Sustaining Precarious Authority: Polish-Style Self-Limits in America's First Decades


In the ratification debate over the U.S. Constitution, Poland’s constitution was regularly cited as a negative example—a constitutional form to avoid. But the most alert of the American Founders understood that even under a new federal constitution, American politics would have to contend with centrifugal forces analogous (in some ways) with those faced by the Poland of that era. In response to this challenge, early American statesmen developed self-limiting conventions in regard to tariffs, spending and foreign policy commitments—remedies analogous (in some ways) with those that operated in Poland before partition.