The people are turbulent and changing; they seldom judge right or make good decision.— Alexander Hamilton
Beautiful Constitutional Convention quotations
Let our government be like that of the solar system.
Let the general government be like the sun and the states the planets, repelled yet attracted, and the whole moving regularly and harmoniously in several orbits.
I am exceedingly distressed at the proceedings of the Convention-being .
.. almost sure, they will ... lay the foundation of a Civil War.
The example of changing a constitution by assembling the wise men of the state, instead of assembling armies, will be worth as much to the world as the former examples we had give them. The constitution, too, which was the result of our deliberation, is unquestionably the wisest ever yet presented to men.
A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.
I therefore beg leave to move that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessing on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning.
I cannot accept this invitation [to celebrate the bicentenial of the Constitution], for I do not believe that the meaning of the Constitution was forever 'fixed' at the Philadelphia Convention... To the contrary, the government they devised was defective from the start. [Progressive]
If I could have entertained the slightest apprehension that the Constitution framed in the Convention where I had the honor to preside might possibly endanger the religious rights of any ecclesiastical society, certainly I would never have placed my signature to it.
You give me a credit to which I have no claim in calling me "the writer of the Constitution of the United States." This was not, like the fabled Goddess of Wisdom, the offspring of a single brain. It ought to be regarded as the work of many heads and many hands.
[The Federal Convention] is really an assembly of demigods.
No morn ever dawned more favorable than ours did;
and no day was every more clouded than the present! Wisdom, and good examples are necessary at this time to rescue the political machine from the impending storm.
Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended, Mrs.
Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, "Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, "A republic, if you can keep it."
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men.
'Tis done. We have become a nation.
A lady asked Dr. Franklin Well Doctor what have we got a republic or a monarchy - "A republic," replied the Doctor, "if you can keep it."
I consider the difference between a system founded on the legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a league or treaty and a constitution.
It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States . . . should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections.
Outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended
If we really want to make progress and achieve greater fairness as a society, it is time for elemental change. And we should start by looking at the Constitution, with the goal of holding a new Constitutional Convention.
You well know, sir, that when the Constitution was submitted to the People of the respective States for their adoption or rejection, it awakened the warmest debates of the several State conventions.
We have been assured, Sir, in the Sacred Writings, that 'except the Lord build the House, they labor in vain that build it' I firmly believe this; by our partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and a by word down to future ages.
There never was an assembly of men, charged with a great and arduous trust, who were more pure in their motives, or more exclusively or anxiously devoted to the object committed to them.
Whilst the last members were signing it Doctr.
Franklin looking towards the Presidents chair, at the back of which a rising sun happened to be painted, observed to a few members near him, that Painters had found it difficult to distinguish in their art a rising from a setting sun.
Jealousy, and local policy mix too much in all our public councils for the good government of the Union. In a words, the confederation appears to me to be little more than a shadow without the substance . . . .
We have seen the mere distinction of color made in the most enlightened period of time, a ground of the most oppressive dominion ever exercised by man over man.
In time of actual war, great discretionary powers are constantly given to the Executive Magistrate. Constant apprehension of War, has the same tendency to render the head too large for the body. A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty.
There was not a member of the Constitutional Convention who had the least objection to what is contended for by the advocates for a Bill of Rights and trial by jury.
THE Constitution proposed by the convention may be considered under two general points of view. The FIRST relates to the sum or quantity of power which it vests in the government, including the restraints imposed on the States. The SECOND, to the particular structure of the government, and the distribution of this power among its branches.
Why did the Articles [of Confederation] fail so completely? Most historians believe the founding fathers spent a great deal of their first constitutional convention drafting the delaration of independence and only realized on July 3rd the Articles were also due.
Attending that Convention and talking with those people and many others convinced me that I should become a blogger in my efforts to reform the government and uphold the integrity of the Constitution and the laws made in furtherance thereof.
[The Massachusetts constitution] resembles the federal Constitution of 1787 more closely than any of the other revolutionary state constitutions. It was also drawn up by a special convention, and it provided for popular ratification - practices that were followed by the drafters of the federal Constitution of 1787 and subsequent state constitution-makers.
[James] Madison pointed out in the discussion of the constitutional debates - the constitutional convention - that democracy would be a danger. He used England of course as the model and said suppose that in England everyone had the free right to vote; the poor, the propertyless - who are the great majority - would use their voting power to take away the rights of property owners to carry out what we would call land reform.
If you look at the minutes of the constitutional convention - which we have - Madison who was the main framer, proceeded to develop a system in which - as he put it - power would be in the hands of the wealth of the nation, the more responsible set of men and who recognize the need to protect the rights of property owners. That's why in the constitutional system, the most powerful part of the whole system is the senate.
At no time, at no place in solemn convention assembled, through no chosen agents, had the American people officially proclaimed the United States to be a democracy. The Constitution did not contain the word or any word lending countenance to it.
If the States were not left to leave the Union when their rights were interfered with, the government would have been National, but the Convention refused to baptize it by that name.