS, THE EMERGING NATIONS AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1970), for argument that the early United States can usefully be viewed as a developing nation, rather than an inchoate superpower.

(14.) See Golove & Hulsebosch, supra note 8, at Part I.D (discussing Federalist vision of American participation in Atlantic World).

(15.) See infra 184-200 and accompanying text.

(16.) See infra notes 95-106 and accompanying text.

(17.) See Billias, supra note 4; AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM ABROAD: SELECTED ESSAYS IN COMPARATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY (George A. Billias ed., 1990). See CONSTITUTIONALISM AND RIGHTS: THE INFLUENCE OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION ABROAD (Louis Henkin & Albert Rosenthal eds., 1990), for scholarly attempts to trace the influence of American constitutions on constitution-making and revolutions elsewhere after the founding. See Billias, supra note 4, specifically, for an excellent recent example that identifies a documentary constitutionalism, including six documents that had international influence: the Declaration of Independence, the state constitutions, the Articles of Confederation, the federal Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and the Bill of Rights. Instead, this project seeks to examine the international dimensions of foundational American documents during the founding itself. See generally ELIGA H. GOULD, AMONG THE POWERS OF THE EARTH: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE MAKING OF A NEW WORLD EMPIRE (2012) (discussing American quest for "treaty-worthiness"); LEONARD J. SADOSKY, REVOLUTIONARY NEGOTIATIONS: INDIANS, EMPIRES, AND DIPLOMATS IN THE FOUNDING OF AMERICA (2010) (offering insightful analysis of federal constitution-making as designed to solve diplomatic problems, especially with indian nations).

(18.) VATTEL, THE LAW OF NATIONS, bk. 1, [section][section] 27, 28. Many revolutionaries read this eighteenth-century treatise on the law of nations. Benjamin Franklin and other members of the Continental Congress, at least, read Vattel during the heady early days of the Revolution. See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Charles-Guillaume-Frederic Dumas (Dec. 9, 1775), available at 01-22-02-0172. In December 1775, Franklin thanked Dumas for sending three copies of his recent French edition of Vattel, which Dumas edited and had printed in Amsterdam, stating:

   It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising
   state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations.
   Accordingly, that copy which I kept, (after depositing one in our
   own public library here [in Philadelphia], and sending the other to
   the college of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed) has been
   continually in the hands of the members of our congress, now
   sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have
   entertained a high and just esteem for their author.

Id. (footnote omitted); see also Letter from Charles-Guillaume-Frederic Dumas to Benjamin Franklin (June 30, 1775), available at; Charles G. Fenwick, The Authority of Vattel, 7 Am. Pol. Sci. REV. 395 (1913) (explaining Vattel's influence).

(19.) VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 1, [section][section] 29, 37. In the fall of 1775, when Congress debated a resolution to guide South Carolina revolutionaries as they sought advice about organizing their government, John Adams "laboured afresh to expunge the Word Colony and Colonies, and insert the Words States and State, and the Word Dispute to make Way for that of War, and the Word Colonies for the Word America or States. But the Child was not yet weaned." JOHN ADAMS, Autobiography of John Adams, in 3 DIARY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ADAMS 358 (L.H. Butterfield et al. eds., 1961); cf. J. R. Pole, The Politics of the Word 'State' and its Relation to American Sovereignty, 8 PARLIAMENTS, EST. & REPRESENTATION 1, 8 (1988) (noting citizens' loyalty to individual states prior to federal Constitution).

(20.) See VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 1, [section] 214 ("It is from the constitution of each state that we are to learn who are the persons, and what is the power, entitled to contract in the name of the state, to exercise the supreme authority, and to pronounce on what the public welfare requires.").

(21.) See generally OSCAR HANDLIN & MARY HANDLIN, THE POPULAR SOURCES OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY: DOCUMENTS ON THE MASSACHUSETTS CONSTITUTION OF 1780 (1966) (setting forth classic study of local sources of state constitution-making).

   The process of devising a new constitution for Massachusetts
   therefore partook of the nature of a dialogue between the
   representatives in Boston who framed the proposals and the citizens
   in their towns who gave or withheld their consent. The interchange
   provided the means for expressing shared assumptions about the
   polity of a free society.

Id. at 19. Much of the local debates about constitution-making in the states centered on representation: whether legislators should represent jurisdictions, like towns and counties, or individuals, and whether or to what extent there should be property qualifications for voters and officeholders. See generally WILLI PAUL ADAMS, THE FIRST AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONS: REPUBLICAN IDEOLOGY AND THE MAKING OF THE STATE CONSTITUTIONS IN THE REVOLUTIONARY ERA (2001); J. R. POLE, POLITICAL REPRESENTATION IN ENGLAND AND THE ORIGINS OF THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC (1966).

(22.) Cf. OSCAR HANDLIN & MARY HANDLIN, THE DIMENSIONS OF LIBERTY (1961) (distinguishing ancient and modern constitutionalism by contrasting mere institutional description with aspirational and constraining prescription); CHARLES HOWARD MCILWAIN, CONSTITUTIONALISM: ANCIENT AND MODERN (1940) (outlining similar distinction).


(24.) See generally DONALD S. LUTZ, THE ORIGINS OF AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONALISM (1988) (emphasizing colonial tradition of governmental charters and written statements of rights).

(25.) Compare id., and Benjamin F. Wright, Jr., The Early History of Written Constitutions in America, in ESSAYS IN HISTORY AND POLITICAL THEORY IN HONOR OF CHARLES HOWARD MCILWAIN 344-71 (1936) (offering traditional interpretations linking "writtenness" to colonial charters), with ALLAN NEVINS, THE AMERICAN STATES DURING AND AFTER THE REVOLUTION, 1775-1789, at 158-59 (1924) (discussing New York's "government on the run").

(26.) See generally 1 JOURNALS OF THE PROVINCIAL CONGRESS, PROVINCIAL CONVENTION, COMMITTEE OF SAFETY AND COUNCIL OF SAFETY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, 1775-1776-1777 (1842). The states printed thousands of copies of their new constitution at home. For example, immediately upon adopting the state constitution in April 1777, the New York Provincial Convention ordered the printing of 3000 copies of the document and authorized its secretary to "give gratuities to the printer and his workmen, at his discretion, to obtain despatch [sic], and that the printer be directed to lay aside all other business." Id. at 898.


(28.) See DAVID C. HENDRICKSON, PEACE PACT: THE LOST WORLD OF THE AMERICAN FOUNDING 47-48 (2003) (describing Swiss and Dutch influence on Articles of Confederation); ALISON L. LACROIX, THE IDEOLOGICAL ORIGINS OF AMERICAN FEDERALISM 105-31 (2010) (analyzing development of confederal conceptions of power in late colonial and revolutionary thought). John Adams invoked ancient and modern confederacies, including the Dutch and Swiss, as models as early as June 1775. See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 352 (invoking confederate model of government).

(29.) See infra note 155 and accompanying text (explaining treatment of Declaration of Independence as declaration of war).

(30.) See infra note 194-99 and accompanying text (describing drafting of Model Treaty).

(31.) See Golove & Hulsebosch, supra note 8, at 937-98, for the interplay among these interests.

(32.) See generally THE FEDERALIST, supra note 6 (discussing choices in constitution-making). As Alexander Hamilton said:

   [I]t seems to have been reserved to the people of this country, by
   their conduct and example, to decide the important question,
   whether societies of men are really capable or not of establishing
   good government from reflection and choice, or whether they are
   forever destined to depend for their political constitutions on
   accident and force.

Id. at 3.

(33.) See Golove & Hulsebosch, supra note 8 (describing reputational mechanism behind constitutional innovation in 1780s).

(34.) See infra note 192, for a discussion of the Bowood Circle around Lord Shelburne, the British prime minister who negotiated the Treaty of Peace in 1782.

(35.) Adams, supra note 19, at 351.

(36.) Id.


(38.) Adams, supra note 19, at 352.

(39.) See generally BERNHARD KNOLLENBERG, GROWTH OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION, 1766-1775 (1975), for a discussion of the Massachusetts Government and Boston Port Acts of 1774.

(40.) ADAMS, supra note 19, at 353-54.

(41.) Id. at 354.

(42.) Id.

   But what Plan of a Government, would you advise? A Plan as nearly
   resembling the Governments under which We were born and have lived
   as the Circumstances of the Country will admit. Kings We never had
   among Us, Nobles We never had. Nothing hereditary ever existed in
   the Country: Nor will the Country require or admit of any such
   Thing: but Governors, and Councils We have always had as Well as
   Representatives. A Legislature in three Branches ought to be
   preserved, and independent Judges.

Id. at 356.

(43.) Id. at 354.

(44.) See HULSEBOSCH, CONSTITUTING EMPIRE, supra note 8, at 148-55 (discussing committee government in early Revolution); RICHARD R. BEEMAN, OUR LIVES, OUR FORTUNES AND OUR SACRED HONOR: THE Forging of American Independence, 1774-1776, at 282-85 (2013) (examining requests of New Hampshire and South Carolina). See generally, PAULINE MAIER, FROM RESISTANCE TO REVOLUTION: COLONIAL RADICALS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF AMERICAN OPPOSITION TO BRITAIN, 1765-1776 (1973) (explicating legitimatization of extra-legal committee government).

(45.) See David D. Hall, Learned Culture in the Eighteenth Century, in 1 A HISTORY OF THE BOOK IN AMERICA: THE COLONIAL BOOK IN THE ATLANTIC WORLD 418 (Hugh Amory & David D. Hall eds., 1999), for a discussion of colonial literacy.

(46.) VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 3, [section] 294 (distinguishing between insurrection and civil war). "[I]t is very evident that the common laws of war,--those maxims of humanity, moderation, and honour, which we have already detailed in the course of this work,--ought to be observed by both parties in every civil war." Id.

   [W]hen the bands of the political society are broken, or at least
   suspended, between the sovereign and his people, the contending
   parties may then be considered as two distinct powers; and, since
   they are both equally independent of all foreign authority, nobody
   has a right to judge them. Either may be in the right; and each of
   those who grant their assistance may imagine that he is acting in
   support of the better cause. It follows, then in virtue of the
   voluntary law of nations, that the two parties may act as having an
   equal right, and behave to each other accordingly till the decision
   of the affair.

VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 2, [section] 56.


