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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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A New Government Must Be Made

A New Government Must Be Made

1786—1787

Chapter:
(p.126) Six A New Government Must Be Made
Source:
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution
Author(s):

Jeff Broadwater

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.003.0006

In the year leading up to the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Jefferson, now serving as American minister to France, grew increasingly frustrated with Congress’s inability to retaliate against nations that discriminated against U.S. trade. Madison believed an unfavorable balance of trade drained specie out of the United States and created a demand for debt relief, paper money, and the postponement of tax collections, which left the states unable to support Congress financially. Shays’s Rebellion in Massachusetts reaffirmed his view that the preservation of republican government required a much stronger central government. At the Philadelphia convention, Madison supported giving Congress broad powers, including the right to veto state laws, and he proposed that representation in Congress be based on population. His fellow delegates rejected the so-called congressional negative, and small state delegates forced Madison to accept the Great, or Connecticut, Compromise in which in the House of Representatives would reflect a state’s population, but each state would have an equal vote in the Senate. When the convention adjourned, Madison feared the new federal government might still be too weak to survive, while Jefferson, viewing events from Paris, worried the Constitution did too little to protect the people’s liberties.

Keywords:   balance of trade, specie, paper money, Shays’s Rebellion, congressional negative, Great Compromise, Connecticut Compromise

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