the quartet orchestrating the second american revolution 1783 1789.pdf

Soon after his inauguration washington had asked him

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conspicuous national figure. Soon after his inauguration, Washington had asked him to draft a letter to the members of Congress, expressing his desire to work closely with them. The members of Congress, not knowing of Madison’s involvement, asked him to draft their reply to Washington. It was Madison writing to Madison. He had become the second most prominent figure in the new government. 23 In early March 1789, just five days after Washington had taken the oath of office, Madison announced his intention to propose amendments to the Constitution later in the month. He then entered into one of those intense periods of Madisonian preparation, taking the Virginia Declaration of Rights and all of the amendments recommended by the states into his study for deliberation. To call Madison the “Father of the Constitution” is quite plausible, but it is also arguable, given the significant roles played by others in Philadelphia, chiefly Gouverneur Morris. But there is no question that Madison was the “Father of the Bill of Rights.” He wrote the first draft single-handedly, ushered it through the House, and negotiated with leaders in the Senate as they reduced the seventeen amendments proposed by the House to twelve. 24 Several congressmen commented on Madison’s nearly obsessive dedication to the passage of a bill of rights, blaming his compulsion on a misguided fear that the threat of a second convention loomed if he failed to act promptly. Theodore Sedgwick, a representative from western Massachusetts, believed that Madison was “constantly haunted by the ghost of Patrick Henry.” And Robert Morris, now a senator from Pennsylvania, thought that Madison “got so cursedly frightened in Virginia that he dreamed of amendments ever since.” They had a point. The movement for a second convention was already beginning to fade, as Jay had predicted it would. But just as Hamilton had chosen to take no risk in ensuring Washington’s election, Madison felt an urgent need to pass a bill of rights before the disciples of Henry and Clinton could mobilize their forces. He was almost surely exaggerating the threat, but given the arduous trail he had traveled to reach a political version of the promised land, he was in no mood to take any chances. 25 Madison spent several weeks in the late spring of 1789 working on the amendments and trying to decide where they should be inserted into the text of the Constitution. Apparently he harbored the conviction that including them within the document rather than adding them at the end would enhance the
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body of the text instead of just tacking them on as a tail. “There is a neatness and propriety in incorporating the amendments to the Constitution itself,” he explained, “so that the amendments are interwoven into those parts in which they naturally belong.” 26 During the debate in the House, Roger Sherman of Connecticut called attention to the problem with this approach: namely, it revised the document that the framers in Philadelphia had signed without their authorization or knowledge. In effect, it created the illusion that the amendments had been drafted at the
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  • Fall '16
  • Chemistry, pH, American Revolution, Second Continental Congress, American Revolution, Continental Army

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