State House Yard Speech On The Constitution

917 words - 4 pages

James Wilson's State House Yard Speech on the Constitution was possibly one of the most influential and significant documents in the debate over the ratification of the Constitution. The speech took place on October 6th, 1787, during the Philadelphia Assembly, less than a month after the Constitution was signed. It was intended to nominate delegates to the next Pennsylvania Legislature, but instead, turned into a debate on the ratification of the Constitution. Wilson, who was a delegate in the Federal Convention, was asked to speak to the people to explain the Constitution and answer to some of the criticisms that had been made.Wilson, a Federalist, and a firm believer in the validity of the ...view middle of the document...

For example, in response to the fear of liberties taken away, such as the freedom of press, Wilson, who was pro-American liberties from the moment he came to America from Scotland, said, "What control can proceed from the Federal government to shackle or destroy that sacred palladium of national freedom?" Since he was a politician, Wilson had experience, and he knew what was feasible and what wasn't. He was able to convince the public, by relating to his past experiences, and because of his great political sagacity and foresight, and the fluency of his speech, the absurdness of assuming things like trial by jury would be eliminated. In order to rebuke the comment that the Constitution was dangerous, Wilson pointed out that "I do not know a nation in the world which has not found it necessary and useful to maintain the appearance of strