Skip to main content

tv   1776 Pennsylvania Constitution  CSPAN  May 6, 2017 8:02pm-8:55pm EDT

8:02 pm
discussed? this should all be review. ryan. ideals -- penn's ideals. >> what are the dates we put on that? to 1763. why is 1701 important? privileges, and then we ended in 1763 because that was the end of the french and indian war. freedid we say about that --. -- whatylvania history ? d we say about that period this should all be review at this point. this is characterized by what devon? >> it was about penn's vision
8:03 pm
failing. >> the destruction of the peaceable kingdom. peaceable kingdom destroyed. we talked about the political divisions emerging and the racial tensions within the colony, the violence on the frontier, and then, of course, the moment of the age of decline on the paxton boys riots. try to suggest, in the years between 1763 or the paxton riots, and the 1776, a group of politicians came together, described as wigs, and were able the pennsylvania proprietorship under who?
8:04 pm
which family? .he penn family and also overthrow the power of the quaker assembly. and thus, seize control of the pennsylvania government. a news point, establish constitution. all of that is background. none of that should surprise you. remember the parallel track that we are working on. the parallel track meeting the pennsylvania story running alongside of the national story if you will. story, andnial white the colonial wives story and the pennsylvania story of revolution are happening, literally, where? in the same building. in the state house of pennsylvania.
8:05 pm
youne side of the house, have a group of radicals, a group of wigs, radical whigs if you will, because not all wigs are going to buy into this constitution. whigsis group of radical on one side of the statehouse, they have overthrow the assembly, overthrown the penn family, and they are sitting on one side of the statehouse crafting a constitution for the state of pennsylvania while, on the other side, the continental congress is going. this is where i did the dancing class, as we know, there are some people who are in both groups. ben franklin being the most prominent who is running back and forth between the two buildings. .hat is the setup today, we want to focus entirely upon the constitution that the
8:06 pm
radical whigs, if you will, are going to put into place. it is going to be a very controversial constitution as we will see here in the second. before we get into the details, i think this quote by carl best illustrating what is happening here in this constitution. the tension or the differences between what becker calls, home rule, and the question of who would rule at home. what do you think of the difference between these two words? anybody want to venture a guess? when you think about the revolution occurring. what did the colonists ultimately want out of the british? >> independence?
8:07 pm
wanted independence, not all of them, but they wanted -- no taxation without representation. what with the colonists want normally? representation where? in parliament, right? that is far from the truth in what they really want. they don't want to send some an over to parliament. if they sent a representative, that person is going to get voted down most of the time, it is not going to be very effective for them. they want home rule. they want to make their political decisions through their own governments, their own assemblies. they don't want -- when they say no taxation without representation, they're not necessarily talking about representation of parliament.
8:08 pm
they're talking about the right to make decisions based on their own representative bodies. that, ultimately, is what they get. including pennsylvania. that is what they get in 1776, july 4. they get home rule. they will no rule themselves. now, that leads to the second part of the quote. who would rule at home? before we unpack what that think abouted to this in terms of a much larger question about the american revolution, and some of you were in my class last fall asking this question over and over again. how revolutionary? what? >> was the american revolution. >> was this just about breaking away from england? the most liberty loving country in the world, and just doing it better.
