Convention Conflict & Consensus

Independence Hall 1

Conflict at the Constitutional Convention

by Tara Ross – June 30, 2020

On this day in 1787, the Constitutional Convention is underway. A small state delegate stands up and addresses the large state delegates in the room.

He didn’t calmly address them, either. Gunning Bedford, Jr. *blasted* this statement at his fellow delegates! Can’t you just imagine the tension in the room when he was done?

“I do not, gentlemen, trust you. If you possess the power, the abuse of it could not be checked; and what then would prevent you from exercising it to our destruction?”

This may be one of my favorite quotes from the Constitutional Convention.  It summarizes, so succinctly, the fears felt by small state citizens at that time.

How can America be self-governing, but also ensure that the large states do not constantly trample and abuse the small states? How can minority voices be free from the tyranny of emotional mobs? As you know, the Convention ultimately worked out many compromises. Our Constitution is full of many checks and balances that work as safeguards for our liberty.

Many of our Governors, Mayors, and County Judges seem more interested in one-person, executive rule during this pandemic, but a virus doesn’t trump our Constitution and our system of checks and balances.

This weekend is Independence Day. Perhaps a good time to remember that we fought to be free from monarchs in this country.

Tara Ross

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