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Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution$
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Jeff Broadwater

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651019

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

A Happy Talent of Composition

A Happy Talent of Composition

1774—1776

Chapter:
(p.28) Two A Happy Talent of Composition
Source:
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution
Author(s):

Jeff Broadwater

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.003.0002

In this chapter, Jefferson and Madison gain their first experience in constitution-writing. Madison served as a delegate to the Virginia convention of 1776 that produced Virginia’s first state constitution. As a novice lawmaker,Madison’s contribution was limited largely to strengthening protections for freedom of conscience. Although Jefferson was serving in the Continental Congress, he submitted a draft constitution of his own to the convention, but it had only a limited impact. At about the same time, Jefferson also drafted the Declaration of Independence, a process the chapter describes. Madison later reconciled the Declaration and the Constitution by describing the former as a statement of basic political principles and the later as a framework for a government that would respect the people’s rights. Although America’s Revolutionary-era Union was weak, Jefferson considered the emotional ties among Americans to be more binding than a formal alliance.

Keywords:   constitution-writing, Virginia convention of 1776, freedom of conscience, Continental Congress, Declaration of Independence, political principles, emotional ties

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