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Second Constitution Hypocrisy

I do not think that there is evidence that the founding fathers expected a civil war to break out into slavery. Founding fathers were mainly against the institution of slavery, but the southern delegates (where the economy depended entirely on slavery) were for the institution. Some steps have been taken to mitigate the effects of slavery. The Constitution does not mention the word “slave” or “slavery”. The import of slaves was to become illegal in 1808, so the founders had a system of limiting the increase by import. The southern states wanted slaves to be considered complete people for appropriation purposes, but this eventually narrowed to 3/5. The reality was that the founders did not think that they could force the US to work without the support of the southern states and as such, they were kicking about the problem of slavery, but managed to get into power to regulate slavery with an import ban. Discussions in the Constitutional Agreement indicate a desire to put an end to this institution, but nothing about a potential war that could lead to the institution remaining.

Hardly every day we hear and read about a split in America, which history did not know. The country is really split into two irreconcilable camps. Democrats hate Donald Trump and all the Republicans for him. Yes, of course, the country is split, but to say that the history of the country did not know this means to be at odds with history. In the decades leading up to the Civil War, the country experienced a much greater split. The disagreement between the northern and southern states regarding the institution of slavery was just the tip of the iceberg of disagreements. North and South shared many other problems and the main was, of course, the problem of foreign trade. The industrial northern states considered it necessary to increase customs duties on imports from European countries. The agrarian southern countries did not doubt that after that Europeans would increase the customs tariffs, and this, for sure, will affect the export of cotton. The split led to war – the most bloody in the history of the country.

Historian Joseph Ellis called a book about how George Washington, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison organized the “second American revolution”. Ellis, the author of ten books on the revolutionary pore and its heroes (he is a Pulitzer laureate for the book “Founding Brothers” /) correctly chose the time for the publication of the Quartet. The country is split, and it is useful for her to be acquainted with the time of the even greater split and find out how politicians have found compromises while working on the Constitution. The present is not a sin to learn from them …

The idea to write a book was born in Ellis in a Vermont school, where his son is teaching. The son invited his father to a lesson in history, in which his students recited the Gettysburg speech of Abraham Lincoln by heart. In this short – less than two minutes speech – Lincoln said November 19, 1863, at the opening of the soldiers’ cemetery in Gettysburg (Pennsylvania), where in early July this year there was a battle between the armies of the North and the South. Lincoln began the following speech: ” Eighty-seven years have passed since our fathers founded a new nation on this continent.” However, Ellis, an excellent expert on the history of America’s revolutionary period, knew that Lincoln was wrong in saying “87 years”. Lincoln counted from 1776 when Independence was proclaimed. However, in 1776 the new nation was not founded. The new one was founded only in 1789 when the first government was created – with the president, the bicameral Congress, and the Supreme Court … And Ellis decided to write a book that corrects one of Lincoln’s most famous speeches. That is how the “Quartet” was born.

Hamilton was probably the first of four who concluded that the articles of the Confederation were not suitable, he said, “for both war and peace.” Hamilton wrote about this in 1780, when the war was still going on, and he, 25, was the adjutant and personal secretary of the army commander, General Washington. It is necessary, he wrote, “a strong alliance,” in which every member is “obliged to fulfill” the decisions of the common government.

In 1783, Hamilton, as the representative of New York in the Congress of the Confederation, proposed a resolution on holding a special congress that would amend the Articles of the Confederation. Hamilton was supported by John Jay, also a representative of New York, responsible for the congress of the Confederation for international affairs. He came to the conviction that “the design of the federal government is fundamentally wrong” and that the state of affairs in the union “can lead to a crisis”.

“We are either a single nation or not,” George Washington wrote in 1785, two years after the end of the war. “There is no man who is more than I realize the need for reform of our present Confederation.” During the army command, he personally became convinced of the inability of the Congress of the Confederation to resolve any issues.

