From: BBA
To: ;,
Subject: Philadelphia did not run-a-way. - Support HJR 8
Date: Thu Feb 27 19:14:58 MST 2014
Before the House is HJR 8 - Balanced Budget Amendment Convention.

One of the major arguments used by those who oppose an amendments convention is that the Philadelphia convention "ran-a-way," therefore any future convention will get out of control.


They suggest George Washington, James Madison, and a host of other honorable people "violated" the purpose of the call of the convention and wrote the Constitution. 


This position is based upon a resolution passed by the Confederation Congress which included the following words: "(Convention)be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation." Opponents state since the Philadelphia Convention was not limited to amending the Articles, a violation occurred.


However, opponents fail to provide the entire text of the resolution which reads from the Journal of the Congress: "Resolved that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates show shall have been appointed by the several States be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation."


The first six words of the resolution are typically lost in the argument.


The Confederation Congress had absolutely no authority to interfere with the Convention and it knew it.The resolution passed was "advisory" at the insistence of New York and Massachusetts .


The Philadelphia Convention was actually called by the Virginia Assembly following the recommendation of the Annapolis Convention. Conventions of the states were how states discussed national issues. There were at least 20 interstate conventions held during the founding era, almost all for a single subject.


The subject of the call for the Philadelphia Convention  was "to remedy defects in the federal government." There was no mention of amending the Articles. After the resolution was passed, a convention for that subject was going to be held. It was now a matter of how many states would show up.


A day after Virginia passed its resolution; New Jersey followed assigning delegates for the same subject. During the ensuing weeks, five more states passed resolutions for the same subject.


New York and Massachusetts decided they would attend but instructed their delegates to only amend the Articles. It was at this time MA and NY convinced the Confederation Congress to pass its recommendation.


Afterwards, three more states voted to send delegates to form a new government.


In total, at Philadelphia , ten states attended to form a new government pursuant to the Virginia Resolution. Two states, NY and MA, limited their delegates to amending the Articles. Rhode Island did not attend.


When the convention began and it was apparent a new government was the discussion, two of the three NY delegates went home. Alexander Hamilton stayed as an individual. One of the four MA went home, three stayed, and two signed the Constitution in violation of their instructions.


Therefore, of the 55 delegates who signed the Constitution, 53 voted in accordance to the call of the convention and the instructions from their state, and only two (from MA) violated their instructions.


The Convention did exactly what it was called to do. It did not run a way in any manner.


Additionally, when George Washington's gavel came down and the convention adjourned, nothing changed.  The convention only proposed a new government.


When a Balanced Budget Amendment Convention adjourns, nothing will change. I can only propose an amendment.


If you have any questions, please call.

William H. Fruth
Volunteer Co-Founder
Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force