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stitution was small, but he rendered valuable services towards securing its adoption. James Madison is sometimes called “The Father of the Constitution," and the Constitution, as adopted, is more his work than that of any other delegate. He kept a Journal of the Convention, which is our chief source of information as to its proceedings, and was one of the authors of the Federalist.
Among other delegates to this convention, whose names should be mentioned, are John Randolph, of Virginia, who introduced the Virginia plan into the convention; William Patterson, of New Jersey, the advocate of the New Jersey plan; Jonathan Dayton, the youngest member of the convention and afterwards Speaker of the House of Representatives; Elbridge Gerry, of Massachusetts, afterwards Vice President of the United States; Roger Sherman, of Connecticut, who had helped to draw up the Declaration of Independence; Oliver Ellsworth, of the same state, who was later Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; the Pinckneys, of South Carolina ; Robert Morris, of Pennsylvania, the famous Secretary of the Treasury during Revolutionary days, and Gouveneur Morris and James Wilson, also of Pennsylvania.
$ 67. Meeting and Organization of the Convention.Monday, May 14th, 1787, was the day fixed for the first meeting of the Constitutional Convention. On that day, however, only a small number of the delegates had assembled. Seven states were not convened until Friday, May 25th, when representatives were present from Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. Delegates from Connecticut and Maryland appeared on Monday, May 28th. New Hampshire was not represented until June 23d. Rhode Island took no part in the convention.
The first day's business of the convention was confined to the election of George Washington as presiding officer and the appointment of a committee to prepare standing rules and orders. The report of this committee was adopted May 28th and h. Cnder these rules it was determined that the vote should be by states instead of by individual delegates, each state having one vote, which was to be determined by the majority vote of the members present from that state. Seven states were to constitute a quorum. The debates and votes of the convention were to be kept secret.
8 68. Grounds of Controversy in the Federal Convention. -Three great causes of dissension early manifested themselves. among the members of the convention. The interests of the large and the small states came at once into conflict, while the members of the convention became arrayed, either as the supporters or opponents of a strong central government and as the friends or enemies of slavery. The positions of the different parties on the first two questions were enunciated in the "Virginia and New Jersey Plans,” while the various conflicting interests were brought to a certain degree of harmony by the three great compromises of the Constitution. It is around the Virginia and New Jersey Plans and these three compromises that the history of the Constitutional Convention centers.
$ 69. The Virginia Plan.-The real work of the Constitution began with the presentation of the Virginia plan by Mr. Randolph, on May 29th. Introducing this plan of government Mr. Randolph took occasion to declare that the new government to be established ought to be of such a character as to secure it against foreign invasions, dissensions between members of the
*« Previous to the arrival of a majority of the States, the rule by which they ought to vote in the Convention had been made a subject of conversation
among the members present.
It pressed by Governor Morris and favored by Robert Morris and others from Pennsylvania, that the large States should unite in firmly refusing to the small States an equal vote, as unreasonable and as enabling the small States to negative every good system of government, which must, in the nature of things, be founded on a violation of the equality. The members from Virginia, conceiv
ing that such an attempt might
their equality for the same of an effective government, than on taking the field of discussion to disarm themselves of the right, and thereby threw themselves on the mercy of the large States, discountenanced and stifled the project.'— Note to Ma on's Journal of the Federal Convention, under date of May 28.
* See Appendix F. • See Appendix G.
Union, or seditions in particular states; to be able to procure to the several states various blessings of which an isolated situation was incapable, and to defend itself against encroachments and finally to be paramount to the State Constitutions. The evils existing under the government under the Articles of Confederation were also dwelt upon in detail by the speaker.?
The Virginia plan, thus introduced, and which as modified by the great compromises, served in the main as the basis for the Constitution, had been drawn up by a number of delegates from the larger states, especially Virginia. It was the plan of the larger states and the friends of a strong central government. In its essential provisions it was supported almost uniformly by the states of Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.
The system of government for the United States, as laid down in the fifteen resolutions, which composed the Virginia plan, was a radical departure from that contained in the Articles of Confederation, to many a startling innovation. The Virginia plan provided for a national instead of a confederated government. To use the expressive German terms, for which there are no good equivalents in the English language, it was to be a Statenbund instead of a Bundestadt. This characteristic of the plan was emphasized by the committee of the whole, who, in place of the first resolution in the original plan: “Resolved, That the Articles of Confederation ought to be corrected and enlarged so as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely, common defense, security of liberty and general welfare,” substituted the more uncompromising declaration : "Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that a national government ought to be established, consisting of a Supreme Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.”
The Virginia plan provided for a double legislative body, with proportional representation in each branch. The members of the lower house were to be elected by the people, and those of the upper house by the lower house, out of a proper number of
persons nominated by the individual legislatures. This national legislature was to have the powers vested in Congress by the Confederation, and in addition the power to legislate in all cases where the separate states were incompetent or in which the harmony of the United States was in danger of being interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation. It was also to be allowed to negative all laws passed by the several states contravening in its opinion the Articles of Union, or any treaty subsisting under the authority of the Union, and to call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfill its duty under the articles thereof.
There was to be a National Executive to be chosen by the national legislature, but the resolution was silent on the question as to whether such executive should consist of a single person or of a commission. To the executive and a “convenient member of the National Judiciary” was given a qualified veto power. The National Judiciary was to consist of one or more supreme tribunals and of interior tribunals, the judges of which were to be chosen by the national legislature and to hold office during good behavior. The jurisdiction of these courts was to extend to cases of piracies and felonies on the high seas; captures from an enemy; cases in which foreigners or citizens of other states, applying to each jurisdiction, might be interested; cases respecting the collection of the national revenue; impeachments of any national officer and questions involving the national peace and harmony.
Provisions were made by the resolutions for the admission of new states; for the guaranteeing to each state, by the United States, of a republican form of government; for the continuance of Congress until a given day after the reform of the “Articles of the Union” should have been adopted, and for the completion of their obligations; for amending the “Articles of Union” without the consent of Congress; for binding the executive, legislative and judiciary powers in the several states by oath to support the “Articles of Union," and for the submitting of the report of the convention to special conventions in the several states.
$ 70. Work of the Committee of the Whole.-From May 29th to June 14th, inclusive, the members of the Federal Convention were engaged in discussing the Virginia plan in the Committee of the Whole.
The first vote of the convention involving any question of policy came on May 30th, on the motion to substitute for the first resolution in the Virginia plan the following:
"Resolved, That it is the opinion of the committee that a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, executive and judiciary." The adoption of this resolution by a vote of six states to one® committed the convention to the creation of a national, in place of a confederated, government.
The second resolution of the Virginia plan relative to the representation of the state in Congress being next taken up the delegates were at once plunged into the discussion of the most bitterly contested controversy of the convention. So sharp did the contest become between the large states, who desired proportional representation in Congress, and the small states, who demanded the retention of the equality of representation of the states, that it was found advisable to postpone the consideration of the question in order to prevent a threatened secession from the convention.
The third resolution that “The National Legislature ought to consist of two branches” was agreed to without debate, and unanimously, except for the dissent of Pennsylvania.
The first clause of the fourth resolution that “the members of the first branch of the National Legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several states” occasioned a spirited discussion, one, however, which lacked the element of bitterness. Madison and Wilson led the fight for the election of the first branch by the people, and this view finally prevailed by a vote of six states to two.' The remaining clauses of the fourth reso
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, aye—6; Connecticut, no—1; New York di. vided. (Hamilton, aye; Yates, no.)
• Massachusetts, New York,