Chapter 9 - AP United States History
Unanimously elected chairman of the secret convention of demi-gods. n. Young _4_ Fifty-five demi-gods meet secretly in Philadelphia to draft a new charter of . The story of that creation in the summer of is itself a significant aspect in determining the meaning of the document. In June , amid. Put in Order: A. Fifty-five "demi-gods" meet secretly in Philadelphia to draft a new charter of government. B. The first American national government, more a.
That the lower house was to be elected directly by the voters was also accepted without major dispute.
Few agreed with Madison that its members should be elected by the lower house. James Wilson suggested election by popular vote versus election by state legislature, but his proposal was shot down 10—1 by the delegates. Local papers even said little about the meeting of the Convention. Front side of the Virginia Plan Besides the problems of direct election, the new Constitution was seen as such a radical break with the old system, by which delegates were elected to the Confederation Congress by state legislatures, that the Convention agreed to retain this method of electing senators to make the constitutional change less radical.
The Connecticut delegation offered a compromisewhereby the number of representatives for each state in the lower house would be apportioned based on the relative size of the state's population, while the number of representatives in the upper house would be the same for all of the states, irrespective of size. The large states, fearing a diminution of their influence in the legislature under this plan, opposed this proposal.
Unable to reach agreement, the delegates decided to leave this issue for further consideration later during the meeting. The delegates couldn't agree on whether the executive should be a single person, or a board of three. Many wished to limit the power of the executive and thus supported the proposal to divide the executive power between three persons.
Another issue concerned the election of the president. Few agreed with Madison that the executive should be elected by the legislature.
There was widespread concern with direct election, because information diffused so slowly in the late 18th century, and because of concerns that people would only vote for candidates from their state or region.
What year fifty five demigods meet secretly in Philadelphia to draft a new charter of government
A vocal minority wanted the national executive to be chosen by the governors of the states. At the time, before the formation of modern political partiesthere was widespread concern that candidates would routinely fail to secure a majority of electors in the electoral college. The method of resolving this problem therefore was a contested issue.
Most thought that the house should then choose the president, since it most closely reflected the will of the people. This caused dissension among delegates from smaller states, who realized that this would put their states at a disadvantage. To resolve this dispute, the Convention agreed that the house would elect the president if no candidate had an electoral college majority, but that each state delegation would vote as a bloc, rather than individually.
In its report to the Convention on July 5, the committee offered a compromise. The large states had opposed the Connecticut Compromisebecause they felt it gave too much power to the smaller states.
Constitutional Convention (United States)
The Grand Committee's proposal added the requirement that revenue bills originate in the lower house and not be subject to modification by the upper house although this Origination Clause would later be modified so that revenue bills could be amended in the upper house, or Senate.
Nationalist delegates remained bitterly opposed, however, until on July 23 they succeeded in further modifying the compromise to give members of the Senate individual voting power, rather than having votes taken by each state's representatives en bloc, as had occurred in Congress under the Articles of Confederation.
Though the committee did not record minutes of its proceedings, three key surviving documents offer clues to the committee's handiwork: Stewart has called a "remarkable copy-and-paste job. However, Rutledge, himself a former state governor, was determined that while the new national government should be stronger than the Confederation government had been, the national government's power over the states should not be limitless; and at Rutledge's urging, the committee went beyond what the Convention had proposed.
As Stewart describes it, the committee "hijacked" and remade the Constitution, altering critical agreements the Convention delegates had already made, enhancing the powers of the states at the expense of the national government, and adding several far-reaching provisions that the Convention had never discussed.
He argued for a federal government of limited power. The first major change, insisted on by Rutledge, was meant to sharply curtail the essentially unlimited powers to legislate "in all cases for the general interests of the Union" that the Convention only two weeks earlier had agreed to grant the Congress.
Rutledge and Randolph worried that the broad powers implied in the language agreed on by the Convention would have given the national government too much power at the expense of the states. In Randolph's outline the committee replaced that language with a list of 18 specific "enumerated" powers, many adopted from the Articles of Confederation, that would strictly limit the Congress' authority to measures such as imposing taxes, making treaties, going to war, and establishing post offices.
Over the course of a series of drafts, a catchall provision the " Necessary and Proper Clause " was eventually added, most likely by Wilson, a nationalist little concerned with the sovereignty of individual states, giving the Congress the broad power "to make all Laws that shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
On the day the Convention had agreed to appoint the committee, Southerner Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, of South Carolina, had warned of dire consequences should the committee fail to include protections for slavery in the Southern states, or allow for taxing of Southern agricultural exports.
The proposed language would bar the Congress from ever interfering with the slave trade. It would also prohibit taxation of exports, and would require that any legislation concerning regulation of foreign commerce through tariffs or quotas that is, any laws akin to England's " Navigation Acts " pass only with two-thirds majorities of both houses of Congress.
