This is the third installment of four retold from
Andrea Wulf’s book, The Founding Gardeners.
The Constitutional Convention Story: Installment #3
On the trip back from Bartram’s Garden and for the next day and a half, the delegates had a lot to think about.
The 55 delegates ranged in age from 26 to Benjamin Franklin who at 81 was the oldest delegate.
Franklin, himself, had begun to doubt that the Constitutional Convention would ever produce a successful result. He had stated, “Failure to revise the Articles of Confederation would show that we have not the Wisdom enough among us to govern ourselves.”
The seemingly insurmountable area of contention was the issue of distribution of power in the Legislative Branch.
Stone wall separating upper and lower gardens of Bartram’s Garden
The small states argued the case for 1 state-1 vote. The large states wanted proportional representation based on population, but this meant that the large states could always dominatethe small states when a vote was taken.
The discussions were heated and often lacked any component of civility.
The Constitutional Convention had reached a stalemate from which there was little hope of escape.
Larger Plants Protecting More Fragile Plants
On Thursday, July 5th, nine days before the trip to Bartram’s Garden, The Connecticut Plan was introduced as a compromise.
Stones from the Stone Wall Separating the Upper
and Lower Gardens of Bartram’s Garden
The Connecticut Plan proposed two houses for the Legislative Branch: the House of Representatives where the distribution of power would be apportioned based on population and the Senate where each state would have 2 votes.
The delegates agreed to argue the merits of The Connecticut Plan during the week of July 9th-July 13th, and then to take a final vote on Monday, July 16th.
Most of the delegates assumed the plan would be defeated because the large states, voting as a block, could and would defeat the plan.
The Yellowwood Tree
The Yellowwood tree in this picture is the oldest specimen remaining on the Bartram’s Garden property today. It was just a sapling when the delegates viewed it in 1787.
Tomorrow we will finish The Constitutional Convention Story. Keep reading. This story only gets better and better!
Giant White Autumn Crocus
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