(48.) See generally STEPHEN C. NEFF, WAR AND THE LAW OF NATIONS: A GENERAL HISTORY (2005), for a broad overview.

(49.) See id. at 114-15, 193.

(50.) See WILHELM G. GREWE, THE EPOCHS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 183-97 (Michael Byers trans., 2000). Spain signed an armistice with the United Provinces in 1609, but did not formally recognize independence until a treaty in 1648. See id. at 183-85.

(51.) Letter from Lord Stormont to Lord Weymouth (Apr. 10, 1777), in 15 B.F. STEVENS'S FACSIMILES OF MANUSCRIPTS IN EUROPEAN ARCHIVES RELATING TO AMERICA, 1773-1783, at 387 (1892).

(52.) See id. at 523-30 (referring to American pirates). As late as January 1781, Congress continued to complain about the asymmetrical treatment of prisoners, "a conduct so contrary to the law of nations," observing that:

   [Notwithstanding every effort of Congress to obtain for our people,
   prisoners in the hands of the enemy, that treatment which humanity
   alone should have dictated, the British commanders, unmindful of
   the tenderness exercised towards their men, prisoners in our hands,
   and regardless of the practice of civilized nations, have persisted
   in treating our people, prisoners to them, with every species of
   insult, outrage and cruelty.

19 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, at 27 (Gaillard Hunt, Library of Cong. 1912); see LARRY G. BOWMAN, CAPTIVE AMERICANS: PRISONERS DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 1-6 (1976) (describing treatment of Americans in British prisons); EDWIN G. BURROWS, FORGOTTEN PATRIOTS: THE UNTOLD STORY OF AMERICAN PRISONERS DURING THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR 55-57 (2008) (exploring treatment of Americans captured and held on floating hulks off New York City); SHELDON S. COHEN, YANKEE SAILORS IN BRITISH GAOLS: PRISONERS OF WAR AT FORTON AND MILL, 1777-1783, at 55-65 (1995) (detailing treatment in British prisons of about 3000 sailors captured on American privateers); Gould, supra note 17, at 114-18 (describing soldiers as rebels); JOHN FABIAN WITT, LINCOLN'S CODE: THE LAWS OF WAR IN AMERICAN HISTORY 21-23 (2012) (explaining how British viewed captured solders as traitors).

(53.) See Benjamin Franklin & Silas Deane, The American Commissioners to the Committee of Secret Correspondence (Mar. 12-Apr. 9, 1777), available at o%20the%20committee%20of%20secret%20correspondence%22&s= 1111311111&sa=&r=7&sr= (requesting exchange of American for British prisoners and then referring to ambassador's "insolent answer"). When Franklin asked the British Ambassador to France to exchange prisoners in early 1777, the ambassador responded: "the King's Ministers received no Applications from Rebels, unless when they came to implore his Majesty's Clemency." Letter from Benjamin Franklin to David Hartley (Feb. 16, 1782), available at 14 0&sr=; see Letter from The American Commissioners to Lord Stormont (Feb. 23, 1777), available at %22%20&s=1111311111&sa=&r=1&sr=.

(54.) ADAMS, supra note 19, at 338.

(55.) See C.H. Alexandrowicz, The Theory of Recognition In Fieri, 34 BRIT. Y.B. INT'L L. 176, 183 (1958) (discussing need for parent state recognition); see also MIKULAS FABRY, RECOGNIZING STATES: INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY AND THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NEW STATES SINCE 1776, at 25-26 (2010).

   Though state recognition was not a well-defined practice at the
   time [i.e., the late eighteenth century]--one had to reach for
   precedents all the way back to the acknowledgment of the Dutch
   Republic, Switzerland, and Portugal in the mid-seventeenth
   century--there was a distinct sense it would be against the
   existing state rights to acknowledge sovereignty of a country's
   territory prior to that country's renunciation thereof.

FABRY, supra, at 25-26 (footnote omitted).

(56.) See Alexandrowicz, supra note 55, at 183 (quoting JOHANN CHRISTIAN WILHELM VON STECK, VERSUCHE UBER VERSCHIEDENE MATERIEN POLITISCHER UND RECHTLICHER KENNTNISSE (1783)) ("One can hardly think of a more serious offence than that of declaring a people which abandons its mother State and tears itself away from it as absolved of its obligations and of recognising [sic] such a people free and independent."). Soon afterwards, there was a modest liberalization of these rules amongst some law-of-nations writers. See id. at 184-85 (discussing Martens, Kluber, and Wheaton, and newer theories of "defacto" and "constitutive" recognition).

(57.) The Netherlands example--defiance for decades, de facto sovereignty, and commercial relations with other nations before Spain's recognition--might have offered a precedent, but the revolutionaries rarely invoked it. See DAVID ARMITAGE, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: A GLOBAL HISTORY 43-47 (2007) (noting dissimilarity and few references to Dutch independence in early years of American Revolution). John Adams invoked the precedent when asking the Netherlands for a loan sometime between the years 1781-1782, but not apparently before that time. See John Adams, Memorial to the States General (Apr. 19, 1781), available at 1111311111&sa=&r=5&sr=.

   The Originals of the two Republicks are so much alike, that the
   History of one seems but a Transcript from that of the other: so
   that every Dutchman, instructed in the Subject, must pronounce the
   American Revolution just and necessary, or pass a Censure upon the
   greatest Actions of his immortal Ancestors; Actions which have been
   approved and applauded by Mankind, and justified by the Decision of

Id. The French, on the other hand, did raise the Dutch precedent when justifying its treaties with the United States to Britain. See infra note 317 and accompanying text.

(58.) ADAMS, supra note 19, at 355.

   1. The danger of the Morals of the People, from the present loose
   State of Things and general relaxation of Laws and Government
   through the Union. 2. The danger of Insurrections in some of the
   most disaffected parts of the Colonies, in favour of the Enemy or
   as they called them, the Mother Country, an expression that I
   thought it high time to erase out of our Language. 3.
   Communications and Intercourse with the Ennemy [sic], from various
   parts of the Continent could not be wholly prevented, while any of
   the Powers of Government remained, in the hands of the Kings
   servants. 4. It could not well be considered as a Crime to
   communicate Intelligence, or to Act as Spies or Guides to the
   Ennemy [sic], without assuming all the Powers of Government. 5. The
   People of America, would never consider our Union as compleat
   [sic], but our Friends would always suspect divisions among Us, and
   our Ennemies [sic] who were scattered in larger or smaller Numbers
   not only in every State and City, but in every Village through the
   whole Union, would forever represent Congress as divided, and ready
   to break to pieces, and in this Way would intimidate and discourage
   multitudes of our People who wished Us well. 6. The Absurdity of
   carrying on War, against a King, When so many Persons were daily
   taking Oaths and Affirmations of Allegeance [sic] to him. 7. We
   could not expect that our Friends in Great Britain would believe Us
   United and in earnest, or exert themselves very strenuously in our
   favour, while We acted such a wavering hesitating Part. 8. Foreign
   Nations particularly France and Spain would not think Us worthy of
   their Attention, while We appeared to be deceived by such
   fallacious hopes of redress of Grievances, of pardon for our
   Offences, and of Reconciliation with our Enemies. 9. We could not
   command the natural Resources of our own Country; We could not
   establish Manufactories of Arms, Cannon, Salt Petre, Powder, Ships
   &c. Without the Powers of Government, and all these and many other
   preparations ought to be going on in every State or Colony, if you
   will, in the Country.


(59.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 355 (setting forth John Adams' reasons).

(60.) See id.

(61.) See id.

(62.) See HULSEBOSCH, CONSTITUTING EMPIRE, supra note 8, at 148-55, on the functional imperative behind state constitution-making.

(63.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 355.

(64.) See generally Neil L. York, Imperial Impotence: Treason in 1774 Massachusetts, 29 LAW & HIST. REV. 657 (2011).

(65.) See Anne M. Ousterhout, Pennsylvania Land Confiscations During the Revolution, 102 PENN MAG. HIST. & BIOGRAPHY 328, 334-35 (1978) (stating proceeds from confiscation used to reduce taxes, fund endowments, and compensate soldiers); see also JOHN P. KAMINSKI, GEORGE CLINTON: YEOMAN POLITICIAN OF THE NEW REPUBLIC 78 (1993) (stating wartime economy pushed legislature to sell Tory property); ERNEST WILDER SPAULDING, HIS EXCELLENCY GEORGE CLINTON: CRITIC OF THE CONSTITUTION 123 (1938) (noting loyalist land sales provided funds for state). See generally HARRY B. YOSHPE, THE DISPOSITION OF LOYALIST ESTATES IN THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK (1939).

(66.) See John Phillip Reid, Review of "The American Law of Treason: Revolutionary and Early National Origins," by Bradley Chapin, 1965 WASH. U. L. 152, 154 (1965) ("Prosecution for treason ... may constitute the ultimate legal claim to sovereignty.").

(67.) See Adams, supra note 19, at 355.

(68.) See id.


(70.) 3 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 319 (alteration in original).

(71.) See N.H. Const. of 1776.


(73.) See JOHN ADAMS, Diary of John Adams, in 2 DIARY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ADAMS 231 (L.H. Butterfield et al. eds., 1961).

(74.) See id.

(75.) See id.

(76.) See id.

(77.) See Adams, supra note 73, at 231.

(78.) See id.

(79.) See id.

(80.) See id.

(81.) Letter from John Adams to John Winthrop (May 12, 1776), available at http://www.founders.archive 1111311111&sa=&r=1 7&sr= (footnote omitted). Here, Adams acknowledged the necessity of military alliances, not just treaties of amity and commerce. See id. At other times, he resisted any "Political Connection" and "Military Connection" with France, preferring instead "Only a Commercial Connection." Adams, supra note 73, at 236; see also ADAMS, supra note 19, at 338 (recalling he resisted insertion of "Articles of entangling Alliance" in Model Treaty). The ideal of restricting international relations to commercial interaction was present from the outset of the Revolution, and Adams embraced it. See JONATHAN R. DULL, A DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 53 (1985) ("America's unrealistic expectation that the mere offer of a commercial alliance would be sufficient to secure from France open assistance and an acknowledgment of American independence."). It was an aspiration that would have to wait; though on occasion, Adams expressed discontent with the need for an alliance and, two decades later, chalked up the termination of that alliance as his greatest achievement as president.


