James Wilson, US Constitution, Early draft, We the people, Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Lorianne Updike Toler, Philadelphia, summer of 1787, National treasure
From the Philadelphia Inquirer, February 2, 2010.
“Early draft of the Constitution found in Phila.”
“Researcher Lorianne Updike Toler was intrigued by the centuries-old document at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
On the back of a treasured draft of the U.S. Constitution was a truncated version of the same document, starting with the familiar words: “We The People. . . .”
They had been scribbled upside down by one of the Constitution’s framers, James Wilson, in the summer of 1787. The cursive continued, then abruptly stopped, as if pages were missing.
A mystery, Toler thought, until she examined other Wilson papers from the Historical Society’s vault in Philadelphia and found what appeared to be the rest of the draft, titled “The Continuation of the Scheme.”
The document – one of 21 million in the Historical Society’s collection – was known to scholars, but probably should have been placed with the other drafts, said constitutional scholar John P. Kaminski, director of the Center for the Study of the American Constitution in the history department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“This was the kind of moment historians dream about,” said Toler, 30, a lawyer and founding president of the Constitutional Sources Project (www.ConSource.org), a nonprofit organization, based in Washington, that promotes an understanding of and access to U.S. Constitution documents.
“This was national scripture, a piece of our Constitution’s history,” she said of her find in November. “It was difficult to keep my hands from trembling.”
As other researchers “realized what was happening, there was a sort of hushed awe that settled over the reading room,” Toler said. “One of them said the hair on her arms stood on end.”
Two drafts of the Constitution in Wilson’s hand had been separated from his papers long ago. One of them included the beginning of still another draft and was apparently seen as part of a single working version, instead of a separate draft.”
Some quotes from James Wilson
“All men are by nature equal and free. No one has a right to any authority over another without his consent … ”
” … can the mind of a man be serene, when the property, liberty and subsistence of himself…depends on a tyrant’s nod?”
“A good constitution is the greatest blessing which a society can enjoy.”
“Governments, in general, have been the result of force, of fraud, and of accident … the United States exhibit to the world the first instance…of a nation…assembling voluntarily, deliberating fully, and deciding calmly, concerning that system of government, under which they would wish that they and their posterity should live.”
“I view the states as made for the People, as well as by them, and not the People as made for the states … ”
“[The Constitution] is the best form of government which has ever been offered to the world.”
“…the people never part with their power … what part of this system puts it in the power of Congress to attack those rights?”
Thanks to commenter and blog owner Zach.
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