Tag

delegates

Persons chosen or authorized to represent others. The drafters of the U.S. Constitution were delegates to the Constitutional Convention who were sent by their respective states to represent the people of those states.

In this passage, James Madison, like most delegates, referred both to ancient and modern history to illustrate his points throughout the convention.  Why?  As Charles Hobson argues, "Madison fully embraced the Enlightenment's faith in the utility of history.  To study the past was to look in a mirror, or even a crystal ball, for throughout all time and in all places human nature had remained constant and the same events had proceeded from the same causes in an ever-recurring cycle."
Annotated by bacraig on October 07, 2014
Maryland's first delegate, James McHenry, arrived on May 28.  Maryland's delegation had instructions that even if there was only one delegate, the delegation could still could vote at the convention.  Most other delegations had to wait until a majority of their members were present in order to vote.  It worked well for Maryland, because their delegates were usually tardy or absent for long periods of time.
Annotated by bacraig on October 02, 2014
The issue of representation in both chambers of the national legislature was becoming more difficult to solve.  At this moment, Benjamin Franklin gave his long speech.  Although he would promote remedies that the delegates ignored, the opening of Franklin's speech helped restore some reconciliation as the debate moved forward.
Annotated by bacraig on September 30, 2014
The delegates respected Benjamin Franklin and this put him on the short list for chairman of the convention.  He had a wealth of experience from his extensive travels in Europe and being a postmaster, his work on a very democratic constitution for Pennsylvania, and the fact that, as Walter Isaacson states, "he embodied a spirit of Enlightenment tolerance and pragmatic compromise."

Franklin was aware of the significance of success and failure for this convention.  He wrote to Thomas Jefferson in April 1787: "Our Federal Constitution is generally thought defective and a Convention, first propos’d by Virginia, and since recommended by Congress, is to assemble here next Month, to revise it and propose Amendments. The Delegates generally appointed as far as I have heard of them are Men of Character for Prudence and Ability, so that I hope Good from their Meeting. Indeed, if it does not do Good it must do Harm, as it will show that we have not Wisdom enough among us to govern ourselves; and will strengthen the Opinion of some Political Writers, that popular Governments cannot long support themselves."  (The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 1955, 11:302)
Annotated by bacraig on September 29, 2014
Madison wrote that Alexander Hamilton faced a "delicate situation with respect to his own state" due to Hamilton's New York colleagues James Lansing and Robert Yates.  Both men, like New York Governor George Clinton, supported revising the Articles of Confederation and felt the convention was over-stepping its legal authority by writing a new constitution.  By July 10, Yates and Lansing had left the convention.
Annotated by bacraig on June 17, 2014