Tampa Chapter

Sons of the American Revolution

March 2018

 

Contents

          Meeting announcements

          Revolution History note

          Children of the American Revolution

          Program Schedule

          Color Guard Opportunities

          Other Dates of Interest

          Misc. reminders and information

 

The March meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will held on Saturday, March 17 at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace. Please remember to pay on your way in and keep your receipt for the waitress.  As always, members will start gathering around 11:30 for fellowship and conversation.  The formal meeting will start at 12:00 with a break for lunch around 12:15. The program will follow lunch at approx. 1 pm. This month Dr. Roger Smith, an author and recent speaker at the National SAR Leadership Meeting, will speak on Colonial Florida and the British Colony of East Florida during the Revolution.      

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

(813) 899-1833

       

        The February meeting featured an excellent presentation by J. Michael Francis, PhD of USF-St. Petersburg, and his work on Spanish history in Colonial Florida.  Pictured below is Tampa Chapter President John Goolsby (right) and Dr. Francis.

American Revolution Notes:

          This is the 2nd in a five-part series on the ratification of the Constitution.  This month—the ratification fight in Massachusetts.

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Part 2--Massachusetts

          By the time the Massachusetts ratification convention met on January 9, 1788, five states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut) had already ratified the document.  In three of those states there was little opposition with no dissenting votes being cast.  In Pennsylvania a third of the delegates voted no and in Connecticut about 25% voted no, but the outcome was never in doubt.

                                 Samuel Adams                                  John Hancock

 

However, as the delegates from Massachusetts gathered to begin their debate on January 9, 1788, the outcome was very much in doubt.  The delegates from the commercial and seaboard parts of state, especially Boston, favored the new form of government, and had the advantage of being well organized.  James Bowdoin, former Governor favored stronger central government as did both Rufus King and Nathaniel Gorham who had voted for and signed the Constitution in Philadelphia. These three were aided by Theophilus Parsons, a noted legal expert.  Together they organized and formed a loose leadership of the Federalist bloc.

The delegates from the backcountry, being used to local, participatory government, had many concerns about the new constitution. While they made up a majority of the delegates as the convention began, they were unorganized and, in effect leaderless.  Elbridge Gerry, who had refused to sign the Constitution in Philadelphia lived in a Federalist district, had not been elected to the convention.  Sam Adams, had been elected, but represented a Federalist district, and no one knew for sure if he would represent them or vote his own views. Lastly, John Hancock, who had been elected President of the convention, was not in attendance due to recurring physical problems, most notably gout. 

In order that everyone might be heard, and the Constitution properly debated, the convention decided to postpone an immediate vote.  This was a victory for the Federalist bloc who realized they would probably lose a quick vote.  For the next three weeks the delegates debated the proposed Constitution.  They spent quite a bit of time on section 4 of Article 1 (dealing with the ability of Congress to alter state rules concerning times and places of elections) and section 8 of Article 1 (listing the powers of Congress).  The lack of annual elections also bothered the Massachusetts anti-Federalist as did the part about there being no religious test for office. 

It is interesting to note that while in other states the Federalist had to defend the Constitution in negative terms—no, the government won’t be able to do this; no, the government won’t be able to that that etc. The Federalist in Massachusetts defended the Constitution with positive arguments by explaining how the new government would be good for the people of Massachusetts. 

Despite this, by the end of January it became clear to the Federalist leaders they needed something to change about 20 votes.  A group of Federalist visited John Hancock at his house and, in exchange for promised support for his re-election as Governor, Hancock decided to make an appearance and throw his weight behind the Federalist. 

On January 30th, Hancock arrived and read to the convention nine amendments that Massachusetts would propose to the Congress once the new government began operations.  While these had been written by the Federalist, for Hancock to read, Hancock gave the impression they were his idea.  The anti-Federalist looked to Hancock for leadership and while his amendments addressed most of their concerns., it was obvious he favored ratification. Additionally, Sam Adams came out in favor of the Constitution.  The defections of Adams and Hancock to the Federalist side gave them the swing votes they needed and by just 19 votes in a convention of 355, Massachusetts ratified the Constitution.  Thus, the Massachusetts Federalist emerged victorious in the first real test of the new Constitution by a combination of adroit political maneuvering and emphasizing the benefits the new government would provide. 

The ratification by Massachusetts put the total at 6.  Only three more state ratifications were needed for the government to begin operation.  In April, after only 5 days of debate Maryland overwhelmingly (63-11) approved the Constitution.  With Maryland’s approval, the Federalist gained some much-needed momentum following the near loss in Massachusetts.  Next up, South Carolina.

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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

 

Children of the American Revolution

For those of you with children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews under the age of 21, they are eligible for membership in the National Society Children of the American Revolution.  There is a Florida Society C.A.R. which is holding its Annual State Conference in Orlando later this month.  There is also a local Fort Brooke Society C.A.R.  For more information on the C.A.R. visit their national website at www.nscar.org or contact the Fort Brooke Society Senior President Mimi Leroy-Marler at maleroy7720@gmail.com.  With some possible limitations, approved C.A.R. applications can be used for application to SAR and DAR and approved SAR applications of Youth members can be used for application to C.A.R. 

 

Program schedule for Spring of 2018

April 21       JROTC Recognition

May 19         TBD

All meetings will be at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace

 

Color Guard Opportunities

April 7         Battle of Thomas Creek Commemoration                     Jacksonville

April 24       Honor Flight Return                            St Pete/Clearwater Airport

June 5         Honor Flight Return                            St Pete/Clearwater Airport

May 28        Memorial Day                                                     Various Locations

July 4          Independence Day                                               Various Locations

 

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

 

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.