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Constitution Laws Essay


Alexander Hamilton- saved convention in Maryland from failure by engineering the adoption of his report; called upon congress to summon a convention in Philadelphia next year not to deal with commerce; His speech on his plan= 1 delegate convinced; Joined John Jay & Madison in writing The Federalist

George Washington- elected chairman by demand; said, “We have probably had too good an opinion of human nature in forming our Confederation”

Ben Franklin- added the urbanity of an elder statesman though he was inclined to be indiscreetly talkative in his decline years; the convention assigned chaperones to Franklin to make sure he held his tongue

James Madison- made contributions so notable = “The father of the constitution” ; wrote federalist #1 and refuted that it is impossible to extend republican form of government over large territory

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Thomas Paine- absent in convention because they were in Europe

Sam Adams and John Hancock- were absent because not elected by Mass.

Patrick Henry- not at convention because he was chosen by Virginia but declined to serve; professed to fee in fearsome doc. the death warrant of liberty

Dey of Algiers- drove delegates to their work to their work; was a founding father

Daniel Shays- frightened the conservative minded delegates; the specter of the recent outburst in Mass was alarming & now another founding father

Lord Sheffield- British mercantilists spurred constitution framers to their task; Also a founding father


Annapolis Convention – nine states appointed delegates but only five appointed – fix issue on commerce by Alexander Hamilton

Congress calls another Convention- reluctant but called then called to revise the Articles of Confederation; most Revolutionary leaders of 1776 absent

Philadelphia Convention May 25-September 17,1787- only 42 of original 55 members remained to sign Constitution (3 refused & returned to resist ratification)

Large State Plan- pushed as the framework of the constitution; its essence was that representation in both houses of a bicameral congress should be based on population (large states have advantage)

Small State Plan- included VA & NJ; provided equal representation in a unicameral congress by states, regardless of size & population under the AOC

Great Compromise- hammered out & agreed upon; large states represented by population in HOR; each state no matter how big or small had 2 senators

End of 1807- slave trade turned off but only Georgia allowed

Elections held to for members in states to of the ratifying convention- feds or antis were elected on a basis of their pledge for/against the Constitution; Penn first state to accept constitution; Mass provided acid test- if failed the constitution would be bogged down

Boston Ratifying Convention- the absence of the bill of rights feared anti- federalist but federalists assured them that the 1st congress would add such a safeguard by amendment

Constitution adopted June 21, 1788- 9 states expect VA,NY,NC & Ohio ratified the constitution

Virginia ratified Constitution- Virginia ratified Constitution—provided fierce anti-federalist opposition; George Washington, James Madison, and John Marshall (federalists) lent influential support; could not continue as an independent state because the new Union was going to be formed anyway

New York Ratified the Constitution- realized it cannot be an independent state & prosper away from the union; approved 32 proposed amendments; issued a call for another convention to modify the Constitution

Convention met in North Carolina—adjourned without taking a vote

Rhode Island rejected the Constitution—did not summon a ratifying convention; rejected by popular referendum


The Federalist- John Jay, Madison, and Hamilton write series of articles for New York news; designed as propaganda but remained most penetrating commentary ever written in Constitution


Constitution – provided for a strong, independent executive in presidency (president= military chief, have wide powers of appointment to domestic offices, & have veto power over leg.); plenty of compromises ( electing president by indirect by electoral college); would become the supreme law of the land in the states ratifying; adopted on June 21, 1788; reconcild principles of liberty & order

3/5s Compromise- the consituttion questioned if slaves counted as a person in direct taxes; decided slaves counted as 3/5 of a person

Articles of Confederation- delegates decided to rid of the old confederation, despite explicit instruction from Congress to revise ; these spirits were determined to overthrow the government in the US by peaceful means


Strengthen Republic (republicanism) – delegates hoped to crystallize idealism into a stable political structure; wanted a firm, strong, & respected government; determined to preserve the union, forestall anarchy, and ensure security of life and property against dangerous uprisings; sought to curb the unrestrained democracy rampant in the states

Conservatism- safeguards= erected against mob- rule excesses while republican gains of Revolution= conserved

Rid of AOC- determined to overthrow the government of US by peaceful means (see events)

Manhood suffrage democracy- convention was unanimous in believing in this; government by democratic babblers (feared & fought)

Presidency (president) – a president should be a military chief and have wide of power of appointment to domestic offices;& have veto power over legislation


State Legislatures – chose leaders whose members had been elected by voters who could qualify as property holders for the convention that revised the AOC

Demigods- the caliber of the participants= extradinary high elected GW as chairman

55 delegates at the convention- 95% owned slaves; young but experienced statesmen; nationalists interesting in preserving/ strengthening the young republic; preserved the union, forestall anarchy, & ensure security of life & property

Travel-stained delegates- reached Philadelphia and decided to scrap the old AOC

House of Representative- represented the larger states by population; every tax bill and revenue must originate in the house; were citizens permitted to choose officials by direct vote

Senate – made smaller states have equal representation; each had to senators

Members of the constitutional convention- saw eye-to-eye; they demanded money & protection of private property; favored a stronger government with 3 branches

Conservative minded delegates – erected safeguards against the excesses of the mob & made strong barriers

Anti- Federalists- opposed stronger federal government; were arrayed against the the feds.; wanted to steal back power; leaders: Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, & Richard Henry Lee; believed sovereignty of people resided in the legislative

Federalists- favored the new Constitution; had power & influence; support of George Washington and Franklin; wealthier/ more educated and organized then antifederalists; controlled the press; contender every branch, executive, judiciary, & legislative; thought by settling the drifting ship of state on steady course, they could restore economic & political stability

Militant minority of conservatives- Engineered the peaceful revolution that overthrow the inadequate constitution= AOC

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