Scholar Profile - bacraig

Bryan C
administrator, scholar, Montpelier
James Madison certainly supported a national government with more power, especially in finance, ability to fight state encroachment, and minority protection.  However, he also understood from this passage that too much national power was just as dangerous.  Lance Banning writes, "From first to last, however, Madison assumed that powers would be granted by the people only to perform the common business of the nation, that excessive governmental vigor was as incompatible with revolutionary purposes as any of the state abuses he condemned."
Posted on December 09, 2014
Elbridge Gerry supported the national executive being chosen by the state governors and it illustrates his growing concern about a powerful national government.  Gerry felt the new constitution would have to safeguard the righs of states and individuals.  He would later refuse to sign the new constitution.
Posted on December 05, 2014
Edmund Randolph was not happy with the passage of the Gerry Committee Report.  He felt it gave too much influence to small states than he envisioned in his plan (see passage 1378) that he presented to James Madison on July 10.  In his scheme, Randolph felt that all states can have equal votes on certain topics, rather than permanent equal representation in the Senate.
Posted on December 02, 2014
Edmund Randolph's Suggestion for Conciliating the Small States:

communicated by Mr. Randolph, July 10. as an accommodating proposition to small states

(This & the following paper to be in an appendix)

1. Resolvd. that in the second branch each State have one vote in the following cases,

1. in granting exclusive rights to Ports
2. in subjecting vessels or seamen of the U. States to tonnage, duties or other impositions
3. in regulating the navigation of Rivers
4. in regulating the rights to be enjoyed by citizens of one State in the other States
5. in questions arising on the guarantee of territory
6. in declaring war or taking measures for subduing a Rebellion
7. in regulating Coin
8. in establishing & regulating the post office
9. in the admission of new States into the Union
10. in establishing rules for the government of the Militia
11. in raising a regular army
12. in the appointment of the Executive
13. in fixing the seat of Government

That in all other cases the right of suffrage be proportioned according to an equitable rule of representation.

2. that for the determination of certain important questions in the 2d branch, a greater number of votes than a mere majority be requisite

3. that the people of each State ought to retain the perfect right of adopting from time to time such forms of republican Government as to them may seem best, and of making all laws not contrary to the articles of Union; subject to the supremacy of the General Government in those instances only in which that supremacy shall be expressly declared by the articles of the Union.

4. That altho' every negative given to the law of a particular State shall prevent its operation, any State may appeal to the national Judiciary against a negative; and that such negative if adjudged to be contrary to the power granted by the articles of the Union, shall be void

5. that any individual conceiving himself injured or oppressed by the partiality or injustice of a law of any particular State may resort to the National Judiciary, who may adjudge such law to be void, if found contrary to the principles of equity and justice.
Posted on December 01, 2014
Edmund Randolph was the first of the Virginia delegation to debate the New Jersey Plan.  His primary argument was that the existing Confederation was a failure and a large-scale reform must be attempted.
Posted on December 01, 2014
This was not the first meeting to discuss the crisis of the Articles of Confederation.

From September 11-14, 1786, twelve delegates from five states gathered in Annapolis, Maryland. 

There were twin crises going on that led to Annapolis.  The first was the fact that the federal government was going broke.  It had war debts to pay to European countries, and the government could not bring in enough revenue to pay its debt or its interest on that debt. 

The second issue was the Jay-Gardoqui negotiations.  John Jay and the Spanish negotiated a deal to open up Spanish ports for the Northeast, but Spain refused American rights on the Mississippi River.  In August 1786, the Congress voted down the proposed treaty, which still left the trade situation in trouble.

Although the Continental Congress created this "Annapolis Convention," there were not enough delegates to make a quorum.

Some of the same delegates would come to Philadelphia: James Madison, Edmund Randolph, Alexander Hamilton, John Dickinson, George Read, Richard Bassett, and William Houston.

They recommended a new constitution convention to be held for May 1787.
Posted on November 20, 2014
Benjamin Franklin and Gouverneur Morris were trying to win over the non-signers like Edmund Randolph and Elbridge Gerry by giving them some "political cover."  The delegates could sign as representatives of states, rather than individual delegates.

In the end, however, Randolph, Gerry, and George Mason did not sign.
Posted on November 18, 2014
The original idea was that a senator would be president of the senate.  However, this led to a couple of problems.  First, if the president could vote only during a tie, the state would be under-represented.  Second, if the president could vote at all times, the state would be over-represented as the senator would have two voting seats. 

To solve these problems, the Brearly Committee decided that the vice president would be president of the Senate. 
Posted on November 17, 2014
In this passage, electors would vote for two people for president.  This proved to be problematic in the 1796 and 1800 elections, and it would need another amendment to the constitution to fix it (the Twelve Amendment).

In 1796, John Adams got the majority of the votes, but his party, the Federalists, also voted for a number of other people, which helped lead to Thomas Jefferson getting the second highest number.  Jefferson was from a different party, but yet, he became vice president.

In an effort to unify party voting, electors were encourage to vote the same party in 1800.  Voters expected Thomas Jefferson to be president and Aaron Burr as vice president, but in the end, the election was a tie.  It went to the House of Representatives, and Jefferson won the election.  When in office, Jefferson isolated Burr from any political discussion or policy decisions.
Posted on November 14, 2014
The residency rule was an attempt to block pro-British men who fled the country during the Revolutionary War.  Also, there were Europeans living in the country, like Baron Frederick von Steuben, who came to help the American military during the war.  However, if this one passed, some prominent delegates like Alexander Hamilton would not be eligible to be president right away.
Posted on November 13, 2014

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