American Revolution History Has Shown Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2318 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: American History



Furthermore, when discussing the ongoing debate about the Senate, Berkin highlights the words of Gouverneur Morris, whose justification for the Senate included an explicit acknowledgment of the class divisions present in colonial society. Morris argued that "the rich will strive to establish their dominion and enslave the rest," and so they should be represented by the Senate, which would stand in dynamic tension with the more egalitarian House (Morris qtd. In Berkin, 2002, p. 104). This view was born out of a pragmatic consideration of colonial society at the time, and although Morris seems positively sociopathic for actually encouraging the maintenance of wealth inequality, his words do at least confirm the thesis of this study, namely, that the Constitutional Convention was mainly oriented towards maintaining the economic and political power of wealthy white men.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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Morris thought that "the Senate, in short, should be a bastardized House of Lords, made up of men with fat pocketbooks rather than blue blood," and in a way, his honesty regarding the inherently oligarchical nature of the Convention is refreshing (Berkin, 2002, p. 104). Quite understandably, "Morris' bald assertion that America did indeed have an economic and social elite and that its intentions were, if natural, still predatory sat badly with the delegates," but Berkin does not bother to consider the importance of this fact (Berkin, 2002, p. 105). Instead, she merely notes how the various delegates were able to agree with the intended result of Morris' proposition without having to engage with "so naked a description" of their structures of power; instead of explicitly saying that the Senate should be occupied by rich men, they opted to discuss the importance of "wise men,' the best and the brightest of the nation," that, coincidentally, would come from the richest families of the colonies (Berkin, 2002, p. 105). While Middlekauff does appear somewhat more critical in his assessment, he nevertheless allows the founders and the original Constitution to go uncriticized by agreeing to participate in the same rhetoric of freedom and liberty; while Middlekauff describes the relationship between the House and Senate as alternately free and confined modes of representation, he nevertheless maintains the fiction that "free" representation in early America actually meant universal suffrage (Middlekauff, 2002,).

Of course, the debate over money would eventually become moot, as the final form of the Constitution emerged over the course of multiples drafts and plans, some serious, some frivolous, and citizenship was limited to land-owning white men (although in this context, land-owning necessarily implied that one was both white and a male). The concerns of the smaller states had been assuaged with the inclusion of the Senate, which granted the smaller states a considerable amount of influence over the larger states even as they were outnumbered in the house, whose seats were apportioned according to population. The role of the executive was imbued with a peculiar combination of authority and impotence, seemingly beholden to the legislature while capable of vetoing all but the most ardently supported legislation.

One detail that goes a long way towards demonstrating just how much the newly-formed Constitution represents a continuity with the historical system of white male rule is the fact that the Constitution's most notable protections are not actually part of the official document, but were only added later as amendments. The first ten amendments to the Constitution, named the Bill of Rights, contain the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and right to a trial that many people think of when they imagine the United States Constitution, but these were not actually created or ratified until after the Constitutional Convention. Thus, the Convention only succeeded in establishing a government for the rich and powerful, and only later were changes made in order to dull the influence of this power somewhat.

Understanding the process and goals of the Constitutional Convention allows one to better understand not only the history of the Constitution but also the problems it continues to create in contemporary society. For example, The House of Representatives stopped expanding according to population growth in the twentieth-century, so now instead of two houses with different balances of power, Congress is made up of two houses where smaller states enjoy more power; in the Senate, smaller states enjoy more power because they have the same amount of representatives as every other state, and in the House, smaller states have more power because each seat they hold represents far less people than any given seat held by a larger state, such that in the House of Representatives, one million people and one thousand people could conceivably have the same number of votes. This is only one of the many flaws in the United States that arises from the Constitution itself, but it demonstrates how the founders' goals of protecting white male power and privilege has meant that their "brilliant solution" continues to contribute to inequality, disenfranchisement, and political instability to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "American Revolution History Has Shown" Term Paper in a Bibliography:

APA Style

American Revolution History Has Shown.  (2012, June 13).  Retrieved December 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"American Revolution History Has Shown."  13 June 2012.  Web.  1 December 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"American Revolution History Has Shown."  June 13, 2012.  Accessed December 1, 2021.