Category Archives: The Convention
Today, we debate and discuss the War Powers Resolution of 1973, which may, depending on how you read it, give the President the authority to make war, while Congress has not declared a war. Oddly enough, the delegates had exactly the same debate, which is why the Constitution gives Congress the power to DECLARE war and the expected the President to MAKE war… as long as the people approved…
Needing a bit of a break, most of the Delegates headed down to the shore of the Delaware River to take a ride on a steamship. Yes… a steamship. Twenty years before anybody ever heard of Robert Fulton. Is it possible that little adventure helped them to empower Congress to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts?”
Roughly a hundred years after the convention, Otto von Bismark will develop his political maxim of the “realpolitik.” He could have learned it from Rutledge, who, in response to Luther Martin’s call to accept the immorality of slavery, reminds the Convention that IF there is to be a Union, it WILL be with slavery. And if there is a Union WITH slavery, non-slave States… will make a whole lot of money…
Getting started on Rutledge’s’ draft of the Constitution, some members noticed that there are some very odd things contained in the document. Rufus King of Massachusetts can keep quiet no longer. He has agreed to things so far because he believes that a strong central government must emerge from the Convention. But what he sees on paper now, is a nation divided by avarice and slavery. Either what Rutledge has written must change or the three-fifths must be eliminated. He won’t say the word, but the room senses he means abolition.
Gouverneur Morris has no such limits. He will rail once more, passionately and deeply about the evils and morality of slavery.
The Convention listens, then gets down to work. Realizing that the entire room is unwieldy and that the best and fastest work gets done in committee, they form several such groups, including, the committee on all the stuff we forgot or are too busy to work on…
As the Delegates return from their vacation, so does the summer heat. Sitting down to work, they begin to read and digest the draft that Rutledge of South Carolina has put together while they were gone.
There are many points of contention, but also many points of agreement.
One agreement is that they are moving too slowly and that the nation is growing impatient.
Despite the progress, there remains much to be done. James Madison feels that the work could take many more months. Washington and most of the other delegates know that they do not have that much time.
The first solution offered is to work longer days.
From 10am until 4pm with no changes to the schedule now allowed.
With the new plan in place, they take up the qualification for electors.
Should property ownership be considered? The draft of the Constitution says that it should not be considered, but some, like Gouverneur Morris, vehemently disagree…