(83.) See 4 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 342

(84.) See id. The May 10 resolution recommended that the assemblies "adopt such government as shall ... best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general." Id. at 339-40. The preamble followed five days later. See id. at 342, 357-58. "Undoubtedly JA played an important role in securing the passage of the resolution on independent governments, but no evidence other than a somewhat confused autobiographical statement supports the claim that he wrote it. He did, however, write the preamble ...." 4 PAPERS OF JOHN ADAMS 11 n.1 (Robert J. Taylor et al. eds., 1979); see ADAMS, supra note 21, at 57-60.

(85.) ADAMS, supra note 19, at 383.

(86.) After resolving to declare independence on June 10th, Congress created a committee to draft the Declaration of independence the next day. That same day it formed two other committees: one "to prepare and digest the form of a confederation" and another "to prepare a plan of treaties to be proposed to foreign powers." 5 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 428-29, 431.

(87.) Letter from John Adams to James Warren (May 20, 1776), available athttp://www.founders.archiv 22Adams%2C%20John%22%20Recipient%3A%22Warren%2C%20James%22&s= 1111311111&sa=&r=24&s r=.

(88.) Id.

(89.) See Letter from John Adams to William Cushing (June 9, 1776), available at http://founders.archives. gov/?q=from%20John%20Adams%20to%20William%20Cushing%20Author%3A%22Adams%2C%20John% 22%20Recipient%3A%22Cushing%2C%20William%22&s= 1111311111&sa=&r=1&sr=.

(90.) Id. (footnote omitted).

(91.) See Letter from Patrick Henry to John Adams (May 20, 1776), available at http://founders.archives. gov/?q=%20Author%3A%22Henry%2C%20Patrick%22%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22&s= 1111312111&sa=Henr&r=1&sr=.

(92.) See id.

(93.) Letter from John Adams to Patrick Henry (June 3, 1776), available at ?q=%20Author%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22%20Recipient%3A%22Henry%2C%20Patrick%22&s= 1111 312111&sa=adams%2C%20John&r=1&sr=Henry (footnote omitted).

(94.) Id.

(95.) See ADAMS, supra note 21, at 53-54. In his autobiography, Adams recalled that when New Hampshire and South Carolina requested guidance about how to structure their revolutionary governments in October and November of 1775, he wanted to recommend Congress draft a model state constitution:

   If there is any doubt of that, the Convention may send out their
   Project of a Constitution, to the People in their several Towns,
   Counties or districts, and the People may make the Acceptance of it
   their own Act. But the People know nothing about Constitutions. I
   believe you are much mistaken in that Supposition: if you are not,
   they will not oppose a Plan prepared by their own chosen Friends:
   but I believe that in every considerable portion of the People,
   there will be found some Men, who will understand the Subject as
   well as their representatives, and these will assist in
   enlightening the rest.... But what Plan of a Government, would you
   advise? A Plan as nearly resembling the Governments under which We
   were born and have lived as the Circumstances of the Country will

ADAMS, supra note 19, at 356 (footnote omitted) (alteration in original); see also id. at 358 (stating Adams's belief Congress should appoint committee to draft and recommend form of state government).

(96.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 355.

(97.) Id. at 358.

(98.) See id. at 356.

(99.) Letter from James Warren to John Adams (June 2, 1776), available at ?q=%20Author%3A%22Warren%2C%20James%22%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22&s=m 1312111&sa=warren&r=35&sr=. Warren was probably referring to differences in political tone and relative appetite for democracy, thinking perhaps of Virginia.


   Resolved, unanimously, That the Delegates appointed to represent
   this Colony in General Congress be instructed to propose to that
   respectable body to declare the United Colonies free and
   independent States, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependance
   [sic] upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain; and that they
   give the assent of this Colony to such declaration, and to whatever
   measures may be thought proper and necessary by the Congress for
   forming foreign alliances, and a Confederation of the Colonies, at
   such time and in the manner as to them shall seem best: Provided,
   That the power of forming Government for, and the regulations of
   the internal concerns of each Colony, be left to the respective
   Colonial Legislatures.

Id. A key drafter was Meriwether Smith. See WILLIAM WIRT HENRY, 1 PATRICK HENRY: LIFE, CORRESPONDENCE AND SPEECHES 397 (1891). Local imperatives, including the fear of slave insurrection, drove Virginia's revolutionaries. See WOODY HOLTON, FORCED FOUNDERS: INDIANS, DEBTORS, SLAVES, AND THE MAKING OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION IN VIRGINIA 191-205 (1999) (discussing influential role of Virginia farmers).

(101.) See 1 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 77. On October 20, 1774, the First Continental Congress resolved that the importation of slaves should be banned and resolved against American participation in the slave trade. Id. The Virginia Association agreed and ordered an end to the importation of slave labor. Later, in 1776, the Second Continental Congress resolved that "no slaves be imported into any of the thirteen United Colonies." 4 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 53, at 258. See generally DAVID BRION DAVIS, THE PROBLEM OF SLAVERY IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTION: 1770-1823 (1975) (discussing early circulation of these ideas and their intensification during American Revolution).


(103.) BEEMAN, supra note 44, at 355-56.

(104.) See id. at 356-57. Pauline Maier counted about ninety documents from provincial and local legislatures written before July 1776 that she terms the "The 'Other' Declarations of Independence." PAULINE MAIER, AMERICAN SCRIPTURE: MAKING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 47-96 (1997).

(105.) See Letter from Richard Lee to John Adams (May 18, 1776), available at /?q=Richard%20Lee%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22%20Author%3A%22Lee%2C%20Richar d%22&s=1111312111&sa=Lee&r=1&sr= .

(106.) Id.

(107.) See THOMAS PAINE, COMMON SENSE 19-20 (Infomotions Inc. 2001) (suggesting structure for government).

(108.) See id. (elaborating on powers of legislature).

(109.) See Pa. Const. of 1776.

(110.) See Letter from John Adams to Benjamin Waterhouse (Oct. 29, 1805), in STATESMAN AND FRIEND: CORRESPONDENCE OF JOHN ADAMS WITH BENJAMIN WATERHOUSE, 1784-1822, at 32, microformed on LAC No. 11370 (Library Res., Inc.). He later quipped that his fate was to have lived not so much through the age of reason as "the Age of Paine." Id.

(111.) Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams (Mar. 19, 1776), available at /?q=%20Author%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20Abigail%22%20Pe riod%3A%22Revolutionary%20War%22%20Dates-From%3A1776-03-19%20Dates-To%3A1776-07 08&s=1111312111&sa=adams%2C%20john&r=1&sr=.

(112.) See id. (acknowledging rumors he wrote Common Sense).

(113.) Id.

(114.) Id.

(115.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 330-33 (recalling thoughts on Paine's proposed government and decision to write his own pamphlet).

(116.) ADAMS, supra note 21, at 86-93.

(117.) See id.

(118.) See Letter from John Adams to William Hooper (Mar. 27, 1776), available at http://founders.archives .gov/?q=%20Recipient%3A%22Hooper%2C%20William%22%20Author%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22& s= 1111312111&sa=&r=1&sr=hooper.

   Therefore I lay it down as a Maxim that the judicial Power should
   be distinct both from the Legislative and Executive. Now if you
   have your Legislative in one Assembly, and Executive in another,
   and the judicial Power leans to either, it will naturally join with
   that, and overballance, overbear, and overturn the other.

   The Legislature, therefore, should consist of more than one

   .... There should be ... a Governor whom I would invest with a
   Negative upon the other Branches of the Legislature and also with
   the whole Executive Power, after divesting it of most of those
   Badges of Domination call'd Prerogatives. I know that giving the
   Executive Power a Negative upon the Legislative, is liable to
   Objections, but it seems to be attended with more Advantages than
   Dangers, especially if you make this Officer elective annually, and
   more especially if you establish a Rotation by which no Man shall
   be Governor for more than three years.

Id. See also Adams, supra note 21, at 86-93; POLE, supra note 21, at 214-226 (discussing evolution of Adams's ideas about bicameralism); Letter from John Adams to John Penn (Mar. 27, 1776), available at 20John%22&s=1111312111&sa=&r=1&sr=penn.

(119.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 358. Adams recalled that Congress almost discussed a model state constitution, however, he feared it would favor a unicameral legislature. See id. Thus, he "answered by Sporting off hand, a variety of short Sketches of Plans, which might be adopted by the Conventions." Id.

(120.) See Letter from Patrick Henry to John Adams (May 20, 1776), available at http://founders.archives. gov/?q=%20Author%3A%22Henry%2C%20Patrick%22%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22&s= 1111312111&sa=henr&r=1&sr=.

   Our Convention is now employed in the great Work of forming a
   Constitution. My most esteem'd republican Form has many and
   powerfull Enemys. A silly Thing published in Philadelphia by a
   native of Virginia has just made its appearance here, strongly
   recommended 'tis said by one of our delegates now with you,
   B[raxton]. His Reasonings upon and Distinction between private and
   public Virtue are weak shallow evasive, and the whole performance
   an Affront and Disgrace to this Country and by one Expression I
   suspect his Whiggism. Our Session will be very long. During which I
   cannot count upon one Coadjutor of Talents equal to the Task. Would
   to God you and your Sam Adams were here. It shall be my incessant
   study to so form our portrait of Government that a Kindred with New
   England may be discern'd in it. And if all your Excellencys cannot
   be preserved, yet I hope to retain so much of the Likeness, that
   posterity shall pronounce us descended from the same stock. I shall
   think perfection is obtain'd if we have your Approbation.

Id. (footnote omitted) (alteration in original).

(121.) See Carter Braxton, A Native of this Colony: An Address to the Convention of the Colony and Ancient Dominion of Virginia on the Subject of Government in General, and Recommending a Particular Form to Their Attention, in 1 AMERICAN POLITICAL WRITING DURING THE FOUNDING ERA: 1760-1805, at 328-39 (Charles S. Hyneman & Donald Lutz eds., 1983). Carter Braxton, who represented Virginia in Congress, invoked English constitutional history and the praise of Montesquieu when he recommended that the colonies "shake off the authority of arbitrary British dictators," but nevertheless "adopt and perfect that system, which England has suffered to be grossly abused, and the experience of ages has taught us to venerate." Id. at 333.

(122.) See generally Stephen G. Kurtz, The Political Science of John Adams, A Guide to His Statecraft, 25 WM. & MARY Q. 605 (1968). Kurtz observed that Adams's brilliance lay not in originality of mind, but in his lawyerly ability to deploy precedents and craft powerful arguments in new, difficult situations that left others disoriented. Id.

