It was 229 years ago today the Constitutional Convention began


This is from Constitution Daily. 

It was 229 years ago the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia started in earnest and the first votes were taken at what is now called Independence Hall.


The delegates who gathered in Philadelphia on May 25, 1787 knew they were there for an important reason – the system of federal and state government under the Articles of Confederation just didn’t work.

It was a financial disaster and barred the United States of America from having a global presence as a nation or trade partner.


But it’s doubtful  the most farsighted of delegates, including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, could have predicted how long the Constitution would last and how far-reaching it would become as a global blueprint for government.

The first day began when a quorum of seven state delegations was reached. (The original start date for the convention was May 14, but travel and other problems delayed the convention’s start.)

There were actually delegates from nine states in the room, but Massachusetts and Georgia only had one delegate a piece, and couldn’t form official delegations.

In addition to establishing a quorum, three other measures were taken. First, George Washington was picked to preside over the convention.

Then, William Jackson defeated William Temple Franklin, the grandson of Ben Franklin, in the first contested vote of the convention, to be named as its secretary. (Ben Franklin was ill and not at the session on May 25th.)

And finally, a three-man group was picked to draw up the rules for the convention: Charles Pinckney, Alexander Hamilton and George Wythe.

According to James Madison’s notes, among the other delegates in the room were James Wilson, Rufus King, Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, George Read, George Mason and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The debate over the rules would start on May 28th, and it was the first day that Ben Franklin arrived at the convention.


On This Day: Shays’ rebellion was thwarted

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This is from the National Constitution Center.

I do not recall hearing about this rebellion.


On this day in 1787, Shays’ rebellion effectively ended in Springfield, Mass., when its forces failed to capture a federal armory. The uprising was one of the major influences in the calling of a Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.


Daniel Shays and Job Shattuck

The tax protest showed the federal government, under the Articles of Confederation, couldn’t put down an internal rebellion. It had to rely on a state militia sponsored by private Boston business people. With no money, the central government couldn’t act to protect a “perpetual union” guaranteed by the Articles.

The events leading to and including Shays’ rebellion alarmed Founders like George Washington, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton to the point where delegates from five states met at Annapolis, Maryland in September 1786 to discuss changing the Articles of Confederation.

The group in Maryland  included Madison, Hamilton and John Dickinson, and it recommended that a meeting of all 13 states be held the following May in Philadelphia. The Confederation Congress agreed and the Constitutional Convention of 1787 effectively ended the era of the Articles of Confederation.

Daniel Shays, a former Continental Army captain, led a group of upset western Massachusetts residents that clashed with the state government over the forgiveness of wartime debt and high taxes. In some cases, Army veterans who had never received pay for their service saw their property seized.

In August 1786, the protesters mobilized and seized several local courts after the state government refused to consider debt-relief provisions. Shays led a force of about 1,500 men in an attempted raid of the Springfield armory on January 26. The group was intercepted on the day before its planned attack; four protestors died in a brief conflict with the militia and the group dispersed.

When learning of the conflict, Washington remarked that it threatened “the tranquility of the Union.”

“If three years ago any person had told me that at this day, I should see such a formidable rebellion against the laws & constitutions of our own making as now appears I should have thought him a bedlamite – a fit subject for a mad house,” he wrote to Henry Knox.

At that time, Washington was leaning against attending the constitutional convention, but the impact of Shays’ rebellion and the influence of his friends led Washington to change his mind.

10 fascinating facts about John Hancock

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This is from the National Constitution Center. 

Some interesting trivia about John Hancock.


John Hancock and his signature are two of the best-known elements related to the Declaration of Independence. But how much do you know about the former president of the Continental Congress?










On May 24, 1775, Hancock was named as the presiding officer over the Second Continental Congress, which was meeting in Philadelphia to discuss the military threat posed by the British. A little more than a year later, Hancock was the first to sign the document declaring independence.

Here are 10 facts about the man whose name is now synonymous with impressive signatures.

1. Hancock was a wealthy guy. He was from Massachusetts and his family had money, which he inherited when his uncle died. In fact, Hancock may have been the richest man in New England when he inherited a shipping fortune.

2. He was a bright student. Young Hancock graduated from Harvard at the age of 17. He was also a quick learner in the business world.

3. Hancock should have been a Loyalist, but he wasn’t. With his wealth and social standing, Hancock should have been a leading member of an elite group that didn’t want independence. Instead, he sympathized with people like John and Samuel Adams, who were patriots.

4. John Hancock, smuggler? Well, he may have been an importer, too, but goods like tea that arrived in New England on Hancock’s ships may have escaped paying a duty. The suspicions led the British to seize Hancock’s ship, Liberty, which started a riot. John Adams got Hancock off the hook from the smuggling charges.

5. Hancock also had a role in the Boston Tea Party incident. While Hancock wasn’t on a ship tossing tea overboard, he was at meetings when outrage was vented at the British. He riled up the crowd with a famous statement: “Let every man do what is right in his own eyes.”

6. The British really didn’t like Hancock. The British troops that set out to Lexington and Concord in 1775 may have been hunting for Hancock and his friend, John Adams, as well as for military supplies that were stored for militia use. Hancock had to be talked out of taking the battlefield against the redcoats. And his arrest was ordered by the British after the battles.

7. Hancock was a behind-the-scenes force early in the American Revolution. Hancock raised money for the Revolution, he helped secure troops, and he played a role in getting naval forces organized. But a homesick Hancock left Congress in 1777 to return to Massachusetts.

8. He was the longtime governor of Massachusetts. Hancock was elected in 1780 to lead his state and was its governor for most of the remaining years of his life. He was immensely popular in his home state.

9. Hancock wasn’t at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.Hancock had health issues by 1787 and wasn’t in the Massachusetts delegation. But he played a key role in his state’s ratification of the Constitution, when he overcame his own objections about the lack of a Bill of Rights to urge its passage.

10. What’s the deal with the signature? It’s not true that Hancock signed the Declaration in a big way to taunt the King of England. The legend goes that Hancock stated that “King George will be able to read that!” In reality, Hancock was the first to sign in a matter fitting for the president of the Congress. And only one other person was in the room when he signed it, unlike that famous painting that shows a gaggle of patriots witnessing the event. Hancock did take a big risk: His signature was evidence of treason if things didn’t go well in the war!



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Bill Whittle explains why we need to vote Romney/Ryan.

The facts Bill laying out are scary but true.

Do not waste your vote on Ron Paul or Gary Johnson.

Ben Franklin when asked what he had just give us after the Constitutional Convention.

To which Ben Franklin replied “A Republic if you can keep it.”

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