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What is the implication of the difference in verb tense between these two grammatical constructions?

Besides, President Jackson pointed out that the Constitution itself states “no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state.”

Besides, President Jackson pointed out that the Constitution itself stated “no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state.”
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[1] Jackson pointed out that the Constitution itself states "no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state."
[2] Jackson pointed out that the Constitution itself stated "no new state shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state."

The construction of [2] is normal as an indirect affirmative speech.
The construction of [1] emphasizes that what the Constitution states itself is true even now.

paco
Thank you.
A follow-up question: If the context of that sentence is an historical analysis of the way in which President Jackson handled the debate between the citizens of Georgia and the Cherokee nation on the issue of self-governance, is one construction more correct than the other?

(I am the original guest questioner...now a registered member.)
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Hello Davkett

Welcome to EnglishForward!

Your question is quite difficult for me to answer, as I'm a mere English learner from Japan and don't know much about the history of the United States. I think the answer will depend on the author's view on Jackson's policy toward the Cherokee people. If the author supports Jackson's policy, "states" could be a possible choice. Otherwise "stated" will be a more incontroversial choice. But it's my personal opinion. I hope any of our teachers (moderators) will come to answer to this question. Sorry for my incompetence.

paco
On the contrary. I think your view at least begins to clarify the matter. I would enjoy this more as a grey area.

The sentence was from an essay written by my 16-year old daughter for a 10th grade History class. She got a half-grade deduction for not using the past tense "stated". I felt there was an argument for the present tense. I thought the main verb, "pointed", sufficiently put the statement in the past tense, but...I'm neither a teacher of English, nor American History.
Hello Davkett

This is my humble knowledge. As far as I know the dispute over Georgians vs Cherokees took place in 1830 and the Supreme Court then made a decision favoring an independent Cherokee nation, to which Andrew Jackson contested on the basis of Constitution statement. But the Constitution statement was nullified when West Virginia got the independence from Virginia in 1863. I think, therefore, the interpretation of the Constitution at the time of Jackson's Presidency is not valid now. If I am right, "states" in your daughter's essay will not be good historically rather than grammatically.

paco
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Thank you for the additional historical facts. They underscore the point you made in your original response.
(The remaining question in my mind, as parent, is whether the grammatical error deserves a reduction of the grade B to B-.)
The remaining question in my mind, as parent, is whether the grammatical error deserves a reduction of the grade B to B-


As to this, I can say nothing.
If I were the teacher of your daughter's, I would like to change the grade to A+, but ....

paco
Certainly not deserving of any kind of grade reduction, as both forms are perfectly acceptable. Paco has given a nice exegesis--
The construction of [2] is normal as an indirect affirmative speech.
The construction of [1] emphasizes that what the Constitution states itself is true even now.


-- which has taken the words right out of my mouth.

And it has nothing to do with historical analysis-- it merely reflects a nuance of the writer's subconscious mindset at the time-- if I am thinking of Jackson back in the 1800s, then I might use 'stated'; if I am thinking of our Constitution as a written document still in existence, then I might use 'states'-- that is all.
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