While much of the rest of the committee's report would be accepted without serious challenge on the Convention floor, these last three proposals would provoke outrage from Northern delegates and slavery opponents. Even after it issued this report, the committee continued to meet off and on until early September.
Further modifications and concluding debate[ edit ] Another month of discussion and relatively minor refinement followed, during which several attempts were made to alter the Rutledge draft, though few were successful.
Some wanted to add property qualifications for people to hold office, while others wanted to prevent the national government from issuing paper money.
One important change that did make it into the final version included the agreement between northern and southern delegates to empower Congress to end the slave trade starting in Southern and northern delegates also agreed to strengthen the Fugitive Slave Clause in exchange for removing a requirement that two-thirds of Congress agree on "navigation acts" regulations of commerce between states and foreign governments. The two-thirds requirement was favored by southern delegates, who thought Congress might pass navigation acts that would be economically harmful to slaveholders.
The Committee of Detail was considering several questions related to habeas corpusfreedom of the pressand an executive council to advise the president. Two committees addressed questions related to the slave trade and the assumption of war debts. A new committee was created, the Committee on Postponed Parts, to address other questions that had been postponed. Its members, such as Madison, were delegates who had shown a greater desire for compromise and were chosen for this reason as most in the Convention wanted to finish their work and go home.
The biggest issue they addressed was the presidency, and the final compromise was written by Madison with the committee's input. The committee also shortened the president's term from seven years to four years, freed the president to seek re-election after an initial term, and moved impeachment trials from the courts to the Senate.
They also created the office of the vice president, whose only roles were to succeed a president unable to complete a term of office, to preside over the Senate, and to cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate. The committee transferred important powers from the Senate to the president, for example the power to make treaties and appoint ambassadors.
The problem had resulted from the understanding that the president would be chosen by Congress; the decision to have the president be chosen instead by an electoral college reduced the chance of the president becoming beholden to Congress, so a shorter term with eligibility for re-election became a viable option.
Near the end of the Convention, Gerry, Randolph, and Mason emerged as the main force of opposition. Their fears were increased as the Convention moved from Madison's vague Virginia Plan to the concrete plan of Rutledge's Committee of Detail.
- 7 Things You May Not Know About the Constitutional Convention
The main objection of the three was the compromise that would allow Congress to pass "navigation acts" with a simple majority in exchange for strengthened slave provisions. Though most of their complaints did not result in changes, a couple did.
Mason succeeded in adding "high crimes and misdemeanors" to the impeachment clause. Gerry also convinced the Convention to include a second method for ratification of amendments. The report out of the Committee of Detail had included only one mechanism for constitutional amendment, in which two-thirds of the states had to ask Congress to convene a convention for consideration of amendments.
Upon Gerry's urging, the Convention added back the Virginia Plan's original method whereby Congress would propose amendments that the states would then ratify. Despite their successes, these three dissenters grew increasingly unpopular as most other delegates wanted to bring the Convention's business to an end and return home.
Introduction to the Constitutional Convention | Teaching American History
As the Convention was drawing to a conclusion, and delegates prepared to refer the Constitution to the Committee on Style to pen the final version, one delegate raised an objection over civil trials.
He wanted to guarantee the right to a jury trial in civil matters, and Mason saw in this a larger opportunity. Mason told the Convention that the constitution should include a bill of rightswhich he thought could be prepared in a few hours.
Gerry agreed, though the rest of the committee overruled them. They wanted to go home, and thought this was nothing more than another delaying tactic. Most of the Convention's delegates thought that states already protected individual rights, and that the Constitution did not authorize the national government to take away rights, so there was no need to include protections of rights.
Once the Convention moved beyond this point, the delegates addressed a couple of last-minute issues. Importantly, they modified the language that required spending bills to originate in the House of Representatives and be flatly accepted or rejected, unmodified, by the Senate. The new language empowered the Senate to modify spending bills proposed by the House. Signing of the United States Constitution U. Postage, Issue ofdepicting Delegates at the signing of the Constitution, engraving after a painting by Junius Brutus Stearns  Once the final modifications had been made, the Committee of Style and Arrangement was appointed "to revise the style of and arrange the articles which had been agreed to by the house.
Its members were mostly in favor of a strong national government and unsympathetic to calls for states' rights. On Wednesday, September 12, the report of the "committee of style" was ordered printed for the convenience of the delegates.
For three days, the Convention compared this final version with the proceedings of the Convention. The Constitution was then ordered engrossed on Saturday, September 15 by Jacob Shallus, and was submitted for signing on September It made at least one important change to what the Convention had agreed to; King wanted to prevent states from interfering in contracts.
Although the Convention never took up the matter, his language was now inserted, creating the contract clause. Not all the delegates were pleased with the results; thirteen left before the ceremony, and three of those remaining refused to sign: George Mason demanded a Bill of Rights if he was to support the Constitution. The Bill of Rights was not included in the Constitution submitted to the states for ratification, but many states ratified the Constitution with the understanding that a bill of rights would soon follow.
