the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

That meant that the political pressure would build in

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That meant that the political pressure would build in Virginia to become the ninth state and put ratification over the top. The problem was that the political elite in Virginia was evenly divided, and while both sides felt a keen obligation to lead, they wanted to lead in opposite directions. 36 Madison went into his nose-counting mode soon after the delegates were elected to the Virginia convention, scheduled for Richmond in mid-June. After an initial burst of enthusiasm, during which he
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apprised both Jefferson and Washington that the “Pros” enjoyed a comfortable majority, he gradually became more circumspect. The northern part of the state was firmly “Pro,” but the Tidewater counties, where the planter class was heavily in debt to British creditors whom they preferred to finesse, were firmly “Anti,” with the delegates from the western counties and the Kentucky district holding the balance of power. It was going to be extremely close. Madison immediately began firing off letters to friends in Kentucky, arguing that their concerns about navigation rights on the Mississippi would be best served by joining the union. 37 Another, less local way of looking at Virginia’s voting patterns came from John Marshall, a devoted protégé of Washington’s, a Revolutionary War hero, and a future chief justice of the Supreme Court. Marshall believed that a sizable majority of Virginians opposed ratification, “but they have chosen their most trusted local leaders as delegates, who by a small margin support it.” In his judgment the will of the majority would defer to the more informed and trusted men in the Old Dominion. It was still a predemocratic world where that kind of elite analysis required no apology. 38 The wild card that confounded any prediction of the outcome in Virginia was Patrick Henry, who was simultaneously the most popular politician in the state and the most famous orator of the age. Henry had boycotted the convention in Philadelphia, as Madison quite caustically put it to Washington, “in order to leave his conduct unfettered on another theatre, where the results of the [Virginia] Convention will receive its destiny from his omnipotence.” 39 Madison had been on the receiving end of Henry’s eloquence on several occasions, so he knew what he was up against. Henry on his feet was a force of nature, part actor on the stage, part preacher in the pulpit. He could go on for hours at a time, without notes, often wandering off point, but always casting a spell. If argument was going to make a difference in the Virginia convention, and it was, Henry gave the “Antis” an advantage. There was also bad blood between Henry and the Jefferson-Madison tandem. It dated from 1781, when Henry had led the effort to impeach Jefferson as governor for his somewhat hasty and headlong retreat from office to avoid capture by the invading British army. Henry had also used his political patronage to block Jefferson’s resolution for religious freedom, which Madison was defending in the Virginia legislature. As Jefferson put it to Madison, there seemed no way to deal with Henry “except to ardently
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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