Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

April 2018

 

 Contents

          Meeting announcements

          Revolution History note

          Preservation Update

          Program Schedule

          Color Guard Opportunities

          Other Dates of Interest

          Misc. reminders and information

 

April Meeting

The April meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will be held on Saturday, April 21. at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace.  Please remember to pay on your way in and keep your receipt for the waitress. 

The street address for the Golden Corral is: 11801 N 56th St. Tampa, FL 33617

(813) 899-1833

Important note - The April meeting will be our annual luncheon for the JROTC cadets that received our award this year as well as their instructors and families. There will not be a formal program. We will simply recognize our guests and present the awards. As was the case when we met at Piccadilly, we are asking our members to spread out and sit with our guests when possible.  We will eat between 11:30 and 12:30. When you arrive and get your plate, if you see a table with a cadet/instructor, introduce yourself and sit with them for lunch. Due to expected numbers some cadets and members will no doubt be eating in the main dining area, not in the meeting room, so look around and if you see them, join them. Let’s be sure to make our guests feel welcome.  Around 12:30, someone will circulate to let you know the meeting and presentations are about to begin in the meeting room.  Thank you in advance for your assistance and cooperation.

March Meeting

The March meeting featured speaker was Roger Smith, PhD, a Florida historian who has studied and written extensively on the history of Colonial Florida and the role of the British Colony of East Florida in the Revolution.  Dr. Smith has made many presentations at various SAR events including the spring Leadership Conference in Louisville and the recent Commemoration of the Battle of Thomas Creek in Jacksonville.

 

American Revolution Notes:

This is the 3rd in a five-part series on the ratification of the Constitution.  This month—the ratification fight in South Carolina.

South Carolina

On May 23, 1788, South Carolina became the 8th state to ratify the Constitution. Very few records remain from the ratification convention and the result was a foregone conclusion.  The real debate in South Carolina occurred in January when the legislature met to choose the date and set up the procedures for the convention. The records remain from that legislative session and from those records it is possible to identify the main issues debated and the arguments used.

          As was the case in other states, the representatives from the seaboard regions were pro-constitution and those from backcountry constituted most of the support for the anti-Federalist forces.  Likewise, as was the case in other states, the Federalist were well organized.  In South Carolina their leaders and main spokesmen were Charles Pinckney, Edward Rutledge, Robert Barnwell and John Rutledge.  The anti-Federalists lacked organization and leadership. Their leader and main spokesman, Rawlins Lowndes, did not attend the ratifying convention, despite being elected to the convention.  He did attend the legislative session in January, so we know his main arguments against the Constitution.

                               

              Charles Pinckney                                                                   Rawlins Lowndes

 

          In the debates, during the January legislative session the anti-Federalists, in the person of Lowndes, put forth several arguments.  To the charge that the new government possessed too much power the Federalist replied, as they had in other states and as Madison would later in Virginia, that “the general government has no powers but what are expressly granted by the Constitution, and that all rights not expressed were reserved by the several states.”  Pinckney added “no powers could be executed, or assumed, but as were expressly delegated.”

          The anti-Federalist in South Carolina broached the topic of slavery and the Federalist reassured them that “the new government can never emancipate” the slaves.  They quickly added the Constitution provided the provision that southern states could recover their runaways, a power not available under the Articles of Confederation. 

          Neither of these answers appeased Lowndes who thought that population growth in the north would, in time, allow the north to do what they wanted, and no constitutional prohibition would prevent that from happening.  Thus, he concluded, why should we give up what we now have for an “experiment” that will not profit us in the future?  Pinckney’s continued assurances of northern benevolence and goodwill were not convincing to the South Carolina anti-Federalist. 

          Following the legislative session, South Carolina held elections for the ratification convention. Eighty percent of the state’s population lived in the interior and backcountry and only twenty percent in the low country around Charleston.  Yet, due to the way representation was apportioned in South Carolina, those districts got most of the seats in the legislature.  This disparity in apportionment showed up in the ratification convention election where the Federalist delegates elected outnumbered anti-Federalist delegates elected by a margin of 2-1. 

From the few records we have of the convention, the main thrust of the anti-Federalist argument was that South Carolina was a separate sovereign entity and that English law, beginning with Magna Charta and continuing through the Glorious Revolution and English Bill of Rights, was the basis for man’s rights. (This is a markedly different view than the abstract, natural rights Jefferson used in the Declaration of Independence.)  They feared the new government would encroach on these rights.  In other words, the debate came down to, in the words of M E Bradford, “how much in the way of fundamental law could they risk” and still maintain their liberty and still be South Carolina.

On May 23, by a vote of 149-73, South Carolina ratified the Constitution.  The anti-Federalist did eke out two small victories.  First, like several other states, they sent along with their ratification suggested amendments, some of which would end up in the Bill of rights.  Second, they attached a codicil to their ratification document stating that “no Section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a Construction (interpretation) that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them…”

Conventions in Virginia and New Hampshire loomed on the horizon, but with eight states having ratified and none yet having refused to ratify, the result for the Federalist, ratification of the U S Constitution by the states was now all but assured.

Next month: Virginia—Madison vs Patrick Henry with appearances by George Washington, Edmond Randolph and George Mason.

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Bibliography

Bowen, Catherine:  Miracle in Philadelphia

Bradford, M. E. A Worthy Company: Brief Lives of the Framers of the Constitution

                         Original Intentions: On the Making and Ratification of the Constitution

Kirk, Russell:  Roots of the American Order

McDonald, Forrest:  Novus Ordo Seclorum: Intellectual Origins of the U S Constitution

        Requiem: Variations on Eighteenth Century Themes

St. John, Jeffrey:   A Child of Fortune

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Battlefield Preservation Note.

          You’ll recall a couple of years ago we ran a series of columns discussing the efforts to preserve Revolutionary battlefields and other important locations in the Carolinas.  I read this week that 14 acres of the Eutaw Springs battlefield have now been preserved with more, hopefully, to follow.  Eutaw Springs was the last major engagement in South Carolina and forced the last remaining British force in the field to fall back to the protection of the garrison in Charleston.

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Program Schedule for Spring of 2018

May 19         TBD

All meetings will be at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace

          (as usual we will recess for the summer months)

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Color Guard Opportunities

April 24       Honor Flight Return                            St Pete/Clearwater Airport

May 28        Memorial Day                                                     Various Locations

June 5         Honor Flight Return                           St Pete/Clearwater Airport

July 4          Independence Day                                               Various Locations

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Other Dates of Interest

May 18-19    Florida Society BOM & Annual Meeting         Kissimmee, FL

July 13-18    NSSAR National Congress                            Houston, TX

Sep 15         Tampa Chapter September Meeting              Golden Corral

Oct 12-13    Florida Society Fall BOM                              Kissimmee, FL

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Miscellaneous Reminders

Chapter Website—remember you can find information about the chapter and programs on the chapter website.      http://www.tampasar.org/

 

One of the duties of the Chapter Chaplain is to send cards to our members that are sick. Another is to send a sympathy card to the family of a member who has passed away. If you know of anyone that should be the recipient of these cards please mention it to Chaplain Sessums or one of the other officers at our next meeting.

 

Chapter officers and committee chairmen are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.