8:09 pm
pretty much putting the same kind of government in place and being more consistent. is that what the revolution was about? what was the american -- why was the american revolution a social revolution? something that permeated every dimension of society. was it a revolution that set the saves -- slaves free? wasn't the revolution that would give poor opportunities that they didn't have? was it a revolution that was truly democratic? the infamous dword that many of the founding fathers were not big fans of. how are we going to rule ourselves? who is going to rule at home? is he going to be the educated, the elite, the gentile members of society, those in the proprietary party in pennsylvania, those who dominated in the quaker assembly
8:10 pm
like the galloway family, or the pemberton's, are they going to be the one? or is it going to be the people? those who argue that the constitution should be based on arepeople, are the ones who actually going to gain control and help shape this constitution. they are going to take the revolution seriously. and the values of the revolution seriously. in other words, when thomas jefferson writes in the declaration of independence that all men are created equal, these guys, who crafted the constitution of 1776 are actually going to take that seriously. they're going to say, ok, if all men are created equal, and all men have rights, let's build the government around that. this also would be the of many of the
8:11 pm
members who wrote the amendment and are influenced by what english quaker? , spain. we would get to him in a second. even though he is not one of the people that wrote the constitution of 1776, he is probably the most influential thinker who influenced those who did write it. first thing i want to do, i want to think about who is in the room. who are the kind of people that are crafting this constitution? who are the people that are saying, how should we roll at home? should rule democratically at home because we take the revolution very seriously. here, thee background pennsylvania constitutional convention meets from july 15 to september 28. sketch of the
8:12 pm
statehouse. for our c-span viewers. this is known as what today? independence hall. wasn't called that event so that is why we are calling it the statehouse. this is where both the congress and pennsylvania constitutional convention meets. they convene because the continental congress have instructed after the july 4 declaration, instructed all of the colonies, now states, to form new government. -- thebers are taking members of the pennsylvania constitution are taking this instruction seriously. again, what is fascinating about pennsylvania is that it's all
8:13 pm
happening in the same building. in boston, they are doing it too, but they are not running around with all the delegates of the continental congress. who are some of these people? , i'mof these people guessing, with the exception of ,ne, you have never heard of and that is because this is a constitution shaped by the people. these people, we don't normally think about. timothy matlack. i'm guessing none of you have ever heard of him. he was the clerk and scribe for the convention. , who sold beer for living in philadelphia. having the known for best handwriting in philadelphia. served withds, he the continental congress, as .heir clerk for couple of years
8:14 pm
the declaration of independence as we see it, we tend to think it was jefferson that wrote it. jefferson wrote it but it is in matlack's hands. side not part of the other of the building, but he is one of these figures crafting the pennsylvania constitution. then we have robert whitehill, i think he was a lawyer, politician, and i'm picking random people that you might be interested in. there were dozens of people from all over the state who were involved in this. i picked whitehall, because if you'd drive down to harrisburg, you will pass this historic marker on the side of the road. areahall moved out to the and settled in camp hill. he was representing cumberland county.
8:15 pm
he is one of them. are you getting the trend here? like, who are these guys? i never heard about them but they were crafting the convention. , he is one ofuse the more educated members of the convention. he is a graduate of the college of new jersey of princeton. do you know what he is famous for? i'm guessing astronomy? >> he was an astronomer, yeah. the modelsd one of you use at the science fair with the planets and the solar system. he built one of them which was the best one for teaching science in early america. point,, at this --nceton takes his or he
8:16 pm
princeton takes this and teaches with it. he doesn't have political experience but he is a scientist. dr. thomas young, he is what the might -- he is one of my favorites. he made himself in boston. he was part of the boston committee of correspondents. one of the primary organizers of the boston tea party. when things get really tough up in boston, he is the loyalist -- the loyalists are persecuting him so he comes down to philadelphia. he is a boston radical coming to philadelphia, joins the revolutionary cause and finds himself in the committee. religiousy devout man. probably the most important person on the committee, george
8:17 pm
bryan. he is a businessman. the people who don't like the fact that all these unknown people, business people with no experience in government are writing the 1776 constitution, they criticize george bryan because he does not "own a chariot." meeting he has to walk places or ride his horse. you see the kind of people. this guy doesn't even own a chariot and they are in their crafting a constitution,? right? do we want to these kinds of people in charge? a can't ignore the fact that ferry owner, a guy that makes his money ferrying people across the river, john harris junior, is actually on the community -- committee.
8:18 pm
you can still visit his house on french street. and hein harrisburg founded the city as well. he is representing the city of cumberland county, which is different today. then, we have ben franklin. there is a debate on the role that he plays. franklin is immediately elected as president of the convention, but most historians suggest he played a very little role in the crafting of the documents. why might that be the case? why would he have such little time to get involved in the actual crafting, brooke? >> he was writing the declaration of independence? >> he is on the other side of , creating that, and he is also on the committee that
8:19 pm
wrote that. nevertheless, he is the president of the convention. summarize, here are some themes. suggested, they are not well known. they are not well known to us in the 21st century, but they weren't particularly well known in the context of the 18th century either. they have a long history of opposition and resistance to the pennsylvania colonial governments. they have opposed the proprietorship of the penn family. they proposed the wealth, remember a lot of the party were wealthy quaker merchants who controlled the quicker assembly,
8:20 pm
so they have a long history of opposing entrenched authority. traditional authority. that's in philadelphia and pennsylvania broadly. you can imagine, a lot of them will be coming from what ethnic group? >> the scots irish. >> yeah. a lot of them are either scots irish and have connections of , they on the frontier, or are sympathetic to the cause. the kind of people that we have , and again, we don't know who it was at this point or if any of them were involved, but there were people who might be sympathetic to the kind -- to what these scots irish did during the massacre. they might be sympathetic to a lot of the problems that of the
8:21 pm
scots irish, the ordinary settlers on the frontier are facing. connect to that with the kind of democratic nature of this document. they have a long history of underrepresentation in the assembly. they feel like, because their communities are not as structured, they have not been given enough representation during the colonial. period.ial so they have this established a beef against authority. they don't like the way pennsylvania has always been. they are the ones who have suffered the most during that 1701 up to 1763. we have met these people before. yes? we have seen them and know who they are.
8:22 pm
as i mentioned earlier in the lecture, they are deeply influenced by the ideas of thomas. , july 15 toe dates september 28. does anyone remember when payne wrote common sense? when he publishes it? >> connor? of 1776. what did we say about the influence of common sense in the colonies as a whole? it was influential. >> very influential. everyone is reading it in a common language. to ideas andth common sense. some of you have studied it with me with professor snider. ideas, one is the
8:23 pm
arguments that we should do, what as the colonists? -- hat is the per what is the primary purpose of common sense? to convince the colonies to --? >> rebel. or be just rebel revolutionary, but what? two separate from britain. we think today, of course, what's in there were other many people that pain was writing to that were not yet convinced of the idea. onlymmon sense, pain not is talking about why we should break away from england, that he in what most, people focus on too much who read common sense, he puts forth a frame of government. what do we know about thomas
8:24 pm
payne's view of government. what do we know of his philosophy of politics? >> he is a level revolutionary of the time. he promotes democracy and one of the first people to promote freedom of slaves and women and the right to vote. >> yet. he is way off the charts in terms of his social views. this guy thinks women should vote. this guy wants to defend the right of people to vote to don't even own land. this guy wants to free the slaves. because he believes all human beings are created with what? the title of his pamphlet. common sense. based on that alone, regardless of your social status, race, gender, who you are as a human being, you have common sense
8:25 pm
and, that is enough. onlyh for you to not participating governments, but to also serve in it. you don't need an education. you don't need to be part of an informed citizen street -- citizenry. you just need common sense. you have common sense, you can vote and make decisions. you can see the relationship between this kind of common , and the dword. democracy. if you have this philosophy of common sense. which is dominant in scotland during this. you're going to create a government that is democratic. the success of common sense, the way it proliferates route the
8:26 pm
entire colonial seaboard, especially in pennsylvania, is going to have profound influence upon ordinary people. common people. in thelly among those statehouse in the late summer of 1776, crafting the constitution. is not there physically but he is there in spirit. his ghost lingers over the entire event. in some ways. those are the members of the convention. in terms ofsummary their characteristics. let's talk about what others think about the people who are there. we have laid out who they are, and now criticism of the members. this is my favorite parts. you have reverend francis inison who is pastor
8:27 pm
philadelphia, well educated man, but also scots irish. that is interesting. who were the members of the constitutional convention in 1776? they were mostly well meaning countrymen who are employed but entirely unacquainted with such high matters. -- hardlyhardly able up to the task of creating a government." lancaster. grub from they were a bunch of numbskulls. what'll you tell us what you really think about them? alexander graded, he is going to write, dr. franklin was implicated in the production. of theduction constitution, and either his -- and hison in it participation in it was vastly
8:28 pm
supported by his followers. they all want to claim franklin. the defenders of the constitution say dr. franklin was our president, he was in charge. he was on board with these ideals. and the people who didn't like the constitution because they thought it was too democratic, said franklin was there, but he wasn't really on board with all this radical stuff that they were doing. everybody wants to claim ben franklin in the 1790's and 1800s after he died, especially. to showou criticisms, you that there is an opposition voice out there. way, all of these people you see here, and i can list a lot more of these quotes, they were all for independence. they would've all supported yne.as pain
8:29 pm
where do they part ways with payne on his common sense democratic form of government? see that you can be a diehard supporter of independence from the crown, home rule, you want home rule. you'll like the fact that all these democratic people who follow thomas payne are doing what? >> [inaudible] of the quote.ide ruling at home. right? ok. take out your copy of the constitution. let's talk about it. we will try to break down what is so radical about this constitution. don't have time to discuss the entire constitution, but i want to point out the most controversial themes within the was soution and why this much discussed and debated.