   The point [Adams] was trying to make in his repeated defenses of
   the system of balances was not that it was original or that he had
   anything new to observe about it, but that it was the product of
   long experience, an organic growth, and the finest edifice thrown
   up by medieval England.

Id. at 613.


(124.) See id. at 267-75 (recounting colloquy); see also BILLIAS, supra note 4, at 75-78 (providing overview of Turgot); Paul Giles, Enlightenment Historiography and Cultural Civil Wars, in THE ATLANTIC ENLIGHTENMENT 31-34 (Susan Manning & Francis D. Cogliano eds., 2008) (discussing Price and Enlightenment).



(127.) See PALMER, supra note 123, at 268-69 (discussing Turgot's response).

(128.) See id. at 268, 450-53; see also PATRICE HIGONNET, SISTER REPUBLICS: The ORIGINS OF FRENCH AND AMERICAN REPUBLICANISM 48-80, 146-47, 155-57, 220 (1988) (discussing Turgot and corporatist structure of Ancien Regime).

(129.) See From A. Turgot (Mar. 22, 1778), in 2 THE CORRESPONDENCE OF RICHARD PRICE, MARCH 1778-FEBRUARY 1786, at 13 (D. O. Thomas ed., 1991).

   I confess that I am not satisfied with the Constitutions which have
   hitherto been formed by the different States of America.... Instead
   of collecting all authority into one center, that of the nation,
   they have established different bodies; a body of representatives,
   a council, and a Governour [sic], because there is in England a
   House of Commons, a House of Lords, and a King.--They endeavour to
   balance these different powers, as if this equilibrium, which in
   England may be a necessary check to the enormous influence of
   royalty, could be of any use in Republics founded upon the equality
   of all the Citizens; and as if establishing different orders of
   men, was not a source of divisions and disputes. In attempting to
   prevent imaginary dangers they create real ones....

Id. The French reformers were frustrated with the American state constitutions, yet embraced them nonetheless. See JOYCE APPLEBY, LIBERALISM AND REPUBLICANISM IN THE HISTORICAL IMAGINATION 241 (1992); Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787, at 236 (1969). See generally Jacob T. Levy, Beyond Publius: Montesquieu, Liberal Republicanism, and the Small-Republic Thesis, 27 HIST. OF POL. THOUGHT 50 (2006).

(130.) See generally CHARLES DE SECONDAT MONTESQUIEU, THE SPIRIT OF THE LAWS (Anne M. Cohler, et al. eds., 1989).

(131.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, in SOCIAL CONTRACT: ESSAYS BY LOCKE, HUME, AND ROUSSEAU 167, 255 (1980).

(132.) See From A. Turgot (Mar. 22, 1778), supra note 129, at 3-19. See generally AN ENLIGHTENMENT STATESMAN IN WHIG BRITAIN: LORD SHELBURNE IN CONTEXT, 1737-1805 (Nigel Aston & Clarissa Campbell Orr eds., 2011).

(133.) See From A. Turgot (Mar. 22, 1778), supra note 129, at 11.

(134.) Id. (footnotes omitted).

(135.) Id. (footnote omitted).

(136.) See id. at 3-19.

(137.) See From A. Turgot (Mar. 22, 1778), supra note 129, at 3-19.

(138.) See generally C. Bradley Thompson, The American Founding and the French Revolution, in THE LEGACY OF THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 109 (Ralph C. Hancock and L. Gary Lambert eds., 1996).


(140.) See generally id.

(141.) See id. at 35. "Thanks be to God, the new American States are at present strangers to such establishments[,]" Price observed about the religious toleration in the state constitutions, which sometimes existed alongside state support for a denomination, which he criticized. Id. "In this respect, as well as many others, they have shewn, in framing their constitutions a degree of wisdom and liberality which is above all praise." Id.

(142.) See generally Caroline Winterer, Where is America in the Republic of Letters?, 9 MOD. INTELL. HIST. 597 (2012) (inquiring into America's participation in republic of letters).


(144.) See generally id.

(145.) See ROBERT DARNTON, THE BUSINESS OF ENLIGHTENMENT: A PUBLISHING HISTORY OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIE, 1775-1800 (1979); Goodman, supra note 125; THE TRANSMISSION OF CULTURE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE (Anthony Grafton & Ann Blair eds., 1990), on the distribution networks of the republic of letters.

(146.) See 1 PETER GAY, THE ENLIGHTENMENT: THE SCIENCE OF FREEDOM 555-568 (1969); cf. PALMER, supra note 123, at 239 (1959) ("There were many in Europe, as there were in America, who saw in the American Revolution a lesson and an encouragement for mankind. it proved that the liberal ideas of the Enlightenment might be put into practice.").

(147.) See supra notes 120-25 and accompanying text (discussing Virginian conservatives' beliefs).

(148.) See HULSEBOSCH, CONSTITUTING EMPIRE, supra note 8, at 170-202. See generally ADAMS, supra note 21; LUTZ, supra note 24; Benjamin F. Wright, Jr., The Origins of the Separation of Powers in America, 13 ECONOMICA 169 (1933).

(149.) See generally Bernard Bailyn, Political Experience and Enlightenment Ideas in Eighteenth-Century America, 67 AM. HIST. REV. 339 (1962).

(150.) See ARMITAGE, supra note 57, at 35. David Armitage similarly notes that the Second Continental Congress created three committees simultaneously: one to draft a Declaration of Independence; one to draft a Model Treaty of Alliance with European nations, particularly France; and one to draft what became the Articles of Confederation. Id. "Each of these documents was designed to be an expression of state sovereignty under the contemporary law of nations." Id.; cf. SADOSKY, supra note 17, at 84 ("[T]he Plan of Treaties is of a piece with the Declaration of Independence--they were mutually interlocking foreign policy documents.").

(151.) See ARMITAGE, supra note 57, at 35. Previous historians of American diplomacy had recognized the immediate foreign policy dimension of the Declaration of Independence. See DULL, supra note 81, at 52 ("The Declaration of Independence was largely a foreign-policy statement; without it America hardly could appeal for foreign assistance against the great army gathering to attack New York and the navy blockading its ports."); Edwin D. Dickinson, The Law of Nations as Part of the National Law of the United States, 101 U. PA. L. REV. 26, 34 (1952) (noting independence brought ability to engage in diplomacy with foreign nations on its own behalf); Peter S. Onuf, A Declaration of Independence for Diplomatic Historians, 22 DIPLOMATIC HIST. 71, 71 (1998) (observing American independence allowed formation of independent alliances with foreign countries).

(152.) See generally The DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (U.S. 1776).

(153.) Cf. CARL BECKER, THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE: A STUDY IN THE HISTORY OF POLITICAL IDEAS 6 (1966) (identifying Declaration of Independence as indictment); PETER CHARLES HOFFER, THE LAW'S CONSCIENCE: EQUITABLE CONSTITUTIONALISM IN AMERICA 72-73 (1990) (characterizing Declaration of Independence as bill in equity); MAIER, supra note 104, at 48 (viewing Declaration of Independence as bill of particulars).

(154.) See BRIEN HALLETT, THE LOST ART OF DECLARING WAR 52-56 (1998) (stating Declaration of Independence was declaration of war); cf. NEFF, supra note 48, at 250-75 (discussing legal understandings of transition from rebellion to war).

(155.) Compare, for example, King George II of Great Britain, His Majesty's Declaration of War against the French King, at para. 1 (1756), available at, for Britain's declaration of war with France in 1756, which was published broadly in colonial newspapers. It begins:

   The unwarrantable Proceedings of the French in the West Indies, and
   North America ... and the Usurpations and Encroachments made by
   them upon Our Territories, and the Settlements of Our Subjects in
   those Parts ... have been so notorious, and so frequent, that they
   cannot but be looked upon as a sufficient Evidence of a formed
   Design and Resolution in that Court, to pursue invariable such
   Measures, as should most effectually promote their ambitious Views,
   without any Regard to the most solemn Treaties and Engagements. We
   have not been wanting on Our Part, to make, from time to time, the
   most serious Representations to the French King, upon these
   repeated Acts of Violence, and to endeavour to obtain Redress and
   Satisfaction for the Injuries done to Our Subjects, and to prevent
   the like Causes of Complaint for the future....


(156.) Compare THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE (U.S. 1776), with King George III of Great Britain, By the King, a Proclamation, for Suppressing Rebellion and Sedition, at para. 1 (1775), available at

   Whereas many of Our Subjects in divers [sic] Parts of Our Colonies
   and Plantations in North America, misled by dangerous and
   ill-designing Men, and forgetting the Allegiance which they owe to
   the Power that has protected and sustained them, after various
   disorderly Acts committed in Disturbance of the Public Peace, to
   the Obstruction of lawful Commerce, and to the Oppression of Our
   loyal Subjects carrying on the same, have at length proceeded to an
   open and avowed Rebellion, by arraying themselves in hostile Manner
   to withstand the Execution of the Law, and traitorously preparing,
   ordering, and levying War against Us.

King George III of Great Britain, supra, at para. 1.; cf. Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy, "If Others Will Not Be Active, I Must Drive ": George III and the American Revolution, 2 EARLY AM. STUD. 1, 1-46 (2004) (discussing King George Ill's personal role in formulating harsh response).


(158.) Id. at para. 6.

(159.) See id. at para. 2-3.

(160.) See ARMITAGE, supra note 57, at 14 (characterizing Declaration of Independence as combination of assertions of independence, rights, and manifesto). Contemporaries recognized the dual domestic and international purposes of the Declaration. See Letter from Zabdiel Adams to John Adams (June 9, 1776), available at 3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22&s=1111312111&sa=adams%2C%20z&r=1&sr=; Letter from Samuel Cooper to John Adams (July 15, 1776), available at per%2C%20Samuel%22%20Recipient%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22&s=1111312111&sa=cooper%2C% 20S&r=7&sr=. For example, Zabdiel Adams wrote:

   Whilst in our present unsettled state with respect to Government we
   Lye exposed to a thousand dangers. Persons of enterprizing and
   disaffectd [sic] minds have too good an opportunity of forming
   parties, creating disunion and carrying into execution their evil
   designs. It is therefore, on this account, greatly to be wished
   that the Congress would declare us independant [sic] of Great
   Britain, and that one general form of Government might be soon
   instituted over the whole of the united Colonies. And if, as we
   hear, forreign [sic] assistance cannot be obtained till a
   declaration of independency is made, methinks this is another
   cogent reason why it should be made immediately.

