June 1, 2023

Returning to Philadelphia

Most historians agree it was George Washington’s support of the new constitution that ultimately assured its ratification.

When only five states sent delegates to the Annapolis meeting to discuss changes to the weak Articles of Confederation, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and others coauthored a request that Congress call a meeting in Philadelphia. Once Congress reluctantly agreed, Hamilton recruited General George Washington to be the official host of the gathering, knowing that few states could refuse a request from the “Father” of the nation.

It worked.

Fifty-five delegates, with an average age of 42, arrived and prepared to work. Most had served in Congress; many had fought in the Revolution or provided services to the Patriot cause. Today, we hold these Framers of the Constitution in high esteem and, interestingly, one French diplomat posted in the United States noted that never before, even in Europe, had “an assembly more respectable for talents, knowledge, disinterestedness and patriotism” gathered. Even Thomas Jefferson, in France as the nation’s ambassador, deemed the delegates an “assembly of demigods.” (That’s high praise from one of my “demigods.”)

Truthfully, they gathered but they were not united in a common cause because they were not certain about the cause. While the invitation harkened them to change the Articles of Confederation, some had already decided the Articles were not salvageable and arrived with a list of priorities for a new document — a new government. Each represented his state but carried personal preferences based on background. Among the delegates were businessmen, professionals, wealthy and less-wealthy political leaders, and a few attendees who were relatively unknown outside their region. And, remember, tiny Rhode Island, believing that any change would lessen its political power, boycotted the convention.

Let’s pretend we’re observing the arrival of delegates who would ultimately serve as leading voices in the debate.

George Washington arrived to a welcoming assembly who recognized him as their leader, even though he repeatedly stated that he was “now a private citizen” and uninterested in holding public office. While he was elected president of the convention, he seldom took part in the debates, instead using his presence to maintain order and support compromise in the most-contested areas of disagreement. After the deliberations and drafting of the document, most historians agree it was Washington’s support of the new constitution that ultimately assured its ratification.

James Madison, later deemed the “Father of the Constitution,” had the greatest influence on the final document. Madison arrived with a limited amount of clothes but several trunks filled with political treatises, a visual easily explaining where his priorities were. Madison was committed to religious freedom and supported the creation of a stronger central government that shared power with a balanced group of large and small states. Madison argued — and the delegates eventually agreed — that all debates should occur behind closed and locked doors and windows. He then attended almost every session and took careful notes on the deliberations that today inform us about the process.

And, once again, the elderly sage, Benjamin Franklin, was among the delegates. Now 81 and in poor health, his presence seemed to elevate the mission, and his witty quips provided the comic relief that lessened moments of intense confrontation.

Alexander Hamilton, one of the organizers of the convention, was so frustrated with his fellow New York delegates that he walked out, only to return a few days later. He had envisioned a strong central government and a political ideology that would become the Federalist Party, but his ideas were tempered by the debate. After signing the completed document, he would join with John Jay and James Madison to author The Federalist Papers urging ratification.

Among the other prominent voices were Gouverneur Morris, Edmund Randolph, Roger Sherman, George Mason, and Elbridge Gerry, and yet several refused to sign the completed document. Other prominent leaders chose to not attend, concerned about the move to strengthen the central government at the perceived high cost to individual rights and state sovereignty. Patrick Henry, the famed orator and Virginia leader, was joined by John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Richard Henry Lee in disregarding the invitation.

What were their concerns? Don’t you just love a good political debate between passionate, informed individuals?

Next time, we’ll spy on the debates…

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

The Patriot Post and Patriot Foundation Trust, in keeping with our Military Mission of Service to our uniformed service members and veterans, are proud to support and promote the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, both the Honoring the Sacrifice and Warrior Freedom Service Dogs aiding wounded veterans, the National Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, the Folds of Honor outreach, and Officer Christian Fellowship, the Air University Foundation, and Naval War College Foundation, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. "Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13)


“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

Please join us in prayer for our nation — that righteous leaders would rise and prevail and we would be united as Americans. Pray also for the protection of our Military Patriots, Veterans, First Responders, and their families. Please lift up your Patriot team and our mission to support and defend our Republic's Founding Principle of Liberty, that the fires of freedom would be ignited in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2023 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.