8:30 pm
copy of thea constitution in front of you. i listed here the first four sections, but looking at you, where is power invested within this constitution? in the legislative branch. totally invested in the assembly, the legislative branch. in fact, that is pretty much the only place where there is power. what is the structure of government? is there an executive branch in the pennsylvania constitution of 19 -- 1776? read the text. i mean, look at section three. ,s there an executive branch ryan? it basically can't do anything without the legislative branch go-ahead.
8:31 pm
it doesn't have any power. john fea: is there a governor? in the new government? no. so it has broken with the colonial past on that front. instead, there is a plural executive, right, a certain number of men, 12? if fire member2 correctly, who are going to be in charge of the executive power , but they have no veto power over the assembly. they don't have the opportunity to create legislation for themselves. that is in the hands of the assembly. there are judicial courts, but the assembly controls them as well. this is what i need my y.icamerall one house, one house legislature, but technically, and this is where you are hesitant, technically they are
8:32 pm
branches of government, executive and legislative, but they don't have a lot of power. power is in the people of the legislative branch. i will test your knowledge, your memory. ,n the charter of privileges 1701 colonial government, was the unicode -- unicameralism in that document? government, or member the charter of privileges, 1701 and 1776? were there to houses or one? no, there was one house, the quaker assembly. this is not a change. they have had unicameralism. they are not shifting tears with what they had in the colonial period.
8:33 pm
however, there is a profound change when it comes to -- this is kind of what i just summarized, supreme power invested in the house of representatives, no governor, no upper house to check the assembly. they did have that in the only oneperiod, house. but under a system of checks and balances, not only do the three branches of government check each other, but the upper house always checks the lower house. the lower house is always the house of the people, the upper house is the unelected and make sure that people don't do anything stupid. here you have one assembly. what is most controversial is the nature of that one assembly. of --dy read section six again, we are moving past the bill of rights and into the frame.
8:34 pm
some but section six for me. let's get back over here. resided in, having andstate for one full year paid public taxes during that year shall enjoy the right of an elector. john fea: stop right there. is there anything in that statement second just read that suggests you have to have wealth or land in order to vote? you already along with her. no. so this section is radical for what it does not say. words, pennsylvania of all the 13th constitutions that are formed after independence, cap pennsylvania is the only one that did not have a wealth or land requirements. whenever the charter of privileges? was there in land requirement,
8:35 pm
remember what it was? 50 acres or 50 pounds worth of an estate. that is wiped off the books. now nothing. you do have to be male, right? but any male who pays taxes convoked. there is no other constitution in the world at this point that allowed what was referred to later on as universal manhood suffrage. right for everybody to vote. that is democracy, folks. we don't just want the wealthy. we don't want people who only and or people who have some semblance of power. anybody, any male can vote. by the 21st-century standards, it does not look very democratic . women can't vote, slaves can --e, african -- you get actually african-americans can
8:36 pm
vote under this. they don't need to own land, civic and vote. but by 21st century, it does not look democratic, but think of the context of the 18th century. everybody can vote. elections are held every year in the assembly. that means every year if you are a member of the assembly, what do you have to do? get reelected. what does that mean? you need to go back and convince , that you areople worthy. you don't get to sit there like the u.s. senate today for six years before you have to go back to the people. this is even lower than house of representatives where it is what? two years. this is every year. you have to check in with the people. am i doing a good job? if i am, i will get reelected.
8:37 pm
if not, i am out. someone read section 13 for me. who wants to read? raise your hand so we can get a mike. over here. >> the doors of the house which a representative to the people of the state shall sit in general assembly, shall be for all persons who behave decently, except when the welfare of the state may require the doors be shot. what was just read? ? at did logan just read summarize it in english, or 21st century english. >> people have the right to know what their government is up to. john fea: literally, people can walk in. the doors are opened, the people the proceedings. this is a new idea as well. the people need to constantly be in the loop. 15, iread sections 14 and
8:38 pm
will not have someone read it for time, but what does it summarize? section 14 to 15, how might this be corrected with democratic ideals? >> it is the right to information or the right to know what people are doing. it is basically freedom of information, nothing gets withheld. [please stand by] john fea: for they are decided upon. again, this sounds like standard butf the 21st century, there are no governments. we will tell the people what we are talking about and have a say before we make a final decision. this is democracy at work. thomas paine is probably loving all of this. they took my ideas.
8:39 pm
would try to push this even further, but nevertheless the people's assembly, richard -- religious freedom. here, the declaration of rights in section two, i will put this powerpoint on the canvas. total religious freedom, so this is similar to william penn's charter of privileges. this is a thing we often see in pennsylvania, but here is an interesting one, section 10. and each member before he takes his seat shall make and subscribe to the following declarations. and here is the oath you have to say in order to serve in the assembly, the unicameral legislature. i believe in one god, the creator and governor of the universe, the reporter and punisher of the wicked.
8:40 pm
religious testr shall ever be required for any civil office were registered in the state. let's look at this middle paragraph here. who does this paragraph keep out? and please don't say anybody who doesn't believe in -- but what kind of people does this leave out? it leaves out jews, because jews can't uphold what? the division of the new testament, and anyone from any religion other than distant -- christianity. this is the irony of it all. a lot of my colleagues write about the constitution of pennsylvania and say the pennsylvania constitution was the most democratic constitution on earth. and it was. however, they come to the religious test, it is pretty
8:41 pm
limited into who can participate. they just want christians. and i think a lot of this has to do with recent research. a lot of this has to do with how many presbyterians, scots irish, were on the committee, but a lot of scholars are questioning that out. passed, thenion is the criticism takes place. i will read through some of these, but benjamin rush, benjamin rush, signer of the declaration of independence, a good whig, but he parts ways with the painites, with the radicals on the constitution. lecture,away from this you can support independent and still reject the democratic nature of the constitution. everybody with me?
8:42 pm
here is rush. the pennsylvania constitution substituted a mob government toward the happiest governments of the world. it is mobocracy. do we really want these people running the show, this unicameral legislature? we find the uncontrolled power of the whole state is in the hands of one body of men, no checks. one body. by the way, these people are just common people. they don't even only and. -- own land. it was dangerous to the safety of the community. if you put the power in the hands of the people according to rush, it is more dangerous than if you have a king. that is how much a lot of these guys fear the d-word, they fear democracy.
8:43 pm
is one more, and the idea of making the people at large judges of the qualification necessary for magistrates were judges of law, the checks and assemblies proceed that mankind is all alike, and have equal leisure. this government that they created, rush says, it assumes everybody has common sense. it proves everybody is equal. that is not true. we don't want to give people the right to govern themselves because they have common sense. we want wise people, just people, men of leisure. . love william hopper i quoted him before. the pennsylvania constitution was annexed google -- an ex cremable democracy. it will shake the beast.
8:44 pm
>> a legislator without end, executive. john fea: without any checks. a beast without a head. then there is john adams. john adams, not from onesylvania, but probably of the strongest critics of the pennsylvania government. two, one of the greatest defenders of mixed government. massachusetts, when they write their constitution, adams is the primary author, it is governor, upper house, lower house, all checking one another. adams is conservative in this sense. he is about order, structure. with adams in favor of independence, of course. the parts ways with pennsylvania.
8:45 pm
we live in the age of political experiments, many will fail, some will succeed. dividedsylvania will be and weekend -- weakened. no fan of democracy. no fan of giving the people so much power. we have got to love adams on the pennsylvania constitution. people cannot be free or happy whose government is one assembly. totally right to the pennsylvania constitution, a single assembly is liable to all devices, follies and frailties of an individual. subject to fits of humor, starts of passion, enthusiasm, partiality, prejudice. focus on the word passion for a second.
