the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

11 in the long view which is to say looking down the

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sectional vote, Chase’s amendment was defeated. 11 In the long view, which is to say looking down the road another eight decades or so, this debate proved prophetic. It was the first occasion when the intractable dilemma posed by slavery found its way into the public record. And in 1861 South Carolina acted on the same secessionist threat it first made in the summer of 1776. More immediately, both northern and southern delegates recognized the need to deflect the “Inhabitants” question, and they revised the Dickinson Draft so that each state would be billed “in
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proportion to the value of all land within each state,” thereby skirting the slavery question but in the process producing a criterion for taxation that proved inherently immeasurable and infinitely manipulable by the state legislatures. If the debate over slavery had enormous long-term implications, the debate over representation posed more pressing problems that defined the shape of the political settlement for the next decade. Here the argument was not sectional but rather between large and small states. Article XVIII of the Dickinson Draft proposed a continuation of the one-vote-per-state principle. Delegates from Massachusetts, Virginia, and Pennsylvania found that principle preposterous, indeed a recipe for chaos and endless bickering, because the disproportionate political power of the small states defied the economic realities: “Let the small colonies give equal Money and Men,” Franklin argued, momentarily forgetting that the colonies were now states, “and then have an equal vote.” Adams chimed in that the only sensible basis for representation was population, because any stable republican government needed to reflect the will of its citizenry. 12 Both Franklin and Adams were thinking of a new government that was more potent and unified than a mere confederation. The most ardent advocate for such a vision was Rush, who projected a national picture of Americans as “a single people,” no longer Virginians or Rhode Islanders, and the term United States as a singular rather than plural noun. The debate over representation had thus exposed the first serious split between nationalists and confederationists. Delegates from the small states found Rush’s national vision a political nightmare that merely exchanged the despotic power of Parliament for a domestic version of the same leviathan. Roger Sherman of Connecticut led the small-state delegation with a warning that his constituents would never surrender their liberties to some distant government that did not share their values. He could testify that Connecticut would passionately embrace “The Cause,” but once the war was won, his country was Connecticut, and any loyalty that extended beyond the borders of his state defied the local and at most regional orientation of his constituents, which was “as far as we are prepared to go.” 13 This was a revealing way to put it. Beneath the argument between large and small states over representation lurked a more fundamental disagreement about distance and scale. The vast majority of
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