Gunston Hall, Home of George Mason

George Mason & the Federal Convention of 1787 

May 17 Arrived in Philadelphia as one of the delegates appointed to represent Virginia during the Federal Convention. Delegates included George Washington and James Madison.
May 28 Made the first of his reported 136 speeches on the convention floor.
May 30 Favored a total revision of the Articles of Confederation.
May 31 Supported a proposal for popular election of the lower house of Congress.
June 1 Supported a National Executive directly elected by the people, with a term of office of seven years and no chance for reelection.
June 4 Drafted a speech stating the advantages of vesting executive power in three persons.
June 6 Favored direct election of Representatives by the people, rather than by state legislatures.

Supported a check on Congress by not allowing both the power of the purse and the sword to fall under one branch.

June 21 Again spoke in favor of allowing the people to directly elect Representatives.
June 22 Spoke on the importance of disqualifying legislators from holding other public offices.
July 2 Appointed to a committee to work out a compromise on representation in Congress.
July 11 Argued that representation in the lower house should be based on population.
July 17 Opposed direct election of Chief Executive and presidential tenure "during good behavior."
July 18 Favored giving Congress, rather than the Chief Executive, the power of appointing Federal Judges.
July 20 Supported the impeachment power as a check on the Chief Executive.
July 23 Spoke in favor of allowing the people, rather than the state legislatures, to ratify the new Constitution.
July 25 Supported a motion to limit the Chief Executive's tenure.
July 26 Opposed locating the national capital in the seat of any state government.
Aug. 8 Argued that tax and appropriation bills should originate in the lower house of Congress.
Aug. 9 Argued again that money bills should originate in the lower house of Congress, not in the Senate.
Aug. 11 Argued that publication of the proceedings of Congress should be mandatory.
Aug. 13 Insisted again that tax and appropriation powers should lie exclusively with the lower branch.
Aug. 17 Argued that Congress rather than the President should have the power to declare war.
Aug. 18 Argued that Congress should regulate the national militia and hoped there would be no standing army in times of peace.
Aug. 20 Motioned that Congress be able to enact sumptuary laws (laws that would discourage and punish drinking, gambling, and other undesirable public behavior).
Aug. 22 Opposed the slave trade, stating that it began out of "the avarice of the British merchants."
Aug. 29 Argued that if a simple majority in Congress, rather than a two-thirds majority, regulated trade, Southern interests would be in jeopardy.
Aug. 31 Announced that he "would sooner chop off his right hand than put it to the Constitution as it now stands."
Sept. 7 Suggested creating a council of state, with two members from each section of the country advising the president. Motion defeated.
Sept. 12 Offered to write a bill of rights, saying that this "would give great quiet to the people." Idea rejected unanimously.
Sept. 15 Joined fellow Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph in recommending a second federal convention. Idea rejected unanimously.
Sept. 16 Wrote his "Objections to This Constitution of Government" on the back of a committee report.
Sept. 17 Constitution signed by delegates present except Elbridge Gerry from Massachusetts, Edmund Randolph, and Mason. Convention adjourned.
Oct. 4 Broadside with Mason's "Objections" printed in Philadelphia.

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