Letter from Zabdiel Adams to John Adams (June 9, 1776), supra. Similarly, Samuel Cooper wrote:

   I congratulate you on the Declaration of Independence with so much
   Unanimity. The Declaration is admir'd, diffuses Joy, and will have
   great Effect. It will be follow'd I trust with Alliances &c. France
   must make a Deversion [sic] in our Favor. It is her Interest, and
   upon that Ground we may expect it if we take proper Measures.

Letter from Samuel Cooper to John Adams (July 15, 1776), supra.

(161.) VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 3, [section][section] 51, 56, 64 (explaining function of declaration of war). Vattel noted that defensive wars did not require a declaration but that "[i]n modern times ... the sovereign who is attacked, seldom omits to declare war in his turn, whether from an idea of dignity, or for the direction of his subjects." Id. at bk. 3, [section] 57.

(162.) Id. at bk. 3, [section][section] 64, 111 (listing notification of neutral powers as one purpose of declaration of war).

(163.) See PHILIP C. JESSUP & FRANCIS DEAK, 1 NEUTRALITY: ITS HISTORY, ECONOMICS AND LAW (1976); NEFF, supra note 48, for a history of the laws of war and neutrality.

(164.) See ARTICLES OF CONFEDERATION art. VI (incorporating requirement of declarations of war); U.S. CONST. art. I, [section] 8 (granting Congress power to declare war).

(165.) Letter from Benjamin Franklin & Robert Morris to Silas Deane (July 8, 1776), available at


(167.) PAINE, supra note 107, at 20.

(168.) 9 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 933-35.


(170.) See infra notes 343-52 and accompanying text.

(171.) JOHN LOCKE, SECOND TREATISE OF GOVERNMENT ch. 12, [section][section] 146-47 (Infomotions, Inc. 2001) ("This therefore contains the power of war and peace, leagues and alliances, and all the transactions, with all persons and communities without the common-wealth, and may be called federative, if any one pleases. So the thing be understood, I am indifferent as to the name.").

(172.) See MASS. CONST. of 1780 pt. I, art. IV; PA. CONST. of 1776, pmbl. The Massachusetts Constitution embraced the ambiguous formula of confederation, declaring that the state was "a free, sovereign, and independent state; and [could] do ... exercise and enjoy every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not, or may not hereafter, be by them expressly delegated to the United States of America, in Congress." MASS. CONST. OF 1780 pt. I, art. IV. Similarly, the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 stated that the colonies were now "free and independent States, and that just, permanent, and proper forms of government exist in every part of them, derived from and founded on the authority of the people only, agreeable to the directions of the honourable American Congress." Pa. CONST. of 1776, pmbl.



OF POLITICAL LEGITIMACY, 1774-1776, at 299-303 (1987) (arguing Continental Congress assumed crown's executive power).

(175.) See HENDRICKSON, supra note 28, at 257 (citing English influence in American quest for peace); PETER ONUF & NICHOLAS ONUF, FEDERAL UNION, MODERN WORLD: THE LAW OF NATIONS IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS, 1776-1814, at 93-94 (1993) (referencing confederation as structure for promoting peace).

(176.) See HENDRICKSON, supra note 28, at 133-34; PRICE, supra note 139, at 1-2.

(177.) PRICE, supra note 139, at 15.

(178.) See id.

(179.) Id.

(180.) See HENDRICKSON, supra note 28, at 259; ONUF & ONUF, supra note 175, at 93-94.

(181.) See FELIX GILBERT, TO THE FAREWELL ADDRESS: IDEAS OF EARLY AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY 48-57 (1961) (outlining writing of Model Treaty); Gould, supra note 17, at 1-4 (explaining importance of Model Treaty to America's founding). James Hutson disputes Gilbert's claim that the European philosophes' notion that commerce facilitated peace had much of an impact on British North Americans. See generally JAMES H. HUTSON, JOHN ADAMS AND THE DIPLOMACY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1980). His evidence is that few Americans read the continental philosophes, and that many colonists lamented the tendency of commerce to breed luxury, which in turn corrupted virtue. See generally id. There were however many pro-commercial theories available to the colonists in the literature of the Scottish Common Sense school and the continental law of nations. Compare HIRSCHMAN, supra note 11, on the former, with HONT, supra note 11, WEALTH AND VIRTUE: THE SHAPING OF POLITICAL ECONOMY IN THE SCOTTISH ENLIGHTENMENT, supra note 11, and Tuck, supra note 11, on the latter.

(182.) See 5 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 53, at 768-79.

(183.) Id.

(184.) See id. at 775.

   [I]t is hereby Stipulated that free Ships shall also give a Freedom
   to Goods, and that every Thing shall be deemed to be free and
   exempt, which shall be found on board the Ships, ... although the
   whole Lading or any Part thereof, should appertain to the Enemies
   of Either, Contraband Goods being always excepted.

Id. (defining contraband); cf. NEFF, supra note 48, at 154-55 (describing free ships, free goods treaties).

(185.) See id. at 768-79.

(186.) See generally HONT, supra note 11. For example, Koen Stapelbroek argues that the Dutch support for neutral rights in the eighteenth century cannot be reduced to the protestations of a state experiencing declining relative international power. See generally Koen Stapelbroek, Dutch Decline as a European Phenomenon, 36 HIST. OF EUR. IDEAS 139 (2010).

(187.) Although some provincials had experience with Indian treaties, many of those who did were connected to the Indian service and remained loyal to the King.


(189.) See Doohwan Ahn, The Anglo-French Treaty of Commerce of 1713: Tory Trade Politics and the Question of Dutch Decline, 36 HIS. OF EUR. IDEAS 167 (2010), and Antonella Alimento, Commercial Treaties and the Harmonisation of National Interests: The Anglo-French Case (1667-1713), in WAR, TRADE AND NEUTRALITY: EUROPE AND THE MEDITERRANEAN IN SEVENTEENTH AND EIGHTEENTH CENTURIES 107 (Antonella Alimento ed., 2011), for a discussion of the Treaty of Utrecht.

(190.) Supra note 189.

(191.) The Anglo-French Treaty of Utrecht and the general notion of balance that emerged from the Utrecht treaties was well received. See generally WILLIAM ROBERTSON, THE HISTORY OF THE REIGN OF THE EMPEROR CHARLES V. WITH A VIEW OF THE PROGRESS OF SOCIETY IN EUROPE, FROM THE SUBVERSION OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE, TO THE BEGINNING OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY (1762) (celebrating balance of power and progress of commerce). William Robertson's book could be found in the libraries of leading revolutionaries. Vattel also celebrated the balance of power as a blueprint for European peace and integration. See VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 3, [section] 47. Vattel maintained that:

   Europe forms a political system, an integral body, closely
   connected by the relations and different interests of the nations
   inhabiting this part of the world. It is not, as formerly, a
   confused heap of detached pieces, each of which though herself very
   little concerned in the fate of the others, and seldom regarded
   things which did not immediately concern her. The continual
   attention of sovereigns to every occurrence, the constant residence
   of ministers, and the perpetual negotiations, make of modern Europe
   a kind of republic, of which the members--each independent, but all
   linked together by the ties of common interest--unite for the
   maintenance of order and liberty. Hence arose that famous scheme of
   the political balance, or the equilibrium of power; by which is
   understood such a disposition of things, as that no one potentate
   be able absolutely to predominate, and prescribe laws to the


(192.) See Edmond Dziembowski, Lord Shelburne's Constitutional Views in 1782-3, in AN ENLIGHTENMENT STATESMAN IN WHIG BRITAIN: LORD SHELBURNE IN CONTEXT, 1737-1805, supra note 132, at 215, 220-21 (noting Shelburne's dream of trade liberalization between European powers); Richard Whatmore, Shelburne and Perpetual Peace: Small States, Commerce, and International Relations within the Bowood Circle, in AN ENLIGHTENMENT STATESMAN IN WHIG BRITAIN: LORD SHELBURNE IN CONTEXT, 1737-1805, supra note 132, at 249, 262-65 (observing establishment of international community dedicated to freedom of trade as priority of Bowood Circle). See generally HIRSCHMAN, supra note 11.

(193.) See GILBERT, supra note 181, at 46 (recognizing Utrecht treaties as first occurrence of separation of political and commercial treaties).

(194.) See 5 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 53, at 768-779.


(196.) See generally Gregg L. Lint, John Adams on the Drafting of the Treaty Plan of 1776, 2 DIPLOMATIC HIST. 313 (1978) (explaining this process). Franklin identified twelve useful provisions; Adams selected five of those and a dozen others. See generally id.

(197.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 271-72.

(198.) See id. at 270-71.

(199.) See id. at 271.

(200.) See id. Adams also told Gridley that he had read Vinius's edition of Justinian, but two years later, in a contemporary diary entry, he admitted that he had not. Compare id. (recounting conversation with Gridley), with JOHN ADAMS, Autobiography of John Adams, in 1 DIARY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ADAMS 174 (1961) ("In the Civil Law, there are Hoppius, and Vinnius, Commentators on Justinian, Domat, & c. besides Institutes of Cannon and feudal Law, that I have to read.").

(201.) See ADAMS, supra note 19, at 271.

(202.) Id. at 271-72.

(203.) See ADAMS, supra note 200, at 174.

(204.) Compare ADAMS, supra note 200, at 286-87, 315-30, 331-45 (noting another colonist's argument, supported with citation to Grotius), with 2 Adams, supra note 84, at 291 (citing Grotius, Pufendorf, Barbeyrac, Locke and others to support right of revolution). Adams wrote, citing Grotius, "that shutting up the Courts is an Abdication of the Throne, a Discharge of the Subjects from their Allegiance, and a total Dissolution of Government and Reduction of all Men to a state of Nature." ADAMS, supra note 200, at 286-87. It was "unlikely that Adams had ever had occasion to investigate the complexities of treaty composition" before the summer of 1776. Lint, supra note 196, at 314-15 & n. 7.

