Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Anti-Constitution Mercenaries

In the past, I blogged at What Would The Founders Think? One of my articles was titled, “The Founders Fear.” The article asserted that the Founders architected a limited government because they feared unrestrained power. This was written way back in 2011, but I received a scolding from a troll last week. Reeve wrote: 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Why did the colonists revolt?

In the five centuries following the Magna Carta (1215), Englishmen had gradually gained individual rights, so that by the late eighteenth century, the English were beginning to exercise a degree of self-government. The King and nobility still wielded substantial power, but Parliament had gained increasing authority, especially the elected House of Commons. 

Toward the end of this period, the opinions of those outside the aristocracy were increasingly influenced by the Enlightenment, an intellectual movement of the seventeen and eighteenth centuries. Enlightenment thinkers began to challenge existing religious, government, and social norms, and pushed for additional individual liberty and the free exercise of natural rights. They argued that mankind not only had a capacity for self-government, but that it was a natural right. Through an evolutionary process, Englishmen grew to enjoy an ever-increasing say over who made the laws that governed their lives. That is, those Englishmen who lived in England. If an Englishman happened to live in one of the British colonies, he was still a mere subject of the crown with no representation in Parliament.

United States history
Benjamin Franklin  before Lords in Council in Whitehall Chapel

Friday, February 7, 2014

Our American Heritage

The colonists did not only revolt against taxes; they revolted to stop the British from taking away the self-governance they already had been exercising since the earliest colonization. The crown appointed governors for the colonies, but over three thousand miles of ocean in the day of wind-powered ships gave ordinary Americans more freedom than a minor noble living in Bristol, England. (Connecticut and Rhode Island even elected their own governors.) Americans bristled over dictates from Parliament because colonial legislatures had been exercising substantial power for well over a century.
Preserve and Protect
Plymouth Plantation Today

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Time of Civil Debate

A rowdy debate consumed nearly everyone in the United States between the Constitutional Convention and ratification. The population of the country was about four million and possibly a quarter of that number were activists during the Revolution and founding. What did people think about a constitution written in secret? We don’t have to guess. A prodigious number of articles and pamphlets were published by proponents and opponents.

Tempest at Dawn

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Can Tempest at Dawn be taken seriously?

Tempest at Dawn is a novelization of the Constitutional Convention. As a novel, it is not bound by the rigorous constraints of a nonfiction history book, but it does not deviate from the historical record except for modernizating language, re-sequencing of debates for logical presentation, and attributing a few speeches to a different delegate because that person was already established as a character. It’s confusing to tell a story with more than sixty characters, so I had to choose a representative sample and occasionally attribute to them the words or actions of others.

Historical Fiction
The real story of our nation's founding.
James Madison’s comprehensive convention notes provided a solid framework for what happened inside the locked doors of the Pennsylvania State House. The events outside the State House occurred, but literary license was used because there were very few recorded details about them. For example, Franklin’s dinner, the John Fitch Steam Boat demonstration, horse races, and George Washington having a carriage built were all outside activities during the convention.  The Fourth of July celebration happened pretty much as portrayed, and delegates did witness a two story house being moved down the street. 

Other than speeches, conversations were speculative, but based to a large degree on what must have been discussed in private meetings to shift the votes and opinions expressed in the proceedings.