The Constitutional Coup...Submitted by dialtone1984 on Sun, 02/24/2013 - 21:58
replaced the far weaker and hence more freedom oriented Articles of Confederation with a National Consolidated Government.
Under the Articles of Confederation, Congress had authority to make alterations to the Articles, not to completely replace them with a whole new frame of government. At that time the powers of the Federal government were few and enumerated. Further, one can gauge by the formal styling of the document as, "The Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union", that the colonists intended the AOC to be perpetual; they never desired to completely replace their loose Confederation with a highly centralized national government. The Articles of Confederation clearly states in Article XIII:
"Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State."
The authority delegated under the Articles was in direct conflict with the resolution of the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. The Philly Convention recommended that a new pact between the sovereign states and the newly fabricated National Government was necessary to secure the wealth, welfare and defense of the American people. This recommendation was to be passed onto the legislatures of the individual states for consideration. For the Constitution to take effect, it would only require the approval of 9 states, instead of "every State" as required under Article XIII. It is clear that the Convention acted outside of its mandate, and therefore acted illegally.
Jimmy Madison, in Federalist #40 reiterated the exact instructions for the delegates of the Constitutional Convention as, "Resolved -- That in the opinion of Congress it is expedient, that on the second Monday of May next a convention of delegates, who shall have been appointed by the several States, be held at Philadelphia, for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein, as shall, when agreed to in Congress, and confirmed by the States, render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the Union." Madison, the chief architect of the Constitution, went on to defend the findings of the convention. That's not such a big surprise, considering that he was the one who drew up the basis for the new frame of government prior to the actual Convention (this was called the Virginia plan).
Any true conspiracy requires that a few plot in secret to do something unlawful. The delegates of the Convention were bound by secrecy to not divulge to the public the proceedings of the Convention. However, none of the well-born few could keep a lid off some of the delegates who were disgusted by the whole affair. Some of the notes of the Convention survived. One delegate, Robert Yates of New York, who later criticized the Constitution under the name Brutus, released his notes. According to Yates, Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania proposed the following resolution:
1. Resolved, That a union of the States merely federal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of the confederation, namely, common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.
2. Resolved, That no treaty or treaties among any of the States as sovereign, will accomplish or secure their common defence, liberty, or welfare.
3. Resolved, That a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme judicial, legislative, and executive.
What's interesting is that another delegate picked up on the logical conclusion of the resolution in light of the instructions for the delegates and the authority they had under the Articles. Yates notes state, "In considering the question on the first resolve, various modifications were proposed, when Mr. Pinkney observed, at last, that if the convention agreed to it, it appeared to him that their business was at an end; for as the powers of the house in general were to revise the present confederation, and to alter or amend it as the case might require; to determine its insufficiency or incapability of amendment or improvement, must end in the dissolution of the powers."
Some of the delegates realized that if they were to affirm that the Articles could not accomplish specific objects and the establishment of a new national government was necessary, then their business in Philadelphia was over, because they were only given the authority to "alter or amend" and not to completely rewrite the frame of government. A few of the delegates left as soon as it became clear to them that the Convention was really about America's unrecognized Aristocratic class establishing the means by which they could secure their domination over the common people.
Americans are in something of a loop. The revolutionary generation was duped into accepting a major advancement of central authority based upon the secret deliberations of a well-born few. This scenario has repeated itself throughout our history, as always Americans are told that more government is needed to solve the current crisis, whilst the actual process of establishing the fundamental rationales for federal government intervention in any area is done behind closed doors.