This is our third post of our series leading up to the 225th anniversary of the Constitution.
Once the Constitutional Convention finally gathered a quorum of state delegations, it got right down to business. During the Convention’s first weekend recess, the Rules Committee drafted a set of guidelines for how the Convention would conduct its business.
The rules the Convention ultimately adopted created an environment well suited to earnest debate. Delegates agreed they would be able to reconsider (and re-vote on) any resolution they had already adopted. They also agreed to keep the proceedings of the Convention secret.
By shielding their discussions from public scrutiny, delegates gave themselves the opportunity to consider and even argue for unpopular views. By allowing themselves to change their votes, they gave themselves a chance to persuade their colleagues and to be persuaded by them. The delegates adopted rules that allowed them to change their minds.
They gave themselves the freedom to admit they were wrong.
Throughout the long summer months, that freedom would prove crucial to the development of the Constitution.
(Image: Exterior of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA.)
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