Answering questions about the book: The Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart.


Summer of 1787 by David O. Stewart

1. Who was Daniel Shay’s? Describe his actions in 1786. How did they convince General Knox, a Boston merchant, that the federal government must be strengthened? (p. 11-15, 21)
Daniel Shay was one of the leaders of Shay’s Rebellion. In 1786 Shay sold a gold sword given to him by Marquis de Lafayette and it is assumed that he sold it to pay expenses on him 100 acre farm. He owed money to 10+ different creditors. He was a member of the town’s Committee of Safety and he and his wife Abigail joined the Second Parish Church. They convinced General Knox that the government needed to be strengthened because the rebellion wrought prodigious changes in the minds of men respecting the powers of government.
2. What year did the Old Plan of Union bring 13 North American states into a wartime alliance via the Articles of Confederation? Some 4 years later, a VA Confederation Congressman argued that a uniform customs service could only be achieved through a New Plan of Union. Who was he? (p. 8)

1781. James Madison
3. The 1786 Annapolis Convention met to discuss trade issues. This, in turn, resulted in 12 states sending delegations in the next year to discuss confederation issues in a broader context. Where was this convention to unfold? (p. 10)
New Jersey
4. The U.S. Minister to France dismissed the urgency in calling the 1787 convention. (He sympathized more with impoverished farmers than with their creditors.) Who was he and where was his home? As well, he saw an “abominable precedent” in the secret proceedings in Philadelphia. Do you think that level of secrecy could be observed over 4 months during a constitutional convention meeting in our time?–tell why or why not?
Thomas Jefferson and his home was in Paris

5. Madison and another Congressman from his state wrote of movements to dissolve the Union in the run-up to the Philadelphia Convention. Who was his colleague? In which city did the Confederation Congress meet? How did one become a Confederation Congressman? (p. 19, 56)
6. “Not worth a Continental!” Who issued the Continentals (which were paper), and why did they do so? Why were Continentals all but worthless in 1787? (Hint: what does “unsecured mean?) (p. 20)
7. Why did the Confederation Congress lack revenue to adequately fund the financial obligations of the federal government? (p. 22-23)
8. Succinctly describe the “monetary anarchy” of the U.S. in the 1780s. (p. 20-21)
9. After 4 years of debate, the Old Plan of Union went into effect on receiving the unanimous consent of the original 13 states. What issue had to be resolved before the Old Plan could be accepted? (p. 23)
10. How many state ratifications were necessary for the New Plan of Union to spring to life under the U.S. Constitution? What fraction of the Union in 1788 was represented when this goal was achieved? (It is the same threshold required to ament the New Plan of Union.) How does this lowering of the threshold to fundamentally alter law, lay the foundation for a more “energetic” federal government? (p. 282)
11. Which state refused to send a delegation to Philadelphia? Why was this the case? When did the state join the Union established through the U.S. Constitution? (p. 25, 246)
12. Two VA delegates put their heads together before the unfolding of the Philadelphia Convention. They agreed on the fundamental scheme for drafting a New Plan of Union, one where the federal government would be strengthened. What was necessary for their goal to be achieved, and who were these two wealthy planters? (p. 25)
13. In the context of the Convention, John Rutledge may have been alike the single most driven and the single most successful politician among the 55 delegates assembled in Philadelphia. What was his educational background, what things did he do to pursue a living, and through which particular skills were his political successes manifested in the summer of 1787? (p. 39-40)
14. George Mason saw the New England delegates as “anti-republican”, ie,. Disdainful of the man in the streets and of his abilities to act as a citizen. He also described these New England men as “knaves and fools.” What is a knave? He saw the Carolinians and Georgians as “coxcombs”. What is a coxcomb? Finally, how did he view the Pennsylvanians, Yorkers, and Jerseymen? (p. 37,45)

15. “Leadership begins with showing up”. Illustrate the truth of this maxim with reference to the summer of 1787. (p. 44)

