Posted on 4/23/2018, 4:30:20 AM by Jacquerie
James Madison and Federalist supporters of the Constitution carried the day in the Confederation Congress. Although Congress did not express explicit support, it sent the Constitution anyway to the states for submission to ratifying conventions. Most notably, Congress did not attach the amendments recommended by Virginia’s Richard Henry Lee. To Lee, amending the Constitution before ratification made simple sense. Just a few preventive amendments may mean the difference between a republic and an aristocracy likely to slide into oligarchy.
So, as the Anti-Federalist forces gathered, the nationwide question remained: Should an imperfect Constitution be amended before the ratification of nine states, or should the nation rely instead on Article V after the new government is in motion and operating? Amend when a simple majority of the states will do, or risk the more difficult process in Article V?
Few were entirely satisfied with Constitution. George Washington thought it was the best that could be done since it opened the door to amendments via Article V which lent “a way to remedy its imperfections in the future.” He supported its adoption under the “present circumstances of the Union,” which seemed to him “suspended by a thread.”
Virginia’s George Mason, who did not support the Constitution and opposed it at the Virginia Ratification Convention, nonetheless supported a stronger government and one that acted on the people, as long as the government included structural checks on the misuse of that power. In October 1787, Mason sent George Washington a list of his objections. Outside of this letter he insisted the sovereign people should hash out amendments at each state ratification convention, then hold another national convention to sort them out. After all, what right did the federal convention have to prevent adjustments before the Constitution went into effect?
(Excerpt) Read more at articlevblog.com …