8:46 pm
adams knows that every human being has two faculties. it have a rational faculty, and they have their part, their passion. -- heart, their passion. the purpose of education is to create what? the rational. one of the reasons you train the rational faculty is that when you make choices for the public good that will affect other people or even choices that affect your own life, your rational faculty, which you train through education and reading like a muscle will control the passion. when you are born, which faculty has the power? the passion. someone in my class the other day said, think of a baby. baby is screaming for her bottle, not making a rational momsion, not knowing that has to run errands, so that is not why i will get my bottle now
8:47 pm
. we do not apply reason to the situation. nobody -- baby has reason because their passionate faculty dominates, but as they grow and educate themselves, they educate the rational faculty to control the passion. with all that in mind, and enthusiasm is another thing. the passions lead to craziness, enthusiasm. you follow your passion in an , john adams has that as a critique. connected to what he does not like this form of government. someone other than ryan. connor. >> it is too close to the people, like the emotions of the areple and their prejudices' going to lead the people. so rational -- john fea: we want to put the
8:48 pm
government in the hands of people that that their passion control there and not the reason, i knew kit -- uneducated people? let's wrap it up here. some conclusions. one, the battle between the framers meeting the framers of the constitution of 1770's, and its opponents -- we saw some of them already, beast without ahead, passion, the battle will rage. for the next 14 years. and create intense political factionalism. you thought it was bad in pennsylvania in the 1750's and 1760's, wait until the next two days of class and the defenders of order, defenders of balanced withnment go head-to-head
8:49 pm
defenders of the d-word, right, democracy. the battle over the pennsylvania constitution, and i want you to see this bigger picture, the battle over the pennsylvania 1776 wasion of ultimately a battle over the meaning of the american revolution. overrulebattle between and who would rule at home. what is this revolution going to look like? are we going to establish like john adams did, a balanced, mixed government like they haven't england? -- they have in england? getill just break away, home rule, set up the conservative kind of government that protects liberties, but nothing too radical, or is this revolution going to destroy
8:50 pm
everything in the past political life of pennsylvania? will it be democratic? is the revolution going to be revolutionary? those are the big issues not only facing pennsylvania but facing the colonies as a whole. so will the radical vision win? right now the radicals are in control. we would give them a positive spin. those numbskulls or defenders of thomas paine, the paiinites, they are spending a lot of radical time. but will these common people win the day? will pennsylvania become a democratic society that takes the idea that all people are equal seriously, or will the conservatives, who are also gladly broke away from england, will the conservatives when the
8:51 pm
day? ? win the day comeback on wednesday. we have two documents for next time, so we will continue the story on wednesday. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer 1: join us every saturday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures in history are also available as podcasts. visit our website, c-span.org/history, or download them from itunes. announcer 1: he once called for the removal of pluto as a planet, and on sunday, neil degrasse tyson will be here on in depth. >> allow me to tell you that our
8:52 pm
moon, as small as it was compared to earth, has five times the mass of pluto. people over here -- pluto lovers were never told that, were you? welcome to the company of informed people regarding pluto. announcer 1: during the live three-hour conversation, we will take facebook questions for mr. tyson, who is the director of the hidden planetarium in new york city and author of several books including welcome to the universe, death by blackhole, and astrophysics for people in a hurry. watch neil degrasse tighten live from noon if the 3:00 p.m. eastern c-span 2. all weekend, "american history tv"'s future in redding, california. we visited many sites so casing
8:53 pm
is history. the city of reading is located in northern california along the sacramento river near the shasta dam. learn more about reading all weekend here on "american history tv." we are driving across shasta dam right now, we are in the middle of what was the copperbelt. on the lake side of the dam below 400 feet of water lies the residents of the town of kennett and the smelter. on the other side of the dam near the foot is the old town of --am and the coram seltzer smelter, and that is we are heading today. one of the things we don't talk about with the copper industry, but i think there is a lot we can learn from it. i have diverted my research now to finding tales that are not really told and trying to get them out.
8:54 pm
right now, we are standing outside the remnants of the coram smelter. koran was probably the most third -- coram was probably the third most significant copper town from kendrick which is south of us in a horseshoe shape up from here all the way to kennett, bully hill and ingot. there were various copper mines and smelter that operated in this area from 1895 to as late as 1923. copper was discovered in shasta county in the 1860's, but early experiments to. prove profitable. one mine owner sent his origin waleses to be -- ore to to be smelted.

37 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on