From those texts and others, it is evident that the events that led to the successful creation of the United States Constitution was due to the Providence of the sovereign God, and not coincidence.
- A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection, or
- Correspondence in nature or in time of occurrence
Dr. Michael Stallard, who is a Baptist Bible Seminary Dean, Professor of Systematic Theology, and the Director of the Seminary Ph.D. program, also wrote a book supporting God's influence in the writing of the Constitution. Dr. Stallard reviews each piece of the final document, pointing out clearly that it was guided by a Biblical world view. He writes, "Perhaps the most remarkable evidence of a biblical worldview in the Constitution is the underlying belief in the depravity of men and women." Dr. Mike Stallard, The Biblical Basis of the United States Constitution, at 3 (2011) available at http://our-hope.org/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Biblical-Basis-of-the-United-States-Constitution1.pdf . He summarizes how the Constitution is ". . . [A] document designed to maximize protection against political abuse and to take full advantage of the blessings of liberty. . . ., it is safe to suggest that there is a biblical basis for the U. S. Constitution."
It is prudent to point out that in 1776 the second convention came up with Declaration of Independence (the "why" they wanted to be their own Country) and the preliminary "how: Articles of Confederation, which created the "first continental-wide system of governance " and the The Declaration of Independence in 1776 had provided the "why," but now the "how" had to be decided. It took ten years for the Articles to be the binding document because of territorial dispute, and part of the agreement under the Articles is that all states had to sign off on it first. Once that happened, it was almost immediately known that in operation, it wasn't working out so good.
- Several statesmen, especially George Washington, were concerned that the idea of an American mind that had emerged during the war with Britain was about to disappear and the Articles of Confederation were inadequate to foster the development of an American character. According to Washington, “we have errors to correct.” He argued that the states refused to comply with the articles of peace, the union was unable to regulate interstate commerce, and the states met, but oh so grudgingly, just the minimum interstate standards required by the Articles. Others, especially James Madison, were concerned that the state legislatures——dominated by what he saw as oppressive, unjust, and overbearing majorities——were passing laws detrimental to the rights of individual conscience and the right to private property. And there was nothing that the union government could do about it because the Articles left matters of religion and commerce to the states. The solution, concluded Madison, was to create an extended republic, in which a variety of opinions, passions, and interests would check and balance each other, supported by a governmental framework that endorsed a separation of powers between the branches of the general government.
From the various books and articles already mentioned, there are least an estimated thirteen individual factors (one for each colony in a sense) that combined together for the formation of the Constitution at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, a "Grand Convention." There were several times the convention would have ended in failure. The Founding Fathers knew it was divine intervention that prevented it. (Keep in mind the Founders were grounded in the Biblical world view. I also have two other Constitution Day posts here. )
- The State Legislators could not afford to send a bunch of delegates to Philadelphia. There had been little to know reimbursement for the cost of war (the centralized government in the Articles was useless for the most part).
- There were very few logical reasons to send them, and many did not want to go anyway, There were more than fifty attempts to write a new constitution. Why should it be any different this time? Instead, out of the thirteen states, only one did not come. Rhode Island. Out of the seventy- eight appointed delegates, fifty-five came and agreed to come even though there would be no pay or reimbursement for expenses!
- Chances that the best leaders from each state would attend, especially those that had both Constitutional and Biblical law knowledge. 2
- The convention unexpectedly started late by eleven days for a quorum was needed to begin it. In that time frame, George Washington, James Madison, and some others were able to prepare and convince Virginian that a new constitution was what the country needed; the draft was the "Virginia Plan." While that was going on, the states trickled in. This ended up providing a chance for the states to do some "social networking." Rivaling states had a chance to create fellowship, and, at least starting, the convention in unity. If the delay had not happened, it more than likely would have been a failure from the start
- Most were against strengthening a centralized government: Isn't that part of the reason they left Britain et al? Many times, there was a lack of consensus from leaders. Remember, most came to revise the Articles of Confederation, not replace it.
- The length of the convention was to last from the time of planting to harvesting, the most crucial time of the year. Chances that the best leaders attend were slim to none esp those that had both Constitutional and Biblical Law knowledge.
- The states were constantly requesting the delegates to come back, and the delegates were desperately worried about their farms and personal businesses. If at any time over the next four months there were not enough delegates for quorum to exist, the convention would close down.
- Timing of it happened to be at the most ideal, looking back. If it was five years earlier, it would have been too soon for no one would have seen a need yet for a Federal Government. If it happened just a bit later, the French Revolution was taking place and no one would have wanted anything to change during it.
- The first vote with a quorum for replacing the Articles of Confederation was on May 30th. However, New Hampshire and Rhode Island delegates were not present yet (RI never would be), and they were very staunchly against the "repeal and replace."
- Delaware had already stated publicly prior to the first vote that they had no intentions of voting for a new constitution. For no known reason, when the vote took place, Delaware voted for it. If they and the other two states were present and voted against the constitution, the Article of Confederation would have been kept!
- The second vote, which was an additional chance for the saving the Articles, was on June 19th. Because of the following two states, the constitution did not die: Georgia, who arrived late but just before this vote; Connecticut, fervent anti-constitutionalists, flip-flopped just like Delaware did on the 30th of May.
- After that, keeping the Articles was no-more. The latest draft of the constitution was the called the Connecticut Compromise at this point. Georgia delegate, Abraham Baldwin, was still against a constitution like his state, but oddly he did not want the convention to end; the expected Nay vote became a Yay. If he had voted against it, the convention would have ended at this point.
- There is one last point for the list (although there are several more). At the time the second vote of the Connecticut Compromise took place, Maryland was in the anti-constitution group. However, one of the delegates, Luther Martin, somehow convinced all of them to vote yes. Ironically, only three days after the majority voted yes to continue work on the Compromise., days later, Luther left “in disgust,” and he never back, He would have vote against the final constitution.
1 There was a third definition, but as it relates to physics it is not relevant for this discussion.
2 Additional comments regarding the delegates as stated by Dr. Gordon Loyd, author and editor of a series of Online Exhibits on the American Founding hosted by the Ashbrook Center’s website, TeachingAmericanHistory.org, and more:
- It has often been remarked that in the journey of life, the young rely on energy to counteract the experience of the old. And vice versa. What makes this Constitutional Convention remarkable is that the delegates were both young and experienced. The average age of the delegates was 42 and four of the most influential delegates——Alexander Hamilton, Edmund Randolph, Gouvernor Morris, and James Madison——were in their thirties. Over half of the delegates graduated from College with nine from Princeton and six from British Universities. Even more significant was the continental political experience of the Framers: 8 signed the Declaration of Independence, 25 served in the Continental Congress, 15 helped draft the new State Constitutions between 1776 and 1780, and 40 served in the Confederation Congress between 1783 and 1787.