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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh, Canada!

In reviewing the Articles of Confederation for the first day of Con Law I, I am reminded of one of its most curious provisions:

Article XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

Who has the goods on how and why this provision is there (and why Canada doesn't get the same treatment by the Constitution)?  One theory, in this article, is "fear--fear that the Revolutionary cause would be imperiled if Canada were permitted to return to its former role as a base of anti-American military and Indian operations."  Any other views?  SparkNotes offer the commensensical view that the US was eager to get Canada aboard to kick Great Britain off the continent altogether, so gave Canada an open invitation.  That doesn't, however, explain its exclusion from the ultimate Constitution a few years later.

Posted by Ethan Leib on August 15, 2007 at 02:47 PM in Constitutional thoughts | Permalink


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To have included the Canada provision in the Constitution would have violated the Paris Peace Treaty of 1783.

Posted by: Francisco Forrest Martin | Aug 17, 2007 12:34:17 PM

"That doesn't, however, explain its exclusion from the ultimate Constitution a few years later."

States might have been concerned about dilution of their power under a more centralized system.

Posted by: Bart Motes | Aug 15, 2007 7:00:49 PM

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