16. Who presided over the deliberations in Philadelphia? (p. 47)
17. What was to replace the Old Plan of Union? The VA Plan proposed a bicameral national legislature and as well the creation of a federal judiciary and executive. These changes in the federal government were modeled on certain policies¬¬¬–tell what they were. In the realm of theory, the VA Plan embraces legislative supremacy, a doctrine which rejects that the other 2 branches have an equal right to control a government. Why do you think this theory made a lot of sense to some delegates? (p. 53)
18. Which VA governor presented his state’s plan as the Convention opened? He believed government needed “sufficient checks against the democracy”, and that control of the national government needed to be kept out of the hands of the chief executives (presidents) and judges. The VA Plan called for special state assemblies to convene and debate the work of the Convention, as the citizens of a state have the authority to ratify or reject a New Plan of Union. What is the more familiar name for the New Plan of Union? (p. 53)
19. The VA plan proposed that the federal government should have power to veto state laws; the measure was not acceptable to the Convention. Who authored the VA Plan? He subsequently offered the VA Resolution a dozen years later in Richmond to his state legislature. Approved by the assembly, the measure declared that their state (or any state) may review and rule on the constitutionality of federal law–and interpose state power to keep measures from being shoved down the throats of Virginians. (p.53)
20. The VA Plan called the reforming representation. In place of the “one state/one vote” rule existing under the Old Plan of Union, congressional votes would be cast by individual representatives. Why did large states (like VA) want to see this happen? (p. 56)
21. How did the problem of representation bring slavery into the room for the delegates? How many slaves were there in the U.S. of 1787? What fraction of the population were they? What fraction in the South? (p.56-57, 68)
22. The smallness or largeness of states was determined by population. What were the three large states in 1787? Ever since the (pre-Rev War) Stamp Act Congress of 1765, a certain tradition exaggerated the power of the small states/colonies, according to the large states. What is it? (p. 60-61)
23. During the debates over representation, Mason chided the “indifference of the superior classes of society” toward their more humble fellow-citizens. The latter need to have their interests represented, he argued, by directly participating in a certain election. What election is Mason referring to here? (p. 63)

24. Who successfully proposed that under the New Plan of Union, the state legislatures should choose their members of the U.S. Senate? (This lasted until 1913.) This man served as a delegate from which state? Earlier, he had drafted the Articles of Confederation in 1776. (p. 63-65)
25. Congress under the Old Plan of Union was unicameral. Under the New Plan, it would have a Senate which would check a certain evil tendency Edmund Randolph found in the lower chamber. What was that tendency? (p. 64)
26. Congress funded the Continental Army until it disbanded in 1783 with the singing of the Peace of Paris. This funding would have been impossible without (voluntary) state contributions. Who served as Commander-in-Chief of the bluecoats in the Continental Army? (p. 7)
27. As the proposed Articles were being revised by the Continental Congress, debate arose over basing federal tax requisitions (really requests) on property or persons. (The states taxed both) Discussion of taxation laid bare the regional clash of interests over slavery. In terms of federal taxation, the argument that slaves should be tax-free was the argument of a certain region. Which one?

28. Land values formed the basis for federal taxation between 1777 and 1783. In the latter year, the Confederation Congress revisited imposing a head tax on inhabitants. As proposed by Madison, a fraction of the slave population could be counted in calculating each state’s tax bill. What was this fraction? (It was referred to as the federal ratio) (p. 78-79)

29. The federal ratio was approved by the farmers in Philadelphia as the standard for structuring a representative government. Thus, in calculating seats in either the proposed Electoral College or U.S. House of Representatives, five slaves would have the same weight as three free inhabitants in a given state. In part, this was undertaken to insure sufficient votes were lined up to overcome the “one state/one vote” linchpin of What Plan? (The Attorney General of the State advancing the Plan accused large states of conspiring to undermine the sovereignty and equality of the small states) (p. 65-67, 79-80)
30. In delivering a five hour speech (“praised by everybody, supported by nobody”), a certain NY delegate had called for the eradication of state sovereignty, demand “the mass of the people” as almost always wrong, and lauded monarchy. Who was he? (p. 94-96)
31. Name the delegate who urged that daily session begin with a prayer, the suggestion coming at a time of great division. Another delegate predicted that the greatest threat to be posed under the new constitution lay in that “the great northern and southern interests” were opposed to one another. Who was this delegate? (p. 103)
32. Describe the wild word of Delaware’s Gunning Bedford, who probably uttered the most radical speech while the Convention was in session. (p. 106)

33. Madison spoke of the constitutional necessity of a “defensive power” to protect major interests, what does he imply about the viability of a national Union which neither recognizes a major interest, nor respects in it the rights of self-preservation? (p. 104)

34. Equal state votes in the Senate came about through an unexpected vote cast by a little known Georgia delegate. Name this obscure politician, and tell why his action prevented a walk-out by certain delegates. Finally, who observed that achieving common ground on this issue proved the highest single hurdle to overcome in the summer of 1787? (p. 107-109, 126)
35. An elderly Pennsylvanian rose to address the select committee on representation, offering up a scheme which latter generations called “The Great Compromise”, the octogenarian offered solutions at time of particular acute division. A number of his proposals made it into the committee report and were adopted by the constructional framers. Name them. On the other hand, proposals of his which could not find a second included one for federal officeholders to serve without salaries, and for the creation of a plural federal executive. Who was this delegate> (p. 111-112)

