Saturday, June 26, 2010

Picture yourself in Philadelphia in 1787

You're a delegate to the Federalist Convention and you're debating the content of what will become our Constitution. You've been there over a month already; it's hot, crowded, expensive. It seems that the convention will certainly last through the summer and perhaps well into autumn. Indeed, creating a new government is not for the faint of heart.

Fast forward to today . . . we know the result of the Constitutional Convention and much has been written about the convention itself. Additionally, many details are available online. Wikipedia has an excellent timeline, for those who like to see history in an organized way. And we can also access a day-by-day record of the convention. Madison's notes on the debates are available online at the Yale Law Library. Click here to see what happened on a particular date.

I was interested to read the notes from today (June 26) - among other topics, the delegates discussed term lengths for congress (aka the 2nd branch) and salary options. What if they had agreed to two year terms instead of six? Or if Dr. Franklin had persuaded the group to pay congress no salary? If you'd like to know what happens next - check out Madison's notes. I'm going to skip ahead . . .

The painting is Independence Hall by Ferdinand Richardt, 1858-1863, White House Collection.

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