TS 112 - TS 112-138 Were the Founding Fathers Democratic...

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TS 112-138: Were the Founding Fathers Democratic Reformers? The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action by John P. Roche - The hand of God was moving in the assembly - The “fathers” have been admitted to our best circles - They were revolutionaries and democrats - Constitutionalists utilized the mechanisms of political legitimacy - Dominant figures in the politics of these states cooperated in the call for the Convention - What distinguished the leaders of the Constitutionalist caucus from their enemies was a “Continental” approach to political, economic and military issues - Constitutionalists were successful in convincing the elected representatives of a majority of the white male population that change was imperative - Their great assets were o the presence in their caucus of the one authentic American “father figure,” George Washington, whose prestige was enormous o energy and talent of leadership and their communications “network,” which was far superior to anything on the opposition side o the preemptive skill which made “their” issue The Issue and kept the locally oriented opposition permanently on the defensive o Subjective consideration that these men were spokesmen of a new and compelling credo: American nationalism, that ill-defined by nonetheless potent sense of collective purpose that emerged from the American Revolution…. - Opponents were not being asked to approve specific program of reform, but only to endorse a meeting to discuss and recommend needed reforms - Constitutionalists were reasonable men asking for a chance - Delegates to Philadelphia weren’t elected by the people - Members of the natural Congress were chosen by the state legislatures - James Madison and Virginia delegation drafted Randolph or Virginia Plan
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- A new start on a Constitution rather than piecemeal amendment - Core of delegates accepted regimen throughout because they shared Constitutionalist goal - Differences of opinion were structural, not ideological - Secrecy is uncharacteristic of any assembly marked by strong ideological polarization - Virginia Plan o Virginia Plan envisioned a unitary national government effectively freed from and dominant over the states, lower house, upper house, national legislature, central government, … o At first, people endorsed, later small states realized big states would dominate national government - New Jersey Plan o put states back into institutional picture, both retain strong national power and have a chance of adoption in the states o contemplated use of military force to secure compliance with national law - Paterson said that under both VA and NJ plans, general government would “. .act
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TS 112 - TS 112-138 Were the Founding Fathers Democratic...

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