36. A flamboyant playboy with a pegleg representing Pennsylvania told the Convention that he would delight in the day that the federal government utterly crushed states’ rights. A federal army accomplishing this end would even be acceptable, he affirmed. Name this man, the delegate who spoke more than any other in the Convention. (He later said that it would be preferable for his section to leave the Union should it be politically dominated by an alliance of southern and western states.) (p. 114, 122)
37. Which delegate may be considered as the father of the U.S. Census Bureau? What is the political significance of this agency and why is it necessary? Which ancient republic had a census? (p. 118)
38. Property-owning women, if citizens, could vote in which state until 1807? (p. 117)
39. How did one Philadelphia newspaper see the Convention in relation to the “Declaration of Independency?” (p. 113)

40. In 1787, the Ohio Company was pledged to the rapid settlement of Eastern Ohio by pioneers from New England. The Confederation Congress helped facilitate this in two ways. Name them. Simultaneously, the Philadelphia Convention made a pragmatic arrangement for the admission of future states under the New Plan of Union. Describe it. (p. 134-136, 139-140)

41. The delegates opted for an election system to select the U.S. Presidents, with electors to be picked by their respective state assemblies. (Ostensibly, the members of the Electoral College would register the popular vote) The procedure was designed to both protect states’ rights and to guard against the selection of any presidential candidate deemed as being too politically strong. Why was great political strength in a chief executive a thing feared by the framers? (p. 153)
42. Seeing in the Virginia Plan a means for Congress to impose a federal tyranny, Rutledge successfully introduced checks to the national legislative agenda. He did this through Article I, Section 8 (p. 273-274), copying some of the enumerated powers found in a certain document. Name the document. He thus transformed a national government into one of limited powers, and did so out of a concern for individual rights and the rights of certain politics. Name them. (p. 171)
43. According to Stewart Rutledge and Wilson “worked out a creative balance in response to a novel challenge.” That challenge lay in reconciling “two sovereigns exercising power over the same territory at the same time.” Here we see federalism, in which the state and national communities are envisioned as waging a healthy competition to strike a balance between state and national power. Describe the work of Wilson to forge the Supremacy Clause, a measure ginned up to balance Rutledge’s limitations on the federal government. (p. 55, 173)
44. Residency requirements were imposed by the framers for immigrants to hold federal office. What were the views of Piers Butler on this topic? (p. 186)

45. Held in Richmond, the VA ratification convention of 1788 found Mason urging rejection of the New Plan of Union. He saw the document as the means of “reducing the States to mere corporations”, thus providing the northern majority with an opportunity to oppress the southern minority. Turning the south into a colonial possession of the north would most likely flow out of the “navigation acts”, federal legislative measure which could be passed with bare majorities under the new constitution. What were the navigation acts? (p. 173)
46. The deliberations in Richmond described above resulted in Mason (rhetorically) twisting Madison’s arm until the latter agreed to draft the constitutional amendments known as the U.S. Bill of Rights. (The Bill was ratified in 1792.) These measures afforded protection from federal interference with the rights of the states and of –whom? (p. 226.)
47. John Dickenson expressed views on the role of reason in politics. What argument did he make? Dickenson, a deeply conservative localist, along with his protégé James Wilson expressed the pragmatic view that the importation of more slaves presented grave danger in what Stewart describes as “a society that defined itself as white”. (p. 189, 194, 299)
48. Stewart underscores that the framers understood their work as constructing a political order, not a moral order. What were CT lawyer Oliver Ellsworth’s views re slavery? (p. 197)
49. Hoping to defeat ratification of the proposed constitution in Richmond, Patrick Henry argued that northerners “have not the ties of sympathy and fellow feeling” with southerners. Rawlings Lowndes echoed the same conviction in Charleston during the SC ratification convention. The federal government would be the means to overturn slaveholding rights, and all other rights cherished by Carolinians, Lowndes predicted. Lowndes, the leader of the SC Anti-federalists, was countered by General Pinckney. What argument did the general make to secure acceptance in their state of the New Plan of Union? (p. 204)
50. Appearing in 1788, the Federalist Papers appeared as editorials in NY newspapers. They urged ratification of the New Plan of Union. Who were the pseudonymous authors of these essays? (p. 246)

51. The Convention compromised on the issue of the navigation laws. They could be passed by a bare congressional majority, the quid pro quo being acceptance of a certain clause. Describe that clause. As well, a ban on export taxes was imposed in exchange for a sunset provision on the foreign slave trade (which ended in 1808). (p. 203)
52. Having left MA for NY, one delegate was ultimately elected to U.S. Senate. In 1825, he introduced legislation aiming at the deportation beyond the shores of the U.S. of both the free black and slave populations. (Stewart got the details wrong.) Who was his man, and how did he propose to fund such a massive relocation of people? (p. 206)
53. Which document is the quote below from, the U.S. Constitution or the Articles of Confederation?
“Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every Power, Jurisdiction and right, which is not by this confederation expressly delegated to the United States.”

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