Saturday, February 28, 2009

#31/81 THE SUMMER OF 1787: The Men who Invented the Constitution

At the time that our Constitution was written, there were many issues that were regionally at odds and numerous compromises were required before this magnificent document was complete. This book dealt with the historical events that the state delegations eventually agreed to and how the compromises were arrived at.
The most contentious issues were slavery (protection of this institution was a must for the southern states), fair representation (a monumental issue for the small states) and how the executive branch would be structured(no one wanted a monarch).
The personalities that took part in this momentous effort are not always remembered as they actually performed. For instance, James Madison, known as the Father of the Constitution, was not selected for many of the significant committees and over 50% of the issues that he supported were not approved by the other delegates. George Mason refused to sign the Constitution. Few remember him as a founding father even though he spurred the revolution with the Fairfax Resolves in 1774, much of his writings for the Virginia Declaration of Rights were used in the Declaration of Independence, his compact with Maryland on behalf of Virginia started the Constitutional momentum, and his demand for amendments to the Constitution resulted in the Bill of Rights. Gouverneur Morris actually was the delegate who took all the approved articles and amendments, and consolidated them into what we now know as the US Constitution. His concise style clarified issues that had been muddled from thousands of words to hundreds. Yet few know of his contribution.
Unfortunately our founding fathers would never know that the seeds that they sowed with compromise concerning the issue of slavery would eventually contribute to the Civil War.
A very good history lesson is provided in this account of the start of our nation.

1 comment:

Cindy B said...

Another one to add to the TBR list!