Leave a comment

The evils we experience flow from the excess of democracy. The people do not want virtue, but are the dupes of pretended patriots… The Anti-Federalist Papers

Today Connecticut is seen as partially a northern suburb of New York with the remainder being a southern suburb of Massachusetts. It seems to exist amoeba like with no inertia of its own other than the constant tension of halving itself and is probably held together only by the fact that there is no real difference between New York and Massachusetts. Such was not always the case and  it was Connecticut that provided one of the major compromises that allowed the Constitutional convention of 1787 to successfully complete its work.

The preponderance of Antifederalist sentiment among the Connecticut delegation of course meant that there was a heavy preference for what would later be called a states rights position. In terms of limiting popular election of presidents – on the assumption that the people  will never be sufficiently informed of characters – they were able to insert the electoral college. They maintained the bicameral legislature AND the election of senators [2 for each state] by the legislatures of the states.

Oliver Ellsworth - Ellsworth served as one of Connecticut's first two senators in the new federal government between 1789 and 1796. In the Senate he chaired the committee that framed the bill organizing the federal judiciary and helped to work out the practical details necessary to run a new government. Ellsworth's other achievements in Congress included framing the measure that admitted North Carolina to the Union, devising the non-intercourse act that forced Rhode Island to join, drawing up the bill to regulate the consular service, and serving on the committee that considered Alexander Hamilton's plan for funding the national debt and for incorporating the Bank of the United States.

Oliver Ellsworth – Ellsworth served as one of Connecticut’s first two senators in the new federal government between 1789 and 1796. In the Senate he chaired the committee that framed the bill organizing the federal judiciary and helped to work out the practical details necessary to run a new government. Ellsworth’s other achievements in Congress included framing the measure that admitted North Carolina to the Union, devising the non-intercourse act that forced Rhode Island to join, drawing up the bill to regulate the consular service, and serving on the committee that considered Alexander Hamilton’s plan for funding the national debt and for incorporating the Bank of the United States.

While Collier points to the Antifederalist sentiment among the delegation it must be noted that two of its most prominent members Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman were, in the first case the architect of the compromises that allowed the convention a adopt  any plan and, in both cases were active after the convention had drafted the Constitution in getting it ratified by their state [5th of 13 to do so]. The argument that the Antifederalist lost was the desire to see the state governments vested with supreme authority with the national government acting as a link between the states and although they lost that argument on paper that was essentially the way the nation was governed – as a Republic – until 1860.

All politics is local : family, friends, and provincial interests in the creation of the Constitution  Christopher Collier  Hanover, N.H. : University Press of New England, c 2003  Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xi, 224 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-215) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

Head-and-shoulders portraits in ovals of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court flanked by allegorical female figures of Justice and Liberty. Justices include: John Jay, John Rutledge, Oliver Ellsworth, John Marshall, Roger Brook Taney, Salmon Portland Chase, Morrison R. Watte and Melville W. Fuller.

Head-and-shoulders portraits in ovals of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court flanked by allegorical female figures of Justice and Liberty. Justices include: John Jay, John Rutledge, Oliver Ellsworth, John Marshall, Roger Brook Taney, Salmon Portland Chase, Morrison R. Watte and Melville W. Fuller.

Since the late 1780s historians and jurists have questioned what was uppermost in the minds of the framers of the United States Constitution. In surveying the thirteen states‘ experiences as colonies and under the Articles of Confederation, one is struck more by their great diversity than by their commonalities. In this work, Christopher Collier brings to the fore an interpretation virtually neglected since the mid-nineteenth century: the view from the states, in which the creation and ratification of the new Constitution reflected a unique combination of internal and external needs.

All Politics Is Local closely analyzes exactly what Connecticut constituents expected their representatives to achieve in Philadelphia and suggests that other states’ citizens also demanded their own special returns. Collier avoids popular theory in his convincing argument that any serious modern effort to understand the Constitution as conceived by its framers must pay close attention to the state-specific needs and desires of the era.

Challenging all previous interpretations, Collier demonstrates that Connecticut’s forty Antifederalist representatives were motivated not by economic, geographic, intellectual, or ideological factors, but by family and militia connections, local politics, and other considerations that had nothing at all to do with the Constitution. He finds no overarching truth, no common ideological thread binding the Antifederalists together, which leads him to call for the same state-centered micro-study for the other twelve founding states.

Roger Sherman - Although on the edge of insolvency, mainly because of wartime losses, Sherman could not resist the lure of national service. In 1787 he represented his state at the Constitutional Convention, and attended practically every session. Not only did he sit on the Committee on Postponed Matters, but he also probably helped draft the New Jersey Plan and was a prime mover behind the Connecticut, or Great, Compromise, which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation. He was, in addition, instrumental in Connecticut's ratification of the Constitution.  Sherman concluded his career by serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789-91) and Senate (1791-93), where he espoused the Federalist cause.

Roger Sherman – Although on the edge of insolvency, mainly because of wartime losses, Sherman could not resist the lure of national service. In 1787 he represented his state at the Constitutional Convention, and attended practically every session. Not only did he sit on the Committee on Postponed Matters, but he also probably helped draft the New Jersey Plan and was a prime mover behind the Connecticut, or Great, Compromise, which broke the deadlock between the large and small states over representation. He was, in addition, instrumental in Connecticut’s ratification of the Constitution. Sherman concluded his career by serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1789-91) and Senate (1791-93), where he espoused the Federalist cause.

To do less leaves historical and contemporary interpretations of the U.S. Constitution not simply blurred around the edges but incomplete at the core as well. Collier delights and surprises readers in proving – with his trademark impeccable historical scholarship, firm grasp of known sources, and ample new material – that in the case of Connecticut, a stalwart defender of the provincial prerogative, all politics is and was, to one degree or another, local.

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 104 other followers

%d bloggers like this: