The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Political Philosophers on Parade

June 27, 1787 (click the link to read Madison's notes) Summary There were no votes on substantial issues today. The "highlight" was a speech of "over three hours" by Luther Martin on the need for each state to have an equal vote in the national government. The backdrop for this assertion was the continual tension between large and small states. The smaller state delegates were worried that the larger states would have the upper hand in the new republic. Influences on the Delegates Martin's … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Senate Continued

June 26, 1787 Summary The delegates decided today in Convention that Senators should serve six-year terms with compensation for their public service. Madison spent some time outlining two views of the Senate. Influences on the Delegates Madison spoke at length about the role of the Senate in a republican government. In all civilized countries the people fall into different classes, having a real or supposed difference of interests. There will be creditors and debtors; farmers, merchants, … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Senate Debated

June 25, 1787 (click the link to read Madison's notes)  Summary Today, the delegates decided that state legislatures would elect Senators and that they minimum age to be a Senator would be 3o. Influences on the Delegates Charles Pinckney from South Carolina opened this day with a tribute to Great Britain but warned that the system of Britain would not work out in the United States. Much has been said of the Constitution of Great Britain. I will confess that I believe it to be the … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Legislative Fine Tuning

June 23, 1787 (click the link to read Madison's notes) Summary The delegates debated Resolution 3 regarding the legislature. They deadlocked on giving members "adequate compensation" and decided to allow House members to remain eligible to hold other offices after their current term ended Influences on the Delegates Mason appealed to his experience in VA and Great Britain for his position: Mr. MASON. The motion of my colleague is but a partial remedy for the evil. He appealed to him as a … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Minimum Age of 25 Required to Serve in the House of Representatives

June 22, 1787 (click link for Madison's notes) Summary Today in Convention was all about the legislature. The delegates affirmed 25 as the minimum age for a representative. On the negative, the delegates defeated a motion to allow the House to set pay for members and a motion to take their pay from the National Treasury. Influences on the Delegates On the matter of the minimum age for members, the delegates debated mostly on their own experience. However, Jame Wilson pointed to two young men … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Congress Will Be Two Houses with the First House Elected by Citizens

June 21, 1787 Summary The delegates decided to make the legislature two houses with the first house elected by the people for a two year term. Influences on the Delegates Appeal to other nations is implied in this oration by Madison. Mr. MADISON was of opinion, — in the first place, that there was less danger of encroachment from the General Government than from the State Governments; and in the second place, that the mischiefs from encroachments would be less fatal if made by the former, t … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The Legislature Will Not Be One House

June 20, 1787 Summary The delegates debated the number of houses for the legislative function. The delegates voted down a motion for a unicameral legislature. Influences on the Constitution England formed an easy illustration for James Wilson on the subject of representation. The point of representation could receive no elucidation from the case of England. The corruption of the boroughs did not proceed from their comparative smallness; but from the actual fewness of the inhabitants, some … [Read more...]

The 1787 Constitutional Convention – The New Jersey Plan Defeated

June 19, 1787 Summary After Madison's critique of the New Jersey plan, the delegates rejected it. Influences on the Constitution As was true in past debates, the Bible did not come up once. Instead, in his oration opposing the New Jersey plan, Madison showed his vast knowledge of past and current governments. To follow my past practice, I will excerpt mentions of negative and positive models suggested by the delegates. Madison opined: If we recur to the examples of other confederacies, we … [Read more...]