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Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention. James Madison. Madison comes to the convention convinced of the need to create a centralized government. Why? The 13 states were creating such a shifting patchwork of laws that it was difficult to keep up

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Constitutional Convention

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  1. Constitutional Convention

  2. James Madison • Madison comes to the convention convinced of the need to create a centralized government. Why? • The 13 states were creating such a shifting patchwork of laws that it was difficult to keep up • Current situation undermines belief in Republicanism as legislatures can easily dupe local people as well as pursue dangerous ideas (Mass was discussing creating a regional defense organization, Georgia conducted its own foreign policy with Native tribes, New York was protecting privateers raiding Dutch ships)

  3. James Madison Cont. • The masses can also be a source of tyranny (RI inflation hurts national reputation and local economy, Shay’s rebellion) • Solution – enlarge the sphere so it is harder to create permanent majority, draw a better group of representatives, make more consistent law == weaken the states

  4. May 28-29, 1787 – Committee of Rules established to lay down rules for the convention: • Secrecy – all deliberations would be secret – Madison’s notes published in 1840 • No issue was considered closed and could be revisited at any time • Each state got one vote and a majority of each state’s delegation had to be present and in agreement in order to have vote counted • Each delegate could speak only twice until after everyone else had the opportunity- no one could speak more than twice on each issue without special permission of the convention members • All comments were made to the president of the convention (Washington) • Everyone was expected to pay strict attention to what was said  

  5. May 29 – Virginia plan introduced: Virginia Plan removed the state legislatures both structurally, and in terms of powers, from any place in the new continental arrangement. Most importantly, • The National Legislature should consist of two branches. • The people of each State should elect the First Branch of the National Legislature. The Second Branch of the National Legislature should be elected by the first. • The National Legislature shall have power "to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent," and "to negative all laws passed by the States, contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles of Union." • The National Legislature shall elect a National Executive. • The Executive and a number of National Judiciary will form a Council of Revision. This Council will review laws passed by the National Legislature and have the power to reject the laws, unless the National Legislature can pass the act again. • The National Legislature will create the National Judiciary. The structure will consist of one or more supreme tribunals and inferior tribunals. Judges will be appointed for life, during good behavior. • State Legislatures, Executives, and Judges are to be bound by oath to support the Articles. • The new plan for government should be ratified by the people, through assemblies of representatives chosen by the people. (source: Gordon Lloyd) • (note: legislative is very powerful with no executive veto, limited judicial review = Council of Revision)

  6. May 31 – Convention approves direct election of House, but not the Senate. Madison notes “a chasm is left in this part of the plan.” • June 11 – Madison wins a key vote on the Virginia plan in which the House and the Senate seats will both be based on population as elected by local people – Pennsylvania delegate James Wilson attempts to cement North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia by offering that slave populations will be counted as 3/5ths, the matter is discussed only that day – North Carolina is a swing vote and helps defeat a proposal from Conn delegate Roger Sherman that would make the Senate elected by the state legislatures, with each state having the same # of votes. • The Sherman proposal comes up repeatedly in the next five weeks

  7. June 14 – introduction of the New Jersey Plan • New Jersey Plan restored the single chamber structure of the articles where each state was represented equally. Power to tax and regulate interstate commerce were added to the powers that the union had – states retained their sovereignty – the executive would be elected to a one year term and could be removed at any time by the legislature, members of Congress would be elected to one year term and subject to immediate withdrawal, supreme court primarily limited to border disputes between states

  8. June 18 – Hamilton introduces his plan which would have one branch of the legislature (The Senate) and the executive hold office for life (or at least until good behavior) Madison notes the plan was "approved by all and supported by none." It was not discussed, nor voted upon.

  9. July 16 –Madison loses key vote and the Senate becomes elected by the state legislatures (plus each state will have an equal number of votes) – Congress is now an agent of popular sovereignty (House) and state sovereignty (Senate) – North Carolina’s swing vote is crucial – This is known as the Conn Compromise (in that Madison lets the matter rest) -- Madison begins working on expanding checks and balances as he no longer trusts a Congress that is so heavily influenced by the states (in the Senate)

  10. Sept 17, 1787 – 41 of the original 55 delegates sign the new constitution • Five states ratify in the fall – Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, • February 1788 Massachusetts -- starts 177 yes – 178 no – ends: 187 yes 168 no • June 1788 New Hampshire -- starts 52-52, ends 57-47 • June 1788 Virginia – starts 84-84, ends 89-79 • June 1788 New York – 19-46, end 30-27 (thanks to Hamilton, moderate anti-federalists, the federalist papers • March 1789 – Congress meets • June 1789 – Madison submits 12 amendments to Congress – 10 will be ratified, creating bill of rights • Nov 1789 – North Carolina ratifies Constitution 194-77 • May 1790 – Rhode Island ratifies Constitution 34-32

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