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Monday, August 27, 2012

Liveblogging Madison and Jefferson: The Confederation Congress and the Constitution

As I've noted before, I've found the argument that the U.S. Constitution was illegal as it did not conform to the Articles of Confederation a little curious when put forward by fans of the Articles. After all, the Articles themselves were pretty darned illegal per the previous constitution under which the colonies existed.

But what did the Confederation Congress make of this "illegal" constitution making activity? Let's see:

"A heated debate took place in Congress before it was agreed that no amendments would be added to the text of the Constitution. Congress would remain neutral [as to the value of the 1787 constitution as presented to it]... and send the Constitution on to the states without directly endorsing it... the congressional resolution... expressed unanimous agreement to that procedure." -- Madison and Jefferson, p. 165

So, the Confederation Congress, the governing body of the Confederation under the Articles, was absolutely fine letting the states themselves consider whether or not they wanted to adopt a new constitution: they were unanimous in agreeing to pass the document on to the states for consideration, as it had emerged from the convention, which, of course, pretty much committed them to abiding by the decision of the states.

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