The significance of signatures: Why the framers signed the constitution and what they meant by doing so
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jonathan Jenkins Ichikawa
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In this article, I discuss the signatures on the U.S. Constitution. I begin with a historical account of the Constitution's signing, noting in particular that unlike its ancestors, the Constitution was signed well before it began to assume legal status. I then explore the ways in which the Constitution's signatures served as useful advertisements for the document during ratification. Finally, I demonstrate that the Constitution's signatures (and the clause introducing them) gave rise to considerable interpretive ambiguity during both the Constitutional Convention and the ratification process that followed.
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