Credit for the Bill of Rights goes largely to the founders who opposed the Constitution.
In an interview, Judge Andrew Oldham1Bio: Hon. Andrew Oldham explains the tremendous significance of the Anti-Federalists’ writings, not merely because they were instrumental in securing the Bill of Rights, but also in order to fully understand the Constitution’s intended meaning.
“We understand what the document itself meant in 1787,” Judge Oldham says, through the “dialectic” between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. Many arguments in the Federalist Papers—in which Hamilton, Madison and John Jay made their case for the Constitution—were rebuttals to Anti-Federalists who published first after the Constitutional Convention. “They’re talking to each other,” Judge Oldham says. Reading them against each other “shows you what people thought the document was doing.”
A striking example of this dialectic can be found in the very creation and then destruction of Article the first of the Bill of Rights. The Anti-Federalists were so vehement in their concerns about the Constitution’s failure to specify a minimum House size that the Federalists attempted to overcome their arguments in Federalist 55 through 58. The Federalists’ arguments were so unconvincing, however, that Madison felt compelled to propose an amendment to address the Anti-Federalists’ concern. Because his initial proposal was wholly inadequate relative to what had been demanded by many of the states, it was made far more robust as a result of numerous debates in the Congress, between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists. And then, in the waning hours of the first Congress, that robust solution was effectively neutered in such a way as to make it more satisfactory to some of the Federalists.
As an aside, Judge Oldham gave an interesting little lecture titled “Behind the Masks”3The Anti-Federalists: Behind the Masks about the various Anti-Federalist and Federalist writers and their pseudonyms.
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Thirty-Thousand.Org Great Seal
Thirty-Thousand.org’s “great seal” is derived from the reverse side of the United States Great Seal (shown above on the left) and is intended as an homage to that design which was adopted in 1782. However, the differences to the actual Great Seal may not be readily apparent to many observers until they are compared side by side.
Our version emphasizes the fact that the very first constitutional amendment proposed by congress, Article the first, was intended to ensure that the number of Representatives would forever increase along with the total population. Implementing this proposal will result in citizen equality (ÆQUALITAS CIVILIS) relative to the people’s political power. This equality, as well as the other benefits resulting from smaller electoral districts, will ensure true representation (REPRÆSENTATIO VERA) in the federal House. Hence, ÆQUALITAS CIVILIS = REPRÆSENTATIO VERA.
George Washington – Hero of the Revolution
Not only was George Washington the “indispensable man” relative to the founding of our nation, but he also played a key role in the drama surrounding the size of the House of Representatives. September 17, 1787, was the final day of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Two days earlier the convention unanimously agreed to the text of the Constitution and, having since been engrossed on the parchment, it was now ready to be signed by all the delegates. Despite that, an urgent proposal had just been made by one of the those delegates relative to the clause declaring that “the number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every forty thousand…”. The proposal was that “forty thousand” be reduced to “thirty thousand” in hopes of lessening the objections to the constitution they were proposing to the states. Said motion having been seconded by others present, George Washington rose to address this question. Though he had been the President of the convention, this was the first time he addressed the assembly on a substantive matter.
The Thirty-Thousand.org Logo
Our logo is derived from the triangle which hovers over the pyramid in Thirty-Thousand.org’s version of the “great seal”. The triangle symbolizes unity and perfectness, and the equal sign contained therein symbolizes the political equality among the citizens that the Constitution is intended to establish.