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A Declaration of Rights, and a plea of government for the State of New Hampshire,...

IMAGE number
GLC695970
Image title
A Declaration of Rights, and a plea of government for the State of New Hampshire, 1779 (litho)
Auto-translated text View Original Source
Artist
American School, (18th century) / American
Location
Gilder Lehrman Collection, New York, USA
Medium
lithograph
Date
1779 AD (C18th AD)
Dimensions
38x31.5 cms
Image description

Constitution for N.H. Printed by Zechariah Fowle. Evans 16386. Signed by John Langdon as President Pro Temp of the New Hampshire Legislature. The United States was the first modern nation to self-consciously design systems of government reflecting certain fundamental philosophical principles. After the country declared independence in 1776, many states drew up new constitutions that embodied republican ideals. A basic goal of the new state constitutions was to curb the kinds of abuses that provoked the Revolution. The British had lacked a written constitution; many Americans felt that a written constitution would be harder to violate. To keep state governments from abusing their power, the state constitutions included a bill of rights, which guaranteed certain elemental rights that government could not infringe, such as freedom of the press, freedom of religion, and the right to trial by jury. The new state constitutions also curbed executive power. Two states - Georgia and Pennsylvania - eliminated the position of governor altogether. The other states prohibited governors from vetoing laws, dissolving the state legislature, and granting land, and sharply limited their power to appoint government officials. The new state constitutions gave the legislature the most governmental power precisely because legislative assemblies had actively resisted attempts by royal governors and the king's ministers to violate their rights. But because they feared giving too much power to any one governmental body, all the states except Georgia and Pennsylvania divided the state legislature into two branches. As a symbol that the new state constitutions reflected the sovereignty of the people, the documents were typically drafted by special constitutional conventions rather than by state legislatures. The constitutions were then submitted to the people for approval.

Photo credit
© Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History / Bridgeman Images
Image keywords
18th century / USA / North America / America (continent) / republicanism / print / poster / states / broadside / constitution / civil rights / american history / sheet / the war for independence / american revolution / state / united states of america / government / usa / Engraving / Mzengraving

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Largest available format 3629 × 4488 px 3 MB
Dimension [pixels] Dimension in 300dpi [mm] File size [MB] Online Purchase
Large 3629 × 4488 px 307 × 380 mm 3.2 MB
Medium 828 × 1024 px 70 × 87 mm 1.2 MB

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