The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Executive Election Debated Again

September 5, 1787 (Click to read Madison’s notes on the day)


The delegates continued to consider proposals from the Brearly committee. A lengthy discussion concerned the election of the president.

Influences on the Delegates

Edmund Randolph worried that proposals for the president to come from the legislature would create a monarchy or an aristocracy.

Mr. RANDOLPH. We have, in some revolutions of this plan, made a bold stroke for monarchy. We are now doing the same for an aristocracy. He dwelt on the tendency of such an influence in the Senate over the election of the President, in addition to its other powers, to convert that body into a real and dangerous aristocracy.

Another Virginia delegate, George Mason, was even stronger in his criticism of the plan as it was being discussed by the delegates.

Col. MASON. As the mode of appointment is now regulated, he could not forbear expressing his opinion that it is utterly inadmissible. He would prefer the Government of Prussia to one which will put all power into the hands of seven or eight men, and fix an aristocracy worse than absolute monarchy.

The Virginia delegation worried that governmental power would be in the hands of too few people. Over the next couple of days, the election of the executive dominated discussion. It is obvious that many delegates feared the creation of a ruling class.

1787 Constitutional Convention Series

To read my series examining the proceedings of the Constitution Convention, click here.  In this series, I am writing about any obvious influences on the development of the Constitution which were mentioned by the delegates to the Convention. Specifically, I am testing David Barton’s claim that “every clause” of the Constitution is based on biblical principles. Thus far, I have found nothing supporting the claim. However, stay tuned, the series will run until mid-September.
Constitutional Convention Series (click the link)
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