Disagreement At The Constitutional Convention Of 1787 Was Resolved By A Compromise That

17 sept Disagreement At The Constitutional Convention Of 1787 Was Resolved By A Compromise That

Before the Convention officially began, Madison and the other Virginia delegates had drawn up a plan — the Virginia Plan — to correct the articles of the Confederacy. Their plan went far beyond amendments and corrections and did indeed present a brand new government instrument. The plan provided for three distinct branches of government: the legislature, the executive and the judiciary. The legislature would have two houses, the first being chosen by the citizens of each state and the second from the first house on a list drawn up by state legislators. On Monday, September 17, as delegates gathered to sign the Constitution, Benjamin Franklin had prepared a speech. The Constitution may not be perfect, he said, but « I can`t help but express the wish that any member of the Convention who still opposes it . . . To make our unanimity a manifesto, let us put its name to this instrument. And all but three of the 44 delegates present signed, including Eldridge Gerry of Massachusetts, who said he feared a « civil war » in its original state and wished the plan had been « put in place in a more eloquent form to mitigate the heat and resistance of the parties. » The work ended at 4 a.m. when, according to George Washington`s diary, « the members adjourned in the City Tavern, ate together, and besieged each other. » The convention also debated whether the new federal government should ban the importation of enslaved persons from outside the United States, including directly from Africa.

They finally agreed to allow Congress to ban it if it decided, but not for twenty years. What is remarkable is one of the few clauses in the Constitution that could not be amended. It was not until 1808 that the United States formally banned the international slave trade. On June 30, Connecticut delegates proposed a compromise. According to Madison`s notes, they proposed that « the share of the right to vote in the 1st branch should be based on the number of free inhabitants; and that in the second branch or the Senate, each state should have a single vote and no more. The proposal did not stop the fierce opposition and lively debate. Some delegates began to leave in protest and a sense of darkness imposed itself on the state house. « It seems, » Sherman says, « we`re at a point where we can`t go one way or the other. » Washington wrote to Alexander Hamilton (who had left) that the crisis was so severe that he was almost desperate to see a favorable outcome. Throughout the country, the call « freedom! » filled the air. But what freedom? Few people call themselves liberticidal, but the word « freedom » has many meanings. Should delegates be most concerned about protected freedom of conscience, freedom of contract (i.e., for many at the time, the right of creditors to collect debts from their contracts) or freedom of ownership (debtors complained that this freedom had been taken by banks and other creditors)? In addition, the cry of freedom could mean two very different things when it comes to the issue of slaves – for some, the freedom to own slaves needed protection, while for others (those who can see rather through black eyes) freedom meant ending slavery…

No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.