Saturday, February 4, 2012

Fathers of the Constitution

There were 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia but only 39 signers of the document. Unfortunately secularists cite James Madison as the "Father of the Constitution." It is tragic that several of those illustrious gentlemen who framed our Constitution have been forgotten.

For the first hundred years following the ratification of the Constitution Americans believed there were four "Fathers of the Constitution." Those men were George Washington (1732-1799), Roger Sherman (1721-1793), Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (1746-1826), and James Wilson (1742-1798).

Actually James Madison wasn't among the men who were spoken of as the "Fathers of the Consitution." Madison made 70 proposals on the floor of the Convention and forty of those proposals were rejected by the Convention. Furthermore, at the beginning of the Convention, Madison proposed the "Virginia Plan" which was firmly rejected by the other delegates to the convention. Hence, his positions were more often rejected than accepted by the delegates to the Convention.

Roger Sherman was the only delegate to the Convention to sign all four important national documents. He signed the Articles of Association in 1774, the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the Articles of Confederation in 1781, and the United States Constitution in 1787. Not only did he serve his nation as a framer of the Constitution; he was influential in framing the Articles of Confederation. He was elected to the Continental Congress in 1774 and served until 1781. Sherman was selected to be a member of the committee who drafted the Declaration of Independence. Roger Sherman served his nation as a judge on the Supreme Court of Connecticut and as a Congressman and United States Senator.

It was Sherman who resolved the conflict concerning representation of the large and small states. Sherman proposed two elected bodies or houses: a Senate in which each state had equal strength and vote. The House of Representatives where each state had representation based upon the population of the individual state.

Furthermore, Sherman was a member of the First Congress which framed the Bill of Rights. Roger Sherman was also a Christian theologian who wrote the creed which was adopted by the church to which he was a member. Roger Sherman was a strong unwavering Christian. John Adams spoke of him as:

"an old Puritan, as honest as an angel and as firm in the cause of American Independence as Mount Atlas."

He had legitimate fears that the British crown sought to establish an Anglican episcopacy in the colonies. As a Congregationalist, this legitimate fear was a boost to his patriotism. The Christianity of Roger Sherman was practical and down-to-earth who loved theology. The White Haven Church of New Haven Connecticut changed creeds in 1788. Sherman was responsible for writing a confession of faith for the church in his own handwriting.

"I believe that there is one and only living and true God, existing in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost...that God did send His Son to become man, the stead of sinners, and thus lay a foundation for the offer of pardon and salvation to all mankind...that at the end of this world there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a final judgment of all mankind."

 "A Short Sermon on the Duty of Self-Examination Preparatory to Receiving the Lord's Supper" was published in New Haven in 1789.

Although Sherman was among the conservative wing of Patriots, he became one of the first patriots to deny Parliament jurisdiction in the colonies. Among those colonists who jointed Sherman in this position were Jefferson, James Wilson, and George Wythe.

Timothy Dwight, President of Yale College spoke of Sherman:

[Sherman was] "profoundly versed in theology" and "held firmly the doctrines of the Reformation." 

Apparently, in Dwight's estimation, Sherman was a staunch Calvinist. Sherman was so concerned about correct Biblical doctrines; he engaged in a written debate with Samuel Hopkins concerning the fine points of Calvinism.

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney was a general in the Continental Army who also became a prisoner of war during the American War for Independence. The British made a futile attempt to persuade Pinckney to join them in opposition to the rebel cause in the colonies.

He had been the chairman of the committee which created the South Carolina Constitution. Hence, he had gained much experience in drawing up a constitution. During the Constitutional Convention, Pinckney proposed the committee which suggested the great compromise of two houses of legislature. Pinckney was firmly grounded in Christian doctrine when he attended the Constitutional Convention. He was well educated in law, military science, and experienced in government. He believed that "the great art of government is not to govern too much." He stood for a balance between the powers of the state and federal government.He was the primary speaker for the Constitution at the South Carolina convention to ratify*the Constitution. He was the U.S. Minister to France under George Washington's administration although at first the French Revolutionary government refused to receive Pinckney. Eventually, he was received as a member of a delegation which included Elbridge Gerry and John Marshall. Charles Pinckney declared "No, no, not a*sixpence!" when the French expected a 'gift' from the United States for their agreement to refrain from capturing American ships by force.

James Wilson (1742-1798) was also considered to be a "Father of the Constitution". Wilson was one of the six delegates who signed the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. When George Washington was elected as our first president; Washington selected James Wilson to be one of the first six associate justices to the United States Supreme Court. While sitting as an associate justice on the Supreme Court; Wilson had the idea of teaching law while in session. Hence, he was responsible for creating a law school.James Wilson was responsible for creating the first legal textbook for students of law in America. His textbook for students of American law contained three volumes in which he believed one cannot have good civil law if not based upon divine law.

Furthermore, Wilson was the second most active delegate to the Constitutional Convention addressing the delegates on the floor of the Convention 168 times.

Gouverneur Morris (1752-1816) delegate from Pennsylvania was actually the most active member of the Constitutional Convention. He spoke 173 times on the floor of the convention. Whenever one steps on the floor of a courtroom to argue a constitutional principal; one is following in the steps of Gouverneur Morris. Morris was the final signer of the Constitution and is also known as the "Penman of the Constitution." Each time we examine a copy of the Constitution; we are gazing upon Morris' penmanship. Eventually, he assisted the French to write their constitution firmly suggesting that they make education teach the Christian religion affirming man's duties and responsibilities to God.

In recent history, writings by Madison which were anti religious in nature have been found. In those documents, he declared that he thought that the religious positions which he originally supported were wrong and that he had made a mistake to do those things. Hence, secularists have utilized Madison as "Father of the Constitution" in support of their rewriting of history through various court cases. 

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