(205.) See William Smith, Course of Study for Law Students: "Some Directions Relating to the Law," reprinted in PAUL M. HAMLIN, LEGAL EDUCATION IN COLONIAL NEW YORK 197-200 (1939), for a colonial example. See Ben Lyons, The Law of Nations in John Jay's Mission to Spain: 1780-82, Remarks at the Society for the Historians of American Foreign Relations (June 2013) (on file with author), for a study of the Moral Philosophy course at King's College and its influence.

(206.) See, e.g, John Adams, Autobiography of John Adams, in 4 DIARY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JOHN ADAMS 145-46 (1961) (describing typical self-teaching moment during diplomatic service in France in 1778). Adams recalled that "all America at this time was compleatly [sic] uninformed ... [about] the Negotiations and Dispatches of Ambassadors." Id. at 145-46. He had read "Grotius, Puffendorf [sic], [and] Vattell [sic].... before in America," as well as treaty collections, but formal learning about negotiation was hard to find. Id. at 146. "The Powers of Europe in general have kept the Letters and Memorials of their Ambassadors locked up in the Cabinetts [sic] of their Courts: very few of them have ever been collected and published." Id. France, however, was different. Id. "There are extant more Publications of their negotiations, than of all the rest of Europe." Id. Adams thus purchased several books, including Noilles's Diplomatic Dictionary, The Principles of Negotiation: or, an Introduction to the Public Law of Europe Founded on Treaties by Abbe de Mably, as well as "all other Books I could find relative to the office of an Ambassador as Wickefort &c." Id.

(207.) See 3 LETTERS TO DELEGATES TO Congress, 1774-1789, at 321-23 (Paul H. Smith ed., 1976-2000) (authorizing Silas Deane to conduct a diplomatic mission to France).

(208.) See id.

(209.) See id.

(210.) See id.

(211.) 3 LETTERS TO DELEGATES TO CONGRESS, 1774-1789, supra note 207, at 321-23 (footnote omitted); see James Scott Brown, Introduction to THE TREATIES OF 1778 AND ALLIED DOCUMENTS v, ix-xi (Gilbert Chinard ed., 1928).

(212.) See DULL, supra note 81, at 57-65. Separating the colonies from Britain was an unofficial French policy since the Peace of Paris, and in the mid-1760s France sent secret agents to cultivate American friends, including Franklin. See id. at 9; see also JEREMY J. WHITEMAN, REFORM, REVOLUTION AND FRENCH GLOBAL POLICY, 1787-1791, at 16-23 (2003) (arguing Vergennes sought both to contain British Empire and expand French global trade).

(213.) See DULL, supra note 81, at 61-62.

(214.) See id.

(215.) See generally MAURICE LEVER, BEAUMARCHAIS: A BIOGRAPHY (Susan Emanuel trans., 2009).

(216.) See generally id.



(219.) See id.

   Beaumarchais became involved in the American Revolution for three
   main reasons. The first was to provide a service to the French
   court and, thereby, regain the civil rights he had lost as a result
   of the Goezman affair in 1774. Secondly, there was the possibility
   of making money. Thirdly, Beaumarchais fervently believed in the
   ideals of the American Revolution, indeed more fervently than many


(220.) 5 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 833. Congress originally appointed Thomas Jefferson as the third commissioner, but he declined and was replaced by Arthur Lee. See SCHIFF, supra note 217, at 29 (describing Jefferson's inability to get to France). Despite having never gotten along with Franklin, Arthur Lee was a natural replacement as he was educated at Eton, Edinburgh and the Inner Temple, had succeeded Franklin as Massachusetts's agent, and was still in London in 1776. Id.

(221.) See Robert R. Palmer, The Impact of the American Revolution Abroad, in THE IMPACT OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION ABROAD 5, 12 (Library of Congress ed., 1976).

(222.) See id. at 13 ("Contemporaries in Europe seldom mentioned the Declaration of Independence.... It was the state constitutions with their accompanying declarations of rights that captured attention.... Especially in France the constitutions had an overwhelming relevancy in the last years before the French Revolution."); cf. Elise Marienstras & Naomi Wulf, French Translations and Reception of the Declaration of Independence, 85 J. Am. Hist. 1299, 1302 (1999) ("Between 1777 and 1786, the state constitutions and bills of rights were published in France at least five times. We can, however, infer from allusions made at the National Assembly that the declaration, although often confused with the Virginia Bill of Rights, was constantly on the minds of the delegates.").

(223.) Benjamin Franklin, Memoir on the State of the Former Colonies, [before 5 January 1777], FOUNDERS ONLINE, %20colonies%20Author%3A%22Franklin%2C%20Benjamin%22&s=1511311111&r=14.

(224.) Id. (footnote omitted).

(225.) See Durand Echeverria, French Publications of the Declaration of Independence and the American Constitutions, 1776-1783, 47 THE PAPERS OF THE BIBLIOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA 313, 325-26 (1953). Congress published eighty copies of an early draft of the Articles in August of 1776; they were distributed solely to delegates of Congress, who pledged to keep the text secret. See id. at 325. That draft was not published in the states. See id. The first place it was published for wide readership was in France, where it was described wrongly as already ratified. See id. in fact, twelve of thirteen states ratified the Articles over the course of 1777, but Maryland waited until early 1781. it is evident that Franklin and the French translators used other sources in addition to the documents Franklin packed in his luggage. See Gilbert Chinard, Notes on the French Translations of the "Forms of Government or Constitutions of the Several United States," 1778 and 1783, Y.B. AM. PHIL. SOC'Y, 1943, 98-105. A curious example is the serial printing of the draft version of Virginia's Declaration of Rights, which included two articles not confirmed in the final version of June 12, 1776. Id. at 98-100. That draft was published in London and the London periodical found its way to Paris. Id. at 102.

(226.) See Echeverria, supra note 225, at 47.

(227.) See id.


(229.) See generally JONATHAN R. DULL, FRANKLIN THE DIPLOMAT: THE FRENCH MISSION (1982). But see generally GORDON S. WOOD, THE AMERICANIZATION OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN (2004) (recognizing Franklin as greatest American diplomat because of efforts to preserve alliance with France).

(230.) See GERALD STOURZH, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY 218-32 (1954) (describing Franklin's encounter with Pierre-Andre Gargaz).

(231.) See generally THOMAS J. SCHAEPER, EDWARD BANCROFT: SCIENTIST, AUTHOR, SPY (2011). Indeed, Franklin claimed to welcome spying, for he claimed that he was involved "in no Affairs that I should blush to have made publick [sic]; and to do nothing but what Spies may see and welcome." Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Juliana Ritchie (Jan. 19, 1777), available at Franklin%2C%20Benjamin%22%20Recipient%3A%22Ritchie%2C%20Juliana%22&s=1111312111&sa=Fran klin&r=1&sr=ritchie.

(232.) See generally PAUL W. CONNER, POOR RICHARD'S POLITICKS: BENJAMIN FRANKLIN AND HIS NEW AMERICAN ORDER (1965); Dull, supra note 229. "I have never yet changed the Opinion I gave in Congress," Franklin wrote fellow commissioner Lee a few months after arriving in Paris, "that a Virgin State should preserve the Virgin Character, and not go about suitering for Alliances, but wait with decent Dignity for the applications of others." Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Arthur Lee (Mar. 21, 1777), available at ee%2C%20Arthur%22&s=1111312111&sa=franklin&r=16&sr=lee.

(233.) See STOURZH, supra note 230, at 59-60.

(234.) See id. at 58-59.

(235.) See id. at 33-82 (discussing Franklin's geopolitical vision). See generally BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, OBSERVATIONS CONCERNING THE INCREASE OF MANKIND, PEOPLING OF COUNTRIES, &C. (1755).

(236.) See ORVILLE T. MURPHY, CHARLES GRAVIER, COMTE DE VERGENNES: FRENCH DIPLOMACY IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTIONS, 1719-1787, at 252-55 (1982). Jonathan Dull argues that Vergennes's aim was not simply to weaken Britain for its own sake, but also to gain relative power and leverage to face down Russia and Austria in the competition for the eastern Mediterranean trade with the Ottoman Empire. See JONATHAN R. DULL, THE FRENCH NAVY AND AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE: A STUDY OF ARMS AND DIPLOMACY, 1774-1787, at 8-11 (1975); see also Dull, supra note 81, at 91-96.

(237.) See DULL, supra note 236, at 9-10.

(238.) See id. at 11.

(239.) Marienstras & Wulf, supra note 222, at 1302 (alteration in original) (translating quote from Condorcet).

(240.) See MURPHY, supra note 236, at 252-55. Condorcet's friend Turgot, however, predicted that French participation in another British war would be financially ruinous to the crown without domestic financial reform, which never came. See id. at 253-54. The Seven Years' War had devastated the nation's finances. See generally JAMES C. RILEY, THE SEVEN YEARS WAR AND THE OLD REGIME IN FRANCE: THE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL TOLL (1986).

(241.) See DULL, supra note 236, at 8-11.

(242.) See id. at 8-9.

(243.) See id. at 11-15 (focusing on naval question); see also Brown, supra note 211, at vii.

(244.) Comte de Vergennes, Considerations on the Affairs of the English Colonies in America, reprinted in DOCUMENTS OF THE EMERGING NATION: U.S. FOREIGN RELATIONS 1775-1789, at 18, 23 (Mary A. Giunta ed., 1998).

(245.) Id.

(246.) See generally MURPHY, supra note 236. France never expected to send land forces to assist the states, believing instead, as American diplomats informed Vergennes, that they could fight the ground war themselves, which proved incorrect. See generally id.

(247.) See id. at 259 (discussing France's official stance).

(248.) See id. at 260.


(250.) See id. at 46 (noting replicas of Franklin's likeness).

(251.) See id. at 42 (recognizing French intellectuals' identification with American struggle).

(252.) Id. at 39. "America was no longer a mere parable for philosophers;" Echeverria continues, "it had become a popular movement spreading down into the lower classes and out to those members of the bourgeoisie who were usually little interested in the polemics of the Physiocrats and Philosophes." Id. at 41; see WOOD, supra note 229, at 171-83.

(253.) See ECHEVERRIA, supra note 249, at 79-81. (discussing French reactions to American events).

(254.) See id. at 81 (noting enthusiasm for revenge).

(255.) See id.

(256.) Id. at 42.

(257.) See ECHEVERRIA, supra note 249, at 42.




   [T]he problem facing an agent who wishes to legitimate what he is
   doing at the same time as gaining what he wants cannot simply be
   the instrumental problem of tailoring his normative language in
   order to fit his projects. It must in part be the problem of
   tailoring his projects in order to fit the available normative

Id. See generally Quentin Skinner, Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas, 8 HIST. & THEORY 3 (1969).

