Two hundred and twenty five years ago, and one month before the Philadelphia Convention, aka the Constitutional Convention, Congressional delegate James Madison responded to a letter from George Washington.
He offered thoughts on his new plan of government, the Virginia Plan. Compared to the Articles of Confederation it was radical, yet it was structurally close enough to the mixed governments of the States to be familiar as well. It would emerge in modified form five months later as The Constitution of the United States of America.
To George Washington
New York, April 16 1787
I have been honoured with your letter of the 31 of March, and find with much pleasure that your views of the reform which ought to be pursued by the Convention, give a sanction to those which I have entertained. Temporising applications will dishonor the Councils which propose them, and may foment the internal malignity of the disease, at the same time that they produce an ostensible palliation of it. Radical attempts, although unsuccessful, will at least justify the authors of them.
Having been lately led to revolve the subject which is to undergo the discussion of the Convention, and formed in my mind some outlines of a new system, I take the liberty of submitting them without apology, to your eye……..
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