The Three Virginia’s




As James Madison leaves New York City to stand for election to the Virginia Ratification Convention, he is troubled. Overall, the nation is moving towards Ratification, but major hurdles remain, including New York, Maryland and of course, his home State of Virginia. If Virginia and New York reject ratification, the entire enterprise could be placed in doubt.

In Virginia, he finds the distasteful process of just getting elected to the Convention an annoyance. And if he gets elected, he will face off against the man who many believe is the greatest orator of all time, Patrick Henry.

Henry has made it clear that he will not support ratification. Or maybe he will? This is the real issue in Virginia, the three positions taken by the various partisan sides.

First are the Federalists, led by Madison. They support ratification as is. Next come the slightly-anti-Federalists, led by such men as Randolph and Mason, who will support ratification IF, and that is a big IF, they can get amendments included which they believe will safeguard individual rights.

Thirdly, there is Kentucky. Currently it is part of Virginia. Madison has been fighting a loosing battle in Congress for the last two years to make her a State in her own right, but the inertial resistance has led many in Kentucky and around the South in general to believe that the proposed Constitution is little more than a Northern power grab.

And overarching it all is Patrick Henry. There are rumors that he has his own ideas about what Virginia should do. Nobody is certain, but the evidence seems to lead to the conclusion that he would not be displeased if Virginia fails to ratify. Where there is smoke, there is fire, and Madison has to find a way to extinguish Henry’s opposition… 


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The Jury Question



Many years ago, back in the 1970’s, you could, on rare occasions, actually learn something watching a TV crime drama. And so it was that way back when, Dave watched an episode of Quincy, M.E., during which he learned a fact about how Jury trials can work that he retains even today. That single fact is helpful when we recall the purpose of the Jury is to serve as a mighty bulwark against government. To make certain that government isn’t allowed to just run roughshod over accused citizens.

At the same time, that simple fact also makes certain that a person who is guilty can’t hide behind confusion and misdirection.

Back in 2012, a man stood accused of hacking into PriceWaterhouse and stealing the Romney’s tax returns, which he threatened to release to the highest bidder if he didn’t get paid $1Million in digital currency. The self-named “Dr. Evil,” was about as competent as his nom de guerre, and ended up in the custody of the US Secret Service, who take a dim view of people threatening potential Presidents with blackmail. He denied being involved, of course, and eventually found himself sitting in front of a Jury as the Secret Service laid out their digital case against him.

It was extremely complicated, and for people who aren’t computer experts, somewhat confusing. To make sure that the Jury understood the case, the Judge allowed the same thing that Dave learned watching Quincy, M.E., all those years ago to happen…

Safety in Numbers



As the debates rolled on, the nation considered many elements of the proposed Constitution. In Rhode Island there was grave concern over the idea that the State would not be able to print its own paper currency. In Virginia the Kentucky Counties worried about the navigational rights on the Mississippi River. But nearly everyone agreed on one issue – the idea that if the nation went to war, it would be stronger united than not.

On April 6, 1917, Congress gathered to vote on whether or not the United States should declare war on Imperial Germany. Four days earlier President Woodrow Wilson had made it clear that the United States was needed and ready for the fight against an evil and depraved monarchy that chose war over peace and threatened the entire world. But, he made he clear, that it would not be, it could not be, his decision alone to send the US into World War I.

Despite the changes in the world since 1787, one thing remained the same. It was that one thing that the Framers had in their prescience foreseen: that no one person should ever be allowed to take the US to war.

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