(261.) See generally JOHN J. MEARSHEIMER, The TRAGEDY OF GREAT POWER POLITICS (2001); HANS J. MORGENTHAU, POLITICS AMONG NATIONS: THE STRUGGLE FOR POWER AND PEACE (1967), for a criticism of foreign policy gambits that are not actually in the national interest by the founders of modern realism in international relations.

(262.) See ECHEVERRIA, supra note 249, at 42.

(263.) See generally Gilbert Chinard, Adventures in a Library, 8 NEWBERRY LIBR. BULL. 225 (1952). "Louis XVI was not at all happy to have his monarchy encouraging republican rebels against another king," Gordon S. Wood observed, "Queen Marie-Antoinette was especially opposed to aiding the Americans, and some members of the ministry agreed with her." WOOD, supra note 229, at 184; see also C. H. Van Tyne, French Aid Before the Alliance of 1778, 31 AM. HIST. REV. 20, 32 (1925) ("Vergennes was aware that the spirit of revolt, wherever it breaks out, is always a troublesome example, a moral malady which might become contagious.").

(264.) For a modern argument along these lines, see ERIC NELSON, THE ROYALIST REVOLUTION: MONARCHY AND THE AMERICAN FOUNDING (2014).

(265.) See SAMUEL FLAGG BEMIS, THE DIPLOMACY OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION 41-57 (1957) (discussing Spanish predicament).

(266.) See DULL, supra note 236, at 183-86 (discussing Spanish position).

(267.) See id. at 8-11.

(268.) See id.

(269.) See Letter from Lord Stormont to Lord Weymouth (April 10, 1777), supra note 51, at 385-91 (noting Stormont struggled in vain to confirm rumors Vergennes met secretly with Americans).

(270.) See LOUIS GOTTSCHALK, LAFAYETTE COMES TO AMERICA 66-123 (1935) (detailing Lafayette's agreement with Deane, familial and official rebukes, and escape from France to America).

(271.) See Letter from the King to the American Commissioners (Jan. 13, 1777), available at 20Dates-From%3A1777-01-01&s=1111311111&r=1 (detailing ministry's objections, based on treaty commitments). The Commissioners agreed to comply, though in practice American privateers continued to skirt the laws of neutrality. See Letter from the American Commissioners to Gerard (Jan. 14, 1777), available at

(272.) See DULL, supra note 81, at 80.

(273.) See id. at 82-88 (examining American privateering in France). See generally WILLIAM BELL CLARK, BEN FRANKLIN'S PRIVATEERS: A NAVAL EPIC OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION (1956); WILLIAM BELL CLARK, LAMBERT WICKES, SEA RAIDER AND DIPLOMAT: THE STORY OF A NAVAL CAPTAIN OF THE REVOLUTION (1932). The British protested on two grounds. First, the American states were in rebellion, but were not independent nations with the power to issue letters of marque under the law of nations, so their privateers were actually pirates. Second, the British and French had a treaty of amity that prevented them from allowing prizes taken by either party's enemy to enter the other's ports. See DULL, supra note 81, at 80. indeed, this was one of the liberal, commerce-friendly provisions that Adams and Franklin had included in the Model Treaty; it was also included in the Franco-American Treaty of Commerce and Amity the following year. Franklin denied the first claim, invoking the Declaration of independence, and, as a matter of confession and avoidance of the second, he asked the French to break their preexisting treaty of amity and become active belligerents against Britain. Before that happened, Franklin's privateers put France in an untenable diplomatic position, edging the kingdom closer to war. See id. at 80-82.

(274.) See generally Echeverria, supra note 225; Chinard, supra note 263; Chinard, supra note 225.

(275.) See generally AFFAIRES DE L'ANGLETERRE ET DE L'AMERIQUE (1776).

(276.) See Chinard, supra note 263, at 227.

(277.) Franklin's papers illuminate his close working relationship with Rochefoucald and Genet. See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to the Duc de La Rochefoucauld (after June 7, 1777), available at d%2C%20Louis-Alexandre%2C%20duc%20de%20La%20Roche-Guyon%20et%20de%22&s=n 11312111&s a=Franklin&r=2&sr=la. (setting forth friendly correspondence); Letter from Edme-Jacques Genet to Benjamin Franklin (June 5, 1778), available at Benjamin%22%20Author%3A%22Genet%2C%20Edme-Jacques%22&s= 1111312111&sa=genet&r=4&sr= ("You won't be surpris'd at my offer for the translation of any article or Essay you may want to be publish'd and at my readiness to print them in the Pamphlet of affaires de l'angleterre et de l'amerique."). One nice example is a letter enclosed with a marked-up copy of the translated Articles (which has not survived), in which Franklin added corrections to Rochefoucauld's French to make the translation more accurate, and asked his partner to amend any egregious errors. See Letter from Benjamin Franklin to the Duc de La Rochefoucauld (after June 7, 1777), supra. Franklin described how he had "attempted to make some Corrections [to the translations]; but not well understanding French, probably I have not done them well; they are in Crayon, which you can rub out." Id. Several other correspondences between Franklin and La Rochefoucauld show this close relationship; for example, La Rochefoucauld asked Franklin to edit his translation of Delaware's Constitution and for information about whether the states had ratified or changed the Articles of Confederation, indicating that the Remembrancer was a key source, and also promising to return all your books soon - "je vous rendrai tous vos livres." Letter from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Benjamin Franklin (Mar. 26, 1777), available at 0duc%20de%20La%20Roche-Guyon%20et%20de%22%20Recipient%3A%22Franklin%2C%20Benjamin% 22&s=1111312111&sa=la%20roche&r=6&sr=; see Letter from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Benjamin Franklin (Apr. 21, 1777), available at uld%2C%20Louis-Alexandre%2C%20duc%20de%20La%20Roche-Guyon%20et%20de%22%20Recipient% 3A%22Franklin%2C%20Benjamin%22&s=1111312111&sa=la%20roche&r=7&sr= (referencing Maryland and Virginia constitutions); Letter from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane (Jan. 20, 1777), available at %20Louis-Alexandre%2C%20duc%20de%20La%20Roche-Guyon%20et%20de%22%20Recipient%3A%22 Deane%2C%20Silas%22&s=1111312111&sa=la%20roche&r=1&sr= (footnote omitted) ("[S]end them 50. Exemplars of the American Confederation translated: this traduction will be publicated in the Journal Des Affaires de l'Amerique, but these 50. have been separately tied for being offered to the two honourable Gentlemen."); Letter from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld to Benjamin Franklin (Mar. 24, 1783), THE PAPERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, (follow second "unpub. 1783" hyperlink, then follow "From Duc de La Rochefouauld (unpublished)" hyperlink) (noticing publication of collected constitutions); Letter from Le Duc de La Rochefoucauld (Apr. 23, 1783), THE PAPERS OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, (follow first "unpub. 1783" hyperlink, then follow "From Duc de La Rochefoucauld (unpublished)" hyperlink) (waiting to publish American treaties with France and Netherlands).

(278.) See Letter from Edmond Charles Genet to Thomas Jefferson (Sept. 18, 1793), available at 3A%22Jefferson%2C%20Thomas%22&s=1111312111&sa=genet&r=32&sr=. Genet wrote this after being notified that the Washington Administration had requested Paris to recall and replace him. See id.; see also STANLEY ELKINS & ERIC MCKITRICK, THE AGE OF FEDERALISM: THE EARLY AMERICAN REPUBLIC, 1788-1800, at 330-54 (1993) (discussing Genet Affair).

(279.) Letter from Edmond Charles Genet to Thomas Jefferson (Sept. 18, 1793), supra note 278 (translated by author) ("c'est moi qui ai eu l'avantage de contribuer a penetrer les Fran$ais de l'esprit de 1776. et de 1777. En traduisant dans notre langue sous la direction de mon Pere, alors chef de Bureau, la plupart de vos loix et des ecrits de vos politiques.").

(280.) Id.

(281.) See ELKINS & MCKITRICK, supra note 278, at 330-54.

(282.) Chinard, supra note 225, at 89-106.

(283.) See id. at 96-98. The only one missing is New Hampshire's brief "constitution" of January 1776, sometimes called America's first. See id.

(284.) See generally RECUEIL DES LOIS CONSTITUTIVES DES COLONIES ANGLAISES, Confederees SOUS LA Denomination D'Etats-Unis de l'Amerique-Septentrionale (1778).

(285.) See generally id.

(286.) See generally id.

(287.) See generally id.


(289.) See id. at Preface Epitre a Monsieur Le Docteur Franklin (translated by author) ("Les Loix qu j'ai rassemble'es m'ont paru un des plus beaux monumens de la sagesse humaine; elles constituent law De'mocratie la plus pure qui ait encore existe.")


(291.) Id. (quoting Abbe Genty).

(292.) Id. (quoting Abbe Raynal). On the eve of the French Revolution, Thomas Jefferson reported from Paris that although "celebrated writers of this and other countries had already sketched good principles on the subject of government, yet the American war seems first to have awakened the thinking part of this nation in general from the sleep of despotism in which they were sunk." Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Richard Price (Jan. 8, 1789), available at 2%20Recipient%3A%22Price%2C%20Richard%22&s= 1111311111&sa=Jefferson&r=4&sr=Price. See generally Georg Jellinek, THE DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS OF MAN AND OF CITIZENS: A CONTRIBUTION TO MODERN CONSTITUTIONAL HISTORY (Max Farrand trans., 2009) (presenting classic argument of revolutionary American documents influencing reformers in France); Joyce Appleby, America as a Model for the Radical French Reformers of 1789, 38 WM. & MARY Q. 267 (1971) (same).


(294.) See generally id.

(295.) See id., at 62-63 n.1.




(299.) VA CONST. art. I, [section] 16.

(300.) N.J. CONST. of 1776 art. XIX; see Recueil des Lois Constitutives des Colonies Anglaises, Confederees sous la Denomination D'Etats-Unis de l'Amerique-Septentrionale, supra note 284, at 146 n.1.

(301.) See N.J. CONST. of 1776 art. XVIII.

(302.) See id. at art. XIX.


(304.) Id. ("[T]he Constitution of Pennsylvania was more just and more impartial.").

(305.) See generally LYNN HUNT, INVENTING HUMAN RIGHTS: A HISTORY (2007), for an argument that the late eighteenth-century political culture, notwithstanding all its exclusions, witnessed an impulse toward the abstraction of rights as natural, equal, and universal.

(306.) See generally SCHIFF, supra note 217.

(307.) See Letter from the American Commissioners to Baron de Schulenburg (Feb. 14, 1777), available at (presenting Declaration of Independence, Articles of Confederation, and Model Treaty to envoy of Frederick the Great of Prussia).

   We have the honor of inclosing the Declaration of the Independancy
   of the United States of North America, with the Articles of their
   Confederation; which we desire you to take the earliest Opportunity
   of laying before his Majesty, the King of Prussia; At the same time
   We wish he may be assured of the earnest desire of the United
   States to obtain his Friendship; and by a free Commerce, to
   establish an intercourse between their distant Countries, which
   they are Confident must be mutually beneficial.


(308.) See 2 THE REVOLUTIONARY DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENCE OF THE UNITED STATES 283 (Francis Wharton ed., 1889) ("Our total ignorance of the truth or falsehood of facts, when questions are asked of us concerning them, makes us appear small in the eyes of the people here, and is prejudicial to our negotiations.").

(309.) Id. at 287-88. The strange syntax suggests that Franklin was trying not to give unwanted readers, if the letter were captured in transit, information about French assistance.

(310.) Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Samuel Cooper (May 1, 1777), available athttp://founders.archives .gov/?q=%20Author%3A%22Franklin%2C%20Benjamin%22%20Recipient%3A%22Cooper%2C%20Samuel %22&s= 1111312111&sa=franklin%2C%20&r= 14&sr=cooper (footnote omitted).

(311.) See Letter from Johann Rudolph Tschiffely to Benjamin Franklin from Johann Rudolph Tschiffely (Aug. 1, 1778), available at 20Johann%20Rudolph%22&s=1111312111&sa=ts&r=1&sr= ("Je me propose de faire connoitre incessament ces belles Loix, non seulement a ma patrie mais a l'Allemagne et a l'ltalie; la traduction pour ce dernier Pays se fera sous mes yeux, et l'allemande sera de ma main; Persone ne la feroit avec plus d'attention et plus de zele.").

(312.) Chinard, supra note 263, at 233-34; Peter M. Ascoli, American Propaganda in the French Language Press During the American Revolution, in La REVOLUTION AMERICAINE ET L'EUROPE 291-307 (1979).

(313.) Benjamin Franklin, Information to Those Who Would Remove to America, in THE WORKS OF THE LATE DR. BENJAMIN FRANKLIN; CONSISTING OF HIS LIFE, WRITTEN BY HIMSELF 247, 249 (1815).

(314.) Compare ALBERT O. HIRSCHMAN, EXIT, VOICE, AND LOYALTY: RESPONSES TO DECLINE IN FIRMS, ORGANIZATIONS, AND STATES (1970), for these different strategies members can use when confronting a distressed organization, including a political state. Franklin's promotion and others like it did encourage some in France to purchase American land. See generally SIMON DESJARDINS & PIERRE PHAROUX, CASTORLAND JOURNAL: AN ACCOUNT OF THE EXPLORATION AND SETTLEMENT OF NORTHERN NEW YORK STATE BY FRENCH EMIGRES IN THE YEARS 1793 TO 1797 (John A. Gallucci ed. & trans., 2010).

(315.) See FABRY, supra note 56, at 26-36.

(316.) See id. at 29-30 (providing summary of competing interpretations of timing of France's decision).

(317.) See id. at 29.

(318.) See id. at 34-35.

   To sum up so far, the United States became widely recognized and
   thus admitted into international society only after it had become
   acknowledged as independent by its parent country. To treat it as a
   sovereign state before this acknowledgment was considered by most
   states to be a hostile act violating the rights of the British
   crown. Such act was expected to engender the gravest of
   consequences, including a declaration of war by the injured state,
   and recognition was therefore regarded as a matter of utmost


(319.) See FABRY, supra note 56, at 31 (describing recognition of Netherlands).

(320.) See GREWE, supra note 50, at 343-48 (explaining theory of recognition); HENRY WHEATON, HISTORY OF THE LAW OF NATIONS IN EUROPE AND AMERICA; FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES TO THE TREATY OF WASHINGTON, 1842, at 290-95 (1845) (discussing problem of recognition during American Revolution).

(321.) See Ascoli, supra note 312, at 303-04 (noting Franklin's inactivity).

(322.) See id. at 304 (describing Franklin as diplomat).

(323.) See generally id.

(324.) Letter from John Adams to Edme Jacques Genet (Feb. 18, 1780), available at http://founders.archives .gov/?q=%20Author%3A%22Adams%2C%20John%22%20Recipient%3A%22Genet%2C%20Edm%C3%A9 %20Jacques%22&s= 1111312111&sa=adams%2C%20j&r=12&sr=genet (alterations in original).

(325.) See Ascoli, supra note 312, at 296-302, on Adams's promotional efforts in France and the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Adams worked closely with C. W. F. Dumas, "the first American diplomat." J. W. Schulte Nordholt, Dumas, The First American Diplomat, 35-36 NEW EDINBURGH REV. 17 (1976). The pan-European Dumas (he was German-born with French parents and was raised largely in Switzerland) embraced the Revolution from the outset and worked for fifteen years as an American diplomat at the Hague, vindicating American interests in Europe with no obvious benefit to himself other than his own sense of being on the right side of history. Id. at 18-19.

(326.) See 18 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 1217.

(327.) See id.

   Resolved, That a committee of three be appointed to collect and
   cause to be published 200 correct copies of the declaration of
   independence, the articles of confederation and perpetual union,
   the alliances between these United States and his Most Christian
   Majesty, with the constitutions or forms of government of the
   several states, to be bound together in boards.


(328.) See WOOD, supra note 229, at 196-200.


(330.) See generally id.

(331.) N.Y. CONST. of 1777 art. XXXV; see CONSTITUTIONS DES TREIZE ETATS-UNIS DE L'AMERIQUE, supra note 329, at 159 n.3.

(332.) See CONSTITUTIONS DES TREIZE ETATS-UNIS DE L'AMERIQUE, supra note 329, at 159 n.3 ("On appelle Loi commune en Angleterre, le Corps de Loix qui a ete redige d'apres des usages anciennement etablis, ce qui repond au Droit Coutumier de France" and "[l]a Loi des Statuts, est le Corps des Loix faites par la puissance legislatrice depuis qu'elle a pris une forme reguliere.").

(333.) See id. at 3 n.1.

(334.) Compare WOOD, supra note 129, at 306-43 (1969) (examining centrality of conventions in American constitution-making), with BAKER, supra note 290, at 296-98 (discussing conventions in French revolutionary political culture).

(335.) See Daniel Hulsebosch, Presentation at New York University School of Law Legal History Colloquium: Being Seen Like a State: The Constitution and Its International Audiences at the Founding (Sept. 13, 2011), on the problem of debt due to friends and enemies in the critical period.

(336.) Letter from Benjamin Franklin to Thomas Mifflin (Dec. 25, 1783), available at http://franklinpapers. org/franklin//framedVolumes.jsp (follow "unpub. 1783-1784" hyperlink, then follow "To Thomas Mifflin (unpublished)" hyperlink).

(337.) Id.

(338.) Id.

(339.) Id.

(340.) Id. Within a year, Thomas Jefferson arrived in Paris and added his own accounts of the state constitutions, focusing on Virginia's. See generally THOMAS JEFFERSON, NOTES ON THE STATE OF VIRGINIA (Infomotions, Inc., 2001). His account was more critical, but fitted in tone with the mix of criticism and appreciation circulating through the salons. See generally id. (responding to query thirteen on the state constitutions).

(341.) See George L. Sioussat, The Chevalier de la Luzerne and the Ratification of the Articles of Confederation by Maryland, 1780-1781: With Accompanying Documents, 60 PA. MAG. HIST. & BIOGRAPHY 391, 394 (1936).

(342.) See Treaty of Amity and Commerce U.S.-Fr., Feb. 6, 1778, 8 Stat. 12. The 1778 Treaty of Amity was made between "[t]he most Christian King and the thirteen United States of North America, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay Rhode-island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania Delaware, Maryland, Virginia North-Carolina, South Carolina & Georgia." Id. The American Model Treaty, on the other hand, anticipated a treaty "between A. and B.," not between A. and thirteen separate states. 5 JOURNALS OF THE CONTINENTAL CONGRESS 1774-1789, supra note 52, at 768. Congress nonetheless ratified the treaties itself, rather than sending them to the states for thirteen ratifications. See Treaty of Amity and Commerce, supra.

(343.) See VATTEL, supra note 18, at bk. 3, [section] 120 ("To enter [with troops through a neutral's] territory without his consent, is a violation of his rights of sovereignty and supreme dominion, by virtue which, that country is not to be disposed of for any use whatever, without his express or tacit permission.").

(344.) See supra notes 60-71 and accompanying text.


(346.) See Golove & Hulsebosch, supra note 8, at 961.

Daniel J. Hulsebosch, The Charles Seligson Professor of Law, New York University School of Law. The author is grateful for Dean Camille Nelson's invitation to present a version of this article as a Donahue Lecture in April 2013 at Suffolk University Law School, as well as for questions received from the audience. He is likewise grateful for comments and questions from participants at the Faculty Summer Workshop, NYU School of Law; the Atlantic World Workshop, NYU Department of History; the Legal History Colloquium, NYU School of Law; and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture Colloquium. Special thanks are due to Jose Alvarez, Lauren Benton, R.B. Bernstein, Erin Braatz, Adam Cox, Nicole Eustace, Barry Friedman, David Golove, Stephen Holmes, Jeremy Kessler, Daryl Levinson, Ben Lyons, T.A. Milford, Bill Nelson, Paul Polgar, Brett Rushforth, Eric Slauter, Karin Wulf, and Nadine Zimmerli. He is also grateful for the research assistance of Brittany Buccellato and Joshua Lobert and acknowledges the support of the Filomen D'Agostino and Max E. Greenberg Research Fund, NYU School of Law.
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Title Annotation:II. The States Together, and in the World through Conclusion, with footnotes, p. 790-822
Author:Hulsebosch, Daniel J.
Publication:Suffolk University Law Review
Date:Sep 22, 2014
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