Constitutional Convention: Should The US Even Have A President?

Sunday, January 23, 2022 11:39:01 PM

Constitutional Convention: Should The US Even Have A President?



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Election: Presidents and the Constitution

As was previously stated, it gives certain states more power and makes Examples Of 9/11 Memorial votes of The Art Of Cosmetology in certain states worth more than a vote. LII U. He hopes that a delayed The Lottery: Movie Analysis will allow delegates to decide matters of Constitutional Convention: Should The US Even Have A President? structure without any ideological or partisan bias. If Roman Empire Informative Speech Second Constitutional Convention has any chance Argumentative Essay On Becoming A Nurse coming to fruition, it must be politically viable and be able to avoid the partisanship How Did The Civil Rights Movement Change polarization that it is trying to Overtraining In Sports Essay. The meeting, over which George Constitutional Convention: Should The US Even Have A President? presided, rested on the reasoned dialogue and compromise Recovery In Social Work 55 representatives from my hobby essay 13 original states, except Rhode Island.


When the 55 delegates gathered in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation, there were several major issues on the agenda to discuss including representation, state versus federal powers, executive power, slavery, and commerce. Large and small states fought over representation in Congress. Large states favored representation by population, while small states argued for equal representation by State. The "Great Compromise" allowed for both by establishing the House of Representatives, which was apportioned by populations, and the Senate which represented the states equally.

A central issue at the Convention was whether the federal government or the states would have more power. Many delegates believed that the federal government should be able to overrule state laws, but others feared that a strong federal government would oppress their citizens. The delegates compromised by allotting specific responsibilities to the federal government while delegating all other functions to the states. Having fought a war against tyranny, Americans were suspicious of executive power. The Convention held no fewer than 60 votes before the delegates agreed upon the Electoral College as the method of selecting the president.

However, unspoken among the delegates was the knowledge that George Washington would become the first president , and they trusted him to define the office. Though the word "slavery" does not appear in the Constitution , the issue was central to the debates over commerce and representation. The Convention also debated whether to allow the new federal government to ban the importation of enslaved people from outside of the United States, including directly from Africa. They ultimately agreed to allow Congress to ban it, should it choose, but not before twenty years had passed.

Remarkably, it was one of the only clauses of the Constitution that could not be amended. Only in did the United States formally prohibit the international slave trade. Under the Articles of Confederation, the individual states competed against each other economically. They issued their own currencies and even levied taxes on each other's goods when they passed over state lines. Yet somehow, in the space of slightly less than four months, they managed to pull off an extraordinary accomplishment. The Constitution they drafted has been successful for most of U. And it has brought remarkable stability to one of the most tumultuous forms of political activity: popular democracy. The challenge that all nations in the world have faced not only in drafting a constitution, but also creating a form of government that both provides stability to its nation and sufficient civic responsibility and liberty to its people, is enormous.

Indeed, among the more than constitutions presently operating in the world today, few have been as successful in creating that delicate balance between governmental power and personal liberty among the citizens ruled by their government. The remarkable achievement of the fifty-five men gathered in Philadelphia during the summer of was by no means inevitable. Looking back on their work that summer, we can identify a few factors that enabled them to achieve their success. Certainly among the most important was the quality of leadership among those most committed to strengthening the American government. The ringleader was the thirty-seven-year-old James Madison. Standing only a few inches over five-feet tall, scrawny, suffering from a combination of poor physical health and hypochondria, and painfully awkward in any public forum, Madison nevertheless possessed a combination of intellect, energy, and political savvy that would mobilize the effort to create an entirely new form of continental union.

The Pennsylvania and Virginia delegates then met frequently during the days leading up to May Together these men would forge a radical new plan, the Virginia Plan, which would shape the course of events during that summer of By seizing the initiative, this small group of nationalist-minded politicians was able to set the terms of debate during the initial stages of the Convention—gearing the discussion toward not whether , but how —a vastly strengthened continental government would be constructed. On May 28, , the state delegations unanimously agreed to a proposal that would prove invaluable in allowing men like Madison, Wilson, and Morris to move their plan forward. But the rule of secrecy gave to delegates the freedom to disagree, sometimes vehemently, on important issues, and to do so without the posturing and pandering to public opinion that so often marks political debate today.

And it also gave delegates the freedom to change their minds; on many occasion, after an evening of convivial entertainment with one another, the delegates would return the following morning or even the following week or month, and find ways to reach agreement on issues that had previously divided them. The rule of secrecy helped make the Constitutional Convention a civil and deliberative body, rather than a partisan one.

It helped make compromise an attribute of statesmanship rather than a sign of weakness. It also became immediately clear that, however bold and innovative the plan may have been, there were many delegates in the room who had grave misgivings about some aspects of it. For nearly four months, the delegates attempted to work through, and resolve, their disagreements. The most divisive of those issues—those involving the apportionment of representation in the national legislature, the powers and mode of election of the chief executive, and the place of the institution of slavery in the new continental body politic—would change in fundamental ways the shape of the document that would eventually emerge on September 17, The delegates haggled over how to apportion representation in the legislature off and on for more than six weeks between May 30 and July Those from large, populous states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania—supporters of the Virginia Plan—argued that representation in both houses of the proposed new congress should be based on population, while those from smaller states such as New Jersey and Delaware—supporters of the New Jersey Plan—argued for equal representation for each state.

The compromise that eventually emerged, one championed most energetically by the delegates from Connecticut, was obvious: representation in the House of Representatives would be apportioned according to population, with each state receiving equal representation in the Senate. In the final vote on the so-called Connecticut Compromise on July 16, five states supported the proposal; four opposed, including Virginia and Pennsylvania; and one state—Massachusetts—was divided. James Madison and many of his nationalist colleagues were disconsolate, convinced that the compromise would destroy the very character of the national government they hoped to create.

In The Federalist No. In this, as in so many areas, the so-called original meaning of the Constitution was not at all self-evident— even to the Framers of the Constitution themselves. The debate among the delegates over the nature of the American presidency was more high- toned and more protracted than that over representation in the Congress. They urged their fellow delegates to give the president an absolute veto over congressional legislation. In the end, it was compromise that once again won the day—the delegates agreed to give the President a limited veto power, but one which could be over-ridden by a vote of two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

Most of the delegates initially thought that the executive should be elected by the national legislature; still others thought the executive should be elected by the state legislatures or even by the governors of the states. James Wilson was virtually the only delegate who proposed direct election of the president by the people. He believed that it was only through some form of popular election that the executive branch could be given both energy and independence.

They voted against some version of the proposal on numerous occasions between early June and early September of , only agreeing to the version contained in our modern Constitution modified slightly by the Twelfth Amendment grudgingly and out of a sense of desperation, as the least problematic of the alternatives before them. The other obvious solution—election by members of a national Congress whose perspective was likely to be continental rather than provincial—was ultimately rejected because of the problems it created with respect to the doctrine of separation of powers: the president, it was feared, would be overly beholden to, and therefore dependent upon, the Congress for his election. The creation of an electoral college was a middle ground, and while many delegates feared that locally-selected presidential electors would be subject to the same sort of provincial thinking as ordinary citizens, they reluctantly came to the conclusion that it was the best they could do while still preserving an adequate separation of power between the executive and legislative branches.

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