Causes and Effects of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776

Moses Mordecai Twersky, Providence College


The question that is explored in this thesis is the formation of democratic government in colonial Pennsylvania and post-colonial Pennsylvania. How the Charter of 1701 in colonial Pennsylvania laid the basis for the development of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. The methodology used in this historical examination of the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, its overturn and subsequent replacement by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1790, is to illustrate these events through the processes of law and the processes of revolution. The American Revolution had a critical impact on the nature of constitutional developments in Pennsylvania. But the processes of law always maintained itself. The parallel development of the U.S. Constitution of 1789 and its effects on Pennsylvania politics is also examined. Sub-topics that are discussed include the role of the frontier in Pennsylvania political development, the issue of community, the Bank of North America, and key episodes of violence that left their mark on the Pennsylvania polity.