The Constitutional Contributions of John Dickinson

64 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2012

See all articles by Robert G. Natelson

Robert G. Natelson

Independence & Montana Policy Institutes

Date Written: 2004


John Dickinson, described by one leading constitutional historian as the most under-rated of the Founders, had a significant influence on the U.S. Constitution: as a drafter of state papers, principal drafter of the Articles of Confederation, important delegate to the Constitutional Convention, and leading advocate for ratification. Several important provisions in the document are based on his ideas.

Moreover, recent historical discoveries suggest that his influence at the Convention was greater than heretofore known. This Article explores Dickinson's imprint on the Constitution.

Keywords: constitution, founders, John Dickinson, Dickinson, original understanding, original intent, original meaning, constitutional convention, federal convention, 1787, convention delegates

JEL Classification: K1, K10, K19

Suggested Citation

Natelson, Robert G., The Constitutional Contributions of John Dickinson (2004). Penn State Law Review, Vol. 108, p. 415, 2003. Available at SSRN:

Robert G. Natelson (Contact Author)

Independence & Montana Policy Institutes ( email )

727 E. 16th Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
United States
303-279-6536 (Phone)


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