Agreement In Which Each Side Gives Up A Little

Delegates met for nearly four months when the style committee presented a final draft constitution on September 12. The draft included a new provision that provides for a jury trial in criminal matters in the new federal judicial system. The jury trial was considered one of many fundamental rights, and George Mason was slow to propose to include a comprehensive bill listing fundamental individual rights that the government could not violate. He believed that a bill of rights would “give great tranquillity to the people” and could be written in just a few hours. Eldridge Gerry agreed and asked for a committee to develop a rights bill. Mason filed his application, but was rejected by 10 votes to 0. (Each state had one vote and only 10 states were represented in favour of the vote) On May 25, the meeting appeared at the Philadelphia Statehouse. George Washington was elected presidential officer. Delegates quickly decided that their discussions should not be made public and that “nothing that is said in the house is printed or published or communicated in any other way.” Because of the rule of secrecy, the public didn`t know much about what was going on at the Philadelphia Statehouse. And without the careful notes of James Madison, who attended each session and carefully transcribed the procedure, we would now know little about how the Constitution was drafted. On June 30, Connecticut delegates proposed a compromise.

According to Madison`s notes, they suggested that “the share of the right to vote in the 1st branch should be proportional to the number of free inhabitants; and that in the second branch or the Senate, every state should have one vote, not more.┬áThe proposal did not end fierce opposition and heated debate. Some delegates began to leave in protest, and a sense of darkness emerged over the Statehouse. “It seems,” Sherman says, “that we`ve reached a point where we can`t move one way or another.” Washington wrote to Alexander Hamilton (who had left) that the crisis was so severe that he was almost desperate to see a favourable result. When the document was submitted to Congress and the country, it surprised everyone. In fact, it has been controversial in many states. But until July 1788, nine states had ratified it, and it came into force. On March 27, 1789, the first member of Congress and President George Washington took office under the new U.S. Constitution. Delegates generally agreed on the need for an executive independent of the legislature. (The executive would be called “president.” They also agreed to give the president the power to veto the laws, but only if his veto was suspended.

As Madison said, delegates proposed many different ways to elect the president. An alternative was the direct election of the people, but this was controversial.

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