IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/ucp/jlstud/v38y2009i2p533-567.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Constitutional Agreement during the Drafting of the Constitution: A New Interpretation

Author

Listed:
  • Ben Baack
  • Robert A. McGuire
  • T. Norman Van Cott

Abstract

We provide a new interpretation of one of the "great" but in our view "failed" North-South agreements during the U.S. Constitution's drafting. In 1787, lower South delegates to the Constitutional Convention reputedly settled for a simple-majority congressional vote for commercial regulations in exchange for northern delegates reputedly agreeing to limitations on national slave import restrictions and an export tariff prohibition. We document that the overall South gained little from the agreement because (1) import taxes are de facto export taxes, (2) the simple-majority rule was costly to southern interests, and (3) the slave import provision was limited. The agreement represents serious economic and political miscalculation by southern framers. Because the agreement was at a constitutional level, it endowed the nation with decades of unforeseen and unintended constitutional and sectional conflict that played a critical role in American public finance and southern secession and has important implications for contemporary constitution making. (c) 2009 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Ben Baack & Robert A. McGuire & T. Norman Van Cott, 2009. "Constitutional Agreement during the Drafting of the Constitution: A New Interpretation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(2), pages 533-567, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:38:y:2009:i:2:p:533-567
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/597327
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Anderson, Gary Michael & Rowley, Charles K & Tollison, Robert D, 1988. "Rent Seeking and the Restriction of Human Exchange," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 83-100, January.
    2. Smith, Adam, 1776. "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, number smith1776.
    3. Robert A. McGuire & T. Norman Van Cott, 2002. "The Confederate Constitution, Tariffs, and the Laffer Relationship," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(3), pages 428-438, July.
    4. McGuire, Robert A., 2003. "To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of United States Constitution," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195139709.
    5. Beard, Charles A., 1913. "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 127, number beard1913.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:38:y:2009:i:2:p:533-567. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division). General contact details of provider: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/ .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.