James Madison, the last of the quartet, concluded that the articles of the Confederation are an unsuitable instrument for governing the country. He was convinced of this in August 1786, when two thousand farmers in the western regions of Massachusetts rebelled against taxes and demanded to cancel their debts. The uprising was led by Daniel Shays, a former Washington Army officer in the War of Independence. The Massachusetts government appealed for help to other members of the Union, but others did not care what happens at the far end of the earth.

The Shays rebellion was not yet suppressed, and in September of the same year, 1786, in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, a conference was opened to condemn the amendment to the articles of the Confederation concerning the lifting of customs barriers between the members of the Union. The conference was approved by the Congress of the Confederation, but only Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania sent their representatives. Most members of the Union ignored the meeting. Naturally, those who came to Annapolis could not solve anything with regard to customs barriers. However, before departing with anything, the arrivals – including Virginia Madison – unanimously accepted the proposal of the New York delegate Hamilton about the “future Convention” to discuss common problems. The resolution even set the date and venue for the meeting: the second Sunday in May 1787 in Philadelphia…

“Perhaps no one with any hint of having common sense could believe that Hamilton’s proposal has at least the slightest chance of success,” Ellis writes. However, a miracle happened. The Congress of the Confederation approved Hamilton’s proposal to meet and discuss the changes in the Articles of the Confederation. However, Hamilton and Madison intended to go to Philadelphia not to amend the articles of the Confederation, but to completely abandon them, and replace them with a new constitution. To carry out the plan, Washington should be persuaded to take part in the Convention, that is, to give up this soon after the victory in the War For the independence of the public promise “never again get involved in public affairs.”

After Congress of the Confederation agreed to convene the Convention in Philadelphia, Hamilton and Jay began to “process” Washington with letters. In addition, Virginia Madison visited the Washington Virgin personally. All three reminded the general of the words he had said about the need for reform of the Confederation and that the people should be united. They believed that only one presence of Washington could contribute to the implementation of what they had conceived – the replacement of the Articles of Confederation and the creation of a new capable government.

Washington agreed to be in Philadelphia, and when the Convention was opened on May 25, 1787, the delegates unanimously elected him a chair. On the same day, Madison presented to the audience a plan for radical reform – the rejection of the Articles of Confederation. This plan compelled the delegates of the Convention to deal not with changes in the articles of the Confederation – for which they came to Philadelphia, but with the elaboration of a new Constitution based on which a new government will be formed – instead of the Congress of Confederations.

The Constitutional Convention worked for almost four months – until September 17, when the Constitution was adopted. In the summer of 1787 in Philadelphia, it was hot and stuffy, and the windows in the hall where the meetings were held were tightly closed. There was no communication with the outside world of the delegates of the Convention. None of them, except Madison, did not record the discussion, and disputes occurred almost on every issue. Journalists had no idea what was being discussed and how.

However, the approval of the Constitution at the Convention in Philadelphia did not stop there. The Constitution could enter into force not earlier than it is ratified by nine of the thirteen members of the Union. Opponents of ratification were more than enough, especially in New York and Virginia. Hamilton decided to persuade opponents of the Constitution … pen. He was invited to participate in the project Madison and Jay, and this trio wrote 85 essays, each of which interpreted various articles and provisions of the Constitution. The essays were published from October 1787 to August 1788 in two New York newspapers and in the autumn of the 88th, they were published in a collection entitled “The Federalist”. The Constitutional Convention in New York ratified the Constitution with a minimal advantage: 30 for and 27 against. However, even before the vote in New York, the Constitution was ratified by 10 members of the Union and, therefore, entered into force…

Today one can only wonder how long the Union would last if the Articles of the Confederation were not replaced by the Constitution and the three-headed government did not come to replace the Confederation’s Congress – with the executive, legislative and legal branches of power. The longevity of the original Union was doubted not only by European observers but also by many founding fathers of the United States. The conspiracy of four allowed the “second American revolution”, as Ellis emphasizes, to create the United States of America (not on paper, but in practice).

Participants in the quartet of conspirators were: the future first president (Washington ton), the forthcoming fourth president (Madison), the future first chairman of the Supreme Court (Jay), and the future first minister of finance (Hamilton) ..


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