Honestly everyone likes to pretend James Madison was this small and sensitive guy but like when Martha Jefferson died and Thomas Jefferson locked himself in his room for two weeks James Madison basically told Edmund Randolph “Wow. You’d think he wouldn’t be taking his wife’s death so harshly. Text me when Thomas is going to be useful again. I can’t handle all this sappy bullshit. ” like that dude was as far from sensitive as they come.

This is the fourth post in our series leading up to the 225th anniversary of the Constitution.

By the time everyone else showed up in Philadelphia, the Virginia delegation, at the urging of James Madison, had a series of proposals for the new government. On May 29, Edmund Randolph presented 15 resolutions known as the Virginia Plan.

 The Convention immediately considered each resolution, and, in a matter of days, the delegates agreed on the following points:

  • The government should be divided into legislative, executive, and judicial branches.
  • The legislative branch should consist of two houses.
  • The first house of the legislature should be elected by the people of each state.
  • The second house of the legislature should be elected by members of the first house.



The Virginia Plan included many fundamental concepts of U.S. government and provided a great starting point for discussion of the new government. It was not, however, a perfect plan. It also included ideas that seem strange in contrast to the familiar framework spelled out in the final Constitution.

Some of the more jarring proposals in the Virginia Plan include:

  • Members elected to the first house should serve for three years.
  • The executive branch should be elected by the legislature and serve a term of seven years.
  • The number of representatives each state has in the legislature should be based on how much money that state contributes to the national government.

The debates that wrought Randolph’s initial proposals in to the finished document were, by turns, coolly rational and hotly contested, but the Virginia Plan defined the scope of the discussion from the very beginning.

(Image: Assembly Room in Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA.)

I thank you for your last favor. It relieved me much. But an event of yesterday has given me a full view of my arrangements. Very unexpectedly a diminished fœtus appeared; manifesting, that it had lost every energy of life for more than four months. The gloom of our house is converted into general satisfaction, at the escape of our friend from the most critical danger. I have this moment informed the president, that I shall accompany my family by sea, or the head of the bay; and that we shall have no delay, but what may be necessary for Mrs. R. to recover from her temporary weakness. Be so good as to inform Mr. Coles and Mr. Hawkins that I expect now to have the pleasure of soon seeing them.

Edmund Randolph, letter to James Madison, May 20, 1790

Just a detail from a life.

Earlier in the Convention, the body had declared that representation would be based on “wealth.” [Edmund] Randolph now proposed substituting the wording of the three-fifths clause for the word “wealth.” This led to yet one more debate over the three-fifths clause. This debate revealed the deep animosities that had developed between some northern and southern delegates.

Gouverneur Morris mocked the attempt to replace the word “wealth” with the three-fifths clause. If slaves were “property,” then “the word wealth was right, and striking it out would produce the very inconsistency which it was meant to get rid of.” Morris then launched into a full-scale attack of southern demands. In the process he suggested that a peaceful end to the Convention, and the Union itself, might be in order. Morris asserted that, until this point in the Convention, he had believed that the distinction between northern and southern states was “heretical.” Somewhat disingenuously, he declared that he “still thought the [sectional] distinction groundless.” But he saw that it was “persisted in; and that the Southern Gentlemen will not be satisfied unless they see the way open to their gaining a majority in the public Councils.” The North naturally demanded “some defence” against this. Morris thus concluded:

“Either this distinction is fictitious or real: if fictitious let it be dismissed and let us proceed with due confidence. If it be real, instead of attempting to blend incompatible things, let us at once take a friendly leave of each other. There can be no end of demands for security if every particular interest is to be entitled to it.”

Morris argued that the North had as much to fear from the South as the South had to fear from the North.

South Carolina’s Pierce Butler responded with equal candor: “The security the Southn. States want is that their negroes may not be taken from them which some gentlemen within or without doors, have a very good mind to do.” For the rest of the Convention, Butler and his southern colleagues would remain vigilant in protecting this interest.

—  Paul Finkelman, Slavery and the Founders
We're reenacting the Constitutional Convention in History today.

Heck yeah! Except I don’t get to sign the Constitution since I’m Edmund Randolph. But I was aide-de-camp to George Washington during the American Revolution. And I was Governor of Virginia. And I proposed the Virginia Plan. And I came up with the idea of the Supreme Court. So I kick ass and am going to talk a lot. Whoop whoop!

Founders Online: Home
Founders Online: Correspondence and Other Writings of Six Major Shapers of the United States (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison)

Guys I found a website with the writings of the founding fathers!!! It’s incredible!!!! How did I not know that this existed!!

List of Founders Writings:
Washington, George (31,241)
Jefferson, Thomas (18,508)
Adams, John (10,237)
Madison, James (8,187)
Hamilton, Alexander (7,623)
Franklin, Benjamin (4,643)
Adams, John Quincy (3,675)
Adams, Abigail Smith (1,017)
Adams, Abigail (988)
Monroe, James (904)
Gallatin, Albert (816)
Knox, Henry (790)
McHenry, James (761)
Adams, Louisa Catherine Johnson (730)
Randolph, Edmund (712)
Heath, William (671)
Coxe, Tench (616)
Pickering, Timothy (595)
Lee, Arthur (563)
Lear, Tobias (538)
Jay, John (528)
Lafayette, Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier, marquis de (519)
Short, William (478)
Claiborne, William C. C. (434)
American Commissioners (415)
Williams, Jonathan, Jr. (397)
Adams, Thomas Boylston (380)
Dearborn, Henry (366)
Humphreys, David (361)
Lincoln, Benjamin (354)
Greene, Nathanael (351)
Morris, Robert (314)
Smith, Robert (310)
Wolcott, Oliver, Jr. (287)
Jefferson, George (284)
King, Rufus (279)
Livingston, Robert R. (271)
Treasury Department (270)
Huntington, Samuel (248)
Peyton, Bernard (248)
Dumas, Charles-Guillaume-Frédéric (247)
Schuyler, Philip (246)
Dumas, Charles William Frederic (245)
Lee, William (244)
Sullivan, John (240)
Morris, Gouverneur (231)
Bourne, Sylvanus (227)
Rush, Benjamin (223)
Gates, Horatio (222)
Lee, Henry (221)

This site has personal letters, the Silence Dogood letters!, Hamilton’s report on the Lee’s court martial after Monmouth!, 31,000 results for Washington!




Excuse me I’m going to go spend several days on this website. 

(also look at Lafayette’s full name. I’m dying)

posiemania  asked:

"Are you Mr. Randolph? I'm Lucy Jefferson?"

“Yes, miss, I am Mr. Edmund Jennings Randolph,” he looked down at her for a second, then let out a little half-laugh as he looked her over. “You, then, are my cousin’s favorite? I can see why.”