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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
(1976)

The ratification of the Constitution by Pennsylvania,   pp. [29]-[52]


Page 34

the exception of Coxe, were prominent Republicans. Only Coxe at-
tended the convention in September.
The Republicans regained control of the Assembly in the October
1786 elections, and in the spring of 1787 they rechartered the Bank
of North America. Meanwhile, in December 1786, the Assembly began
consideration of the report of the Annapolis meeting. After it learned
that the Virginia legislature had appointed delegates to meet in a
convention at Philadelphia, the Assembly, on 30 December, elected
Robert Morris, Gouverneur Morris, Thomas Mifflin, James Wilson,
Thomas FitzSimons, George Clymer, and Jared Ingersoll deputies to
the convention. They were directed to join with other deputies "in
devising, deliberating on and discussing all such alterations and fur-
ther provisions as may be necessary to render the federal constitution
fully adequate to the exigencies of the Union and in reporting such
act or acts for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled
as when agreed to by them and duly confirmed by the several states
will effectually provide for the same." All of the deputies were from
the city and county of Philadelphia; and, with the possible exception
of Ingersoll, they were all Republicans. On 28 March the Assembly
added Benjamin Franklin, who was claimed by both parties as a leader,
to the list of deputies.
Two Pennsylvania delegates played leading roles in the Constitu-
tional Convention. James Wilson and Gouverneur Morris each gave
more speeches than any other member of the Convention. Wilson
played a prominent part in writing the first draft of the Constitution
as a member of the Committee of Detail. Morris had a similar role
in writing the final draft as a member of the Committee of Style.
Benjamin Franklin spoke little; but on the last day of the Convention,
Wilson delivered a speech for him in which Franklin sought to con-
ciliate those opposed to the Constitution. Robert Morris, the acknowl-
edged leader of the Pennsylvania Republicans, made no reported
speeches.
Before and during the Constitutional Convention, Pennsylvania
newspapers were virtually unanimous in their support of the Con-
vention. Newspaper articles enumerated the defects of the central
government under the Articles of Confederation and painted a picture
of economic and political distress. Other newspaper items contained
plans for improving the central government, praise for Convention
delegates, and hints about the Convention's proceedings.
Such accounts apparently alarmed some of the leaders of the Con-
stitutionalist Party. A newspaper reported in early August 1787 that
meetings were being held in the houses of George Bryan and Jonathan
Bayard Smith, and that publications were being distributed "to excite
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INTRODUCTION


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