A similar measure had been proposed earlier, and failed by one vote. George Washington spoke up here, making his only substantive contribution to the text of the Constitution in supporting this move. The Convention adopted it without further debate. Gorham would sign the document, although he had openly doubted whether the United States would remain a single, unified nation for more than years. Their views were summed up by Benjamin Franklinwho said, "I confess that There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.
I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies Therefore, as George Washington stated, the document was executed by "eleven states, and Colonel Hamilton.
At the time the document was signed, Franklin gave a persuasive speech involving an anecdote on a sun that was painted on the back of Washington's Chippendale chair. Whilst the last members were signing it Doctor. New York incorporated the entire Declaration of Independence into its constitution.
The primary purpose of these declarations and bills was to outline the objectives of government: All accepted the notion that the legislative branch should be preeminent, but, at the very same time, endorsed the concept that the liberty of the people was in danger from the corruption of the representatives. And this despite the fact that the representatives were installed by the election of the people. Thus, each state constitution embraced the notion of short terms of office for elected representatives along with recall, rotation, and term limits.
The Second Continental Congress also created the first continental-wide system of governance. The Articles of Confederation created a nation of pre-existing states rather than a government over individuals. Thus, the very idea of a Bill of Rights was irrelevant because the Articles did not entail a government over individuals. Amendments required the unanimous approval of all thirteen state legislatures.
These two directives produced two opposite and rival situations: Several statesmen, especially George Washingtonwere concerned that the idea of an American mind that had emerged during the war with Britain was about to disappear and the Articles of Confederation were inadequate to foster the development of an American character.
And there was nothing that the union government could do about it because the Articles left matters of religion and commerce to the states. The solution, concluded Madisonwas to create an extended republic, in which a variety of opinions, passions, and interests would check and balance each other, supported by a governmental framework that endorsed a separation of powers between the branches of the general government.
Matters changed, however, in The people have the right to choose the form of government under which they shall live and to install such government as they deem appropriate to secure their liberty, security, and happiness.
The Selection of the Delegates Madison and Washington agreed that the principles of the Revolution of were in danger due to a weak continental arrangement and overbearing, unjust, and reckless state legislatures. But how could they take advantage of the opportunity provided by the Annapolis recommendation? How was such a bold proposal to be put into effect? Madison persuaded the Virginia Legislature to implement the challenge of the Annapolis Convention and invite all the other states to also reconsider the status of the Articles.
Pennsylvania selected eight delegates: Thomas Mifflin was elected as the leader of the delegation; he was speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly. All the delegates from Pennsylvania resided in Philadelphia. Former Governor Alexander Martin was chosen to lead the North Carolina delegation, but left before the signing. In he was killed in a duel. Howard Christy gives this central signing honors in his commemoration of the Constitution. Jacob Broom and Richard Bassett. Other states, however, were more cautious and wanted the existing Congress to address the legitimacy of such a gathering.
The recommendatory act of Congress reads thus: New York was the first state to act after the Congressional endorsement. The New York delegation was not particularly prominent at the Convention. Yates and Lansing left in early July, just prior to the passage of the Connecticut Compromise, and the year-old Hamiltonwho lost his life at age 49 in a duel with Aaron Burr, was far more influential in securing the adoption of the Constitution in than in its framing in Four days before the Convention began, Connecticut elected three delegates: William Samuel Johnsonwho learned of his appointment to the Presidency of Columbia College on his way to Philadelphia, Roger Shermanwho signed both the Declaration and the Articlesand year-old Oliver Ellsworth who had the reputation of talking to himself and being a chain chewer of snuff.
He was joined by year-old bachelor, Daniel of St. New Hampshire was short of cash so John Langdon funded the expenses for himself and Nicholas Gilman ; they arrived at the Convention on July 23, after the main debate over the Connecticut Compromise was completed and yet just in time for a one-week recess. Rhode Island, the thirteenth state, declined to send delegates. Alexis de Tocqueville marveled at the work of the American Founders: Madisonin Federalist 37, indicates the uniqueness of the Founding: And Hamiltonin Federalist 1, suggested that this was a unique event in the history of the world; finally government was going to be established by reflection and choice rather than force and fraud.
And what is also unique is the fact that the framers were relatively youngwell educatedand politically experienced.
Like the Declaration of Independencethe Constitution was written by delegates immersed in 1 the writings of Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, and Montesquieu, and 2 a world of political experience at both the state and continental level.
Both basic documents were written in Independence HallPhiladelphia, and thirty signers of the Declaration in played a vital part in the creation and adoption of the Constitution How to Read the Convention Very few of the delegates selected were present at the appointed time for the meeting of the Grand Convention in Philadelphia on May 14, All the Virginia delegates were present, however, and fully settled into their accommodations.