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Week 4, Part 2: Try to Keep Your Cool When Your Plan Falls Apart.

The convention falls into chaos.  Madison’s judgment slips, and he makes not-so-veiled threats against small states.  Additional delegates try to push their own extreme visions.  Connecticut tries to restore peace. 

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Week 4, Part 1: Read the Room.

Hamilton finally speaks up, keeps speaking straight through lunch, damages his reputation, and is otherwise ignored.  The benefits and perils of an elective monarchy and legislature.  The Patterson team revisits the utility of the electoral college, muses about Old Bacon Face, and wonders whether people “begin to be tired of an excess of democracy.”

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Week 3: Don’t Push Your Plan Too Far.

The Large States and Deep South support one another. Gerry takes on the three-fifths compromise. New Jersey stalls for time and introduces an alternative plan for a federal government. The Patterson team  takes the New Jersey plan seriously.

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Week 2, Part 2: Figure Out Who Judges the Judges

Delegates debate whether lower federal courts are worth the money and how to select judges. Franklin makes an unorthodox proposal. The council of revision resurfaces and the judicial veto is rejected. The delegates debate the method of electing Senators. Wilson makes another stand for popular election. The convention stalls on a proposal to allow Congress to veto State laws. The Patterson team discusses lifetime appointments, the Supreme Court and the perceived importance of State involvement in the Senate.

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Week 2, Part 1: Push Past Your Fear of Kings

Virginia presses its plan with broad outlines for the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Fear and loathing of a return to a monarchy. The delegates nonetheless opt for a single executive, with a veto, but defer how they will be elected. Wilson makes a stand for popular election, and is entirely ignored. The Patterson team discusses the impact of the electoral college in recent elections, the powers of the modern presidency, and the declining use of the presidential veto.

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Week 1: Showing up is half the battle.

The convention opens. The Virginia delegation introduces its plan for Government including a national executive, national judiciary, and, crucially, proportional representation in the national legislature. The small states are not pleased. Pinckney’s plan is ignored. The Patterson team takes an historical detour to discuss Dorr’s rebellion and the justiciability of constitutional provisions.

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Introduction: “The difficulty of the crisis, and the necessity of preventing the fulfilment of the prophecies of the American downfall.”

Introducing a new podcast from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP. Who we are and what we do. The constant presence of the constitution in our daily civic life, and the benefits of discussing and learning from it. General approach for the podcast. The limitations of the Articles of Confederation, Shay’s rebellion, and the fear of anarchy among the political elite. The Annapolis Convention, and the Confederation Congress’s blessing of the Constitutional Convention (within limits). The selection of delegates for the Convention, and who was (and wasn’t) represented. Washington meets with Franklin, and the large states plot their first move.

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