Constitution Making: Conflict and Consensus in the Federal Convention of 1787

Constitution Making: Conflict and Consensus in the Federal Convention of 1787

Constitution Making: Conflict and Consensus in the Federal Convention of 1787

Constitution Making: Conflict and Consensus in the Federal Convention of 1787

Synopsis

Health professionals, following their training, still need to keep abreast with developments in their respective fields. This helps them to evolve enabling them to offer good quality care to the children and families in their care. This has become important in the present climate of clinical governance and its emphasis on evidence-based practice.

Excerpt

This study explores both the empirical and the substantive validity of the traditional historical and philosophical interpretations of the creation of the American Constitution.Advocates of differing interpretations of the Constitution's drafting have taken two distinct views, some arguing that the Convention created the Constitution out of a commitment to ideas and political principles, others arguing that the participants designed the Constitution to aid and protect their social, political, and economic interests.This study looks more closely at the roll-call voting record of the Constitutional Convention than any previous study and concludes that an accurate understanding of the constitution-making process must acknowledge that both philosophical and material concerns were at work in the Federal Convention.

I will demonstrate that constitution making is an elaborate and delicate, yet elegantly simple, process in which the participants refer to distinctly different sources of knowledge and information to reach judgments about two fundamental aspects of constitutional design. Thus, I will show that the Founding Fathers acted out of broad, though distinct and competing, philosophical perspectives concerning the working relationships between human nature, particular political institutions, and the resulting social order, when they struggled to design the general institutional structure for the new national government.On these issues of basic governmental organization and design, the nationalist delegates from the Middle Atlantic states, generally supporting Madison's vision of an "extended" republic, opposed the delegates from New England and the lower South, who held tenaciously to Montesquieu's warning that free institutions could survive only in "small" republics.

The delegates, on the other hand, pursued narrow material interests when they voted on specific mechanisms for implementing various aspects of the constitutional design. When debate touched upon the distribution of power and influence within the institutions of the new government, coalitions based upon interest posed the large states against the small, the northern states against the southern, and the states with large claims to the lands in the West against the states that had no such claims to future wealth and power.This movement from the consideration of broad principles to a concern with narrow interests conforms to the general expectation of modern social choice theory, particularly in the work of James Buchanan, Gordon Tullock, and Vincent Ostrom. I will argue, however, that there was more frequent movement back and . . .

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