Sons of the American Revolution
Revolution History notes
New Facebook Page
Color Guard Opportunities
Dates of Interest
Misc. reminders and information
The next meeting of the Tampa Chapter, Sons of the American Revolution, will be held on Saturday, May 19, at the Golden Corral in Temple Terrace. Please remember to pay on your way in and keep your receipt for the waitress. Social time and lunch will precede the meeting. The meeting will begin at 12 noon.
The street address for the Golden Corral is: 11801 N 56th St. Tampa, FL 33617
This month, our own Compatriot Bob Yarnell will speak to us on the topic “A Revolution not made but prevented”. We have heard Bob speak before and know that he always brings a unique insight into the events of the Revolution. In addition, we have just learned that Youth Compatriot Benjamin Bryant, son of VP David Bryant, has once again placed second in the Florida Society Eagle Scout Competition. Ben has been invited to join us, read his essay and receive his state award.
Last month was our annual JROTC recognition luncheon. We had three of the Cadets we recognized join us for additional recognition. Among those three was Middleton HS Cadet Joseph Lubinski also as the winner of the Tampa Chapter Enhanced JROTC Award. Cadet Lubinski read his winning essay for us. We have learned since the meeting that Cadet Lubinski was named as the third-place winner of the Florida Society Enhanced JROTC Award.
American Revolution Notes
Virginia’s Ratification Convention: Great drama, but anti-climatic
When the 168 members of the Virginia ratification convention met in Richmond on June 2, 1788, they knew that 8 states had already ratified, and that the New Hampshire convention would be meeting on June 18th. If ratification in New Hampshire was assured, Federalist in Virginia hoped they could expedite their deliberations and that they, not New Hampshire, would be the state that provided the 9th and last vote needed for ratification.
The convention gathered together Virginia’s finest minds and most notable politicians. Proponents of the Constitution counted among their number such luminaries as James Madison, George Nicholas, George Wythe, John Marshall, Light-Horse Harry Lee, and, from afar, George Washington. The anti-federalist apposition to the Constitution included Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Monroe, Benjamin Harrison, John Tyler, and Richard Henry Lee.
James Madison Patrick Henry
The Federalist scored two important tactical victories at the beginning of the convention. First, instead of debate on general topics that might not be germane to the task at hand, the convention decided to methodically go through the Constitution clause by clause with the Federalist being in the position of explainers and thus setting the terms of the debate. Second, Gov. Edmund Randolph who had refused to sign the Constitution in Philadelphia, announced he was now in favor of ratification*. Randolph’s defection stunned many of the delegates and undoubtedly resulted in the change of some members from the anti to the pro side of the ledger.
Patrick Henry led the opposition. While aged and weak of body, the son of thunder had roused himself for one last battle. During the course of the convention, however, Henry made several tactical errors that hurt the anti-federalist cause. At the beginning of the convention he decided to make the issue of Kentucky the center piece of his opposition. The area west of the Appalachians, that is now the state of Kentucky, was, at that time, still part of Virginia. Fourteen delegates from that region attended the convention as did delegates from the Shenandoah Valley and Ohio River region. Henry hoped to convince them to vote against the Constitution by raising the fear that the new government would abandon the Kentuckians and acquiesce to Spanish control of the Mississippi.
Throughout the convention Patrick hurled his thunderbolts in all directions. His eyes still pierced to the heart of his opponents and the force of his oratory had an impact. But, it was on many occasions unfocused and while it may have had a temporary effect on some members, within hours the effect wore off as delegates realized they really could not remember or recount a single telling point. And, after he had finished a speech, Madison and Nicholas took the lead in calmly and quietly refuting Henry.
As the convention continued, George Mason brought to the fore the issue of a bill of rights. As had been the case in other states, the compromise of ratifying while sending along a list for the 1st Congress to consider quickly gained adherents. Henry and Mason proposed that Virginia include the amendments as part of the ratification, not as suggestions to be added later. They lost that battle on a vote of 88-80.
In the last days of the convention Henry returned to the Kentucky/Mississippi issue with Mason joining in warning the westerners that the federal judiciary would henceforth control their economic future. Gov. Randolph refuted this, and a violent thunderstorm ended the debate.
On June 25th a final vote was taken to ratify with suggested amendments sent along. The motion passed 89-79. Ten of the 14 Kentucky delegates voted against ratification but the delegates from the Shenandoah Valley and Ohio River area voted in favor. The antifederalist western strategy had failed and by focusing so much attention on it, they had not been able to mount an organized opposition on the issues of too much power to the central government and the rights issue. The Federalist out flanked them on the rights issue by using the same method Massachusetts used and by going through the Constitution clause by clause they allayed fears of consolidation.
Though important, Virginia’s ratification did not, in the end, provide the critical 9th vote. New Hampshire ratified the Constitution on June 21st, thus gaining the distinction of being the state to put the Constitution over the top.
* Randolph’s decision to vote in favor of ratification after refusing to sign the Constitution in Philadelphia is still a matter of some debate. In the best biography of Randolph, John Reardon states that Randolph changed his mind because it was more expedient to ratify than try to get a new convention to revise. M E Bradford in a short mini-biography of Randolph says he was a Federalist due to caution and circumstance but an anti-Federalist by conviction. He also puts forth the question---did Randolph switch for fear of alternatives or for desire for the good opinion of the leaders of the state?
His public career gives us a mixed bag:
Philadelphia convention—refuses to sign; conviction or a politician wanting to keep his options open and wait to see how the winds of ratification blew?
Virginia. Ratifying convention—switches and agrees to ratification: conviction or a politician who saw which way the wind was blowing and realized that being on the winning side could bring position, power and wealth?
(Washington did name him to the position of Attorney General. No smoking gun has ever been found to prove any promise that might have influenced Randolph’s switch. The general consensus is that it was (probably) a belated thank you for switching and also the simple matter of Washington wanting a fellow Virginian and someone he knew as his legal advisor.)
Hamilton’s Bank bill—sided with Jefferson and told President Washington to veto it because it was unconstitutional: conviction or more the result of personality clashes with Hamilton and friendship or at least collegial relations with Jefferson?
Bradford concludes his mini-biography by stating that through much of this Randolph was a troubled man who couldn’t seem to find a middle way between the two sides with which he could be comfortable.
Conventions in New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island remained. Their votes will be in the September newsletter.
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
NEW FACEBOOK PAGE
From the President. The new face book page for the Tampa Sons of the American Revolution is Tampa Sar. The password to add anything is American1776. Please feel free to upload pictures or comments. Invite all your friends to take a look.
Color Guard Opportunities
On April 7, Tampa Compatriot Dick Young joined the Florida Society Color Guard at the Commemoration of the Battle of Thomas Creek in Jacksonville.
On April 24, The Tampa Chapter Color Guard was part of the Welcome Home Ceremony for the Honor Flight of West Central Florida Mission #33 at the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Airport. The Color Guard was represented by David Bryant, John Goolsby and Dick Young. Tampa Compatriot Bill Swain also attended the Ceremony.
There will be another Welcome Home Ceremony for Mission #34 at the Airport on Tuesday, June 5. Everyone is invited to attend, in uniform or not. Watch their Facebook page for updates.
The Tampa Chapter will be taking its usual summer hiatus. The next scheduled meeting will be September 15. Save the date make plans to join us at the Golden Corral.
Dates of Interest
May 18-19 Florida Society BOM & Annual Meeting Kissimmee, FL
May 28 Memorial Day
June 5 Honor Flight Welcome Home Clearwater, FL
June 14 Flag Day
July 4 Independence Day
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
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 chairman are encouraged to send any pertinent information they wish included in the newsletter to the editor.