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The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action John P Roche 1961.

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Presentation on theme: "The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action John P Roche 1961."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Founding Fathers: A Reform Caucus in Action John P Roche 1961

2 Introduction O Was the Constitution a mastery of government theory? O Was is a lucky stroke at the right time? O Was it the work of political skill and democratic approbation? O It was a national reform caucus of skilled political enemies working out a definitive goal.

3 Summary O The view of the founding fathers has changed, making them more conservative than they really were. O They were clearly revolutionaries and democratic as well. O They were not idealistic or divine, but practical politicians. O They were, in fact acting on behalf of the people they represented.

4 Summary O The convention could not have endeavored to change the union unless the states had not first agreed. O Everyone had their own agendas, and all the politics behind it. O All gave up some interests in order to get the compromises. O Being in the body made them more national in their approach.

5 Summary O Support for the Constitutional cause came in O George Washington O Their communication skills O Their pre-emptive work O The collective purpose of the revolution O They worked hard to create a following O It is easier to argue for some kind of reform than to oppose none

6 Summary O The organized opposition and the use of the state legislature appointments prove that the process was more democratic. O Madison’s Virginia plan got the group moving toward a new document. O There were no clear ideological differences. O The secrecy of their meeting prove a certain amount of discourse.

7 Summary O We should not see the balance of federalism as newly invented but as a settled argument. O It was not what Madison wanted at all. O He preferred national power and authority to punish states. O He even got initial approval for his plan. O The push back came form the small states O He had no choice but to relax his nationalist point of view.

8 Summary O Delegates were representing the views of their constituents and ended up compromising the ideal. O Even those in opposition to the Constitutionalists preferred to strengthening the government. O The opposition only wanted fairness for the other states.

9 Summary O Compromise was difficult because of self- interest. O They needed more compromises to get policy-making away from the mob. O Hamilton stepped out of negotiations frustrated. O The real difference only in counting representation.

10 Summary O After weeks of debate, they put a committee to work on the representation issue. O The committee was made up of moderate compromisers. O The framers were not wedded to a political theory. O Once compromise on representation was reached then the original central plan moved forward.

11 Summary O The position of the executive was a tough issue. O The electoral college was a win for all parties. O Most thought the electoral college would never get a majority and the president would always be elected by the House. O The electoral college was a political compromise meant to help the negotiations move on.

12 Summary O There were economic and political problems over the issue of slavery, but morality was not contested. O They traded the slave count on one side over a super majority on navigation on the other. O The compromise would reconcile the south to the east. O The legislature seemed to have great freedom and no challenge from the courts.

13 Summary O These were busy men, with other work, set on getting the job done. O Only personal hang ups kept people from endorsing the draft. O They had to work to get ratification. O It was political maneuvering that got the Constitution that got the Constitution ratified. O Madison used great rhetorical skill to win.

14 Summary O Working out the details came next. O We still wonder about the intent on the document, but must remember the context of its writing. O Ambiguity was a weapon for completing the work. O Be careful not to elevate the men or the words.

15 Summary O Rather than ideal political philosophy, the Constitution was great politics. O Political scientists today see more philosophy than the framers did. O It is better for others to copy the process than the document.


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