The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Will the President Be an Elected King?

July 24, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day). Summary A committee was chosen to compose the decisions made thus far into a document for consideration (Rutledge,  Randolph,  Gorham,  Ellsworth, and  Wilson). The delegates discussed against the method of choosing the chief executive and at this juncture approved appointment by the national legislature. Influences on the Delegates North Carolina's Hugh Williamson advocated reconsidering much of what the delegates had already cov … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – On the Ratification of the Constitution

July 23, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day) Summary Today, the New Hampshire delegates,  John Langdon and  Nicolas Gilman arrived in Convention and took their seats. The delegates agreed to requiring an oath by both national and states officials to support the new governing document. They agreed to submit the Constitution to conventions of people of the states for ratification and decided to revisit the way the executive was elected. Influences on the Delegates Influences on the D … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Back to the Judiciary

July 21, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day) Summary The delegates agreed to pay electors from the treasury and to give the executive veto power. They also reconsidered aspects of the judiciary and voted to allow the Senate to select judges. For all of his reverence for republican principles, even Madison wondered if the executive branch might team up with the judiciary to revise laws passed by the legislature. The discussion is fascinating and should be consulted by all who think … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The President May Be Impeached

July 20, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day) Summary The delegates continued to discuss details of the executive role. They agreed to allocate 1 to 3 electors per state based on the population of the state, agreed that the executive should be paid from the treasury, and made impeachment an option. Influences on the Delegates Ben Franklin refers to history but was not specific when he argued in favor of impeachment for a bad behaving executive. If he was alive today and made this … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Delegates Debate How to Choose a President

July 19, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day) Summary Today the delegates agreed to reconsider the appointment, duration, and eligibility of the president. They agreed to the electoral process via electors chosen by state legislators. The also decided that the executive would be eligible for re-election with a term of six years (obviously they revisited this later). Influences on the Delegates The loquacious Mr. Morris called for a citizen's president as guardian of the poor. … [Read more...]

David Barton Picks History He Likes and Omits the Rest

On his Wallbuilders Facebook page, self-styled historian David Barton engaged in some historical revisionism which illustrates his approach to history. In the image below, he reproduced only the part of an John Adams' quote that he likes. Adams wrote this to Thomas Jefferson in a letter dated June 28, 1813 (Barton cited this letter here, also selectively edited on his website).Barton also did this in The Founders Bible, a must avoid collection of historical half-truths surrounded by Holy … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Presidential Veto Power Decided

July 18, 1787 (Click to read Madison's notes on the day's debate) Summary Today was more harmonious but not without debate. The delegates agreed that the president would have veto power over Congress but that a 2/3 vote of the legislature could override the veto. They considered but remained deadlocked on who -- executive v. Senate -- would appoint the judges. They agreed to create district courts under the Supreme Court and began considering the need for republican governments in all of the … [Read more...]

Was the Constitution’s Political Vision Formed by the Bible?

In the July 3 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer, American University historian Daniel Dreisbach said the Constitution's political vision was in part formed by the Bible. Dreisbach wrote that "The Constitution gives evidence of a political vision informed, in part, by the Bible, and it includes features that were familiar to a Bible-reading people." He added that "the founders' devotion to the separation of powers and checks and balances reflected a biblical understanding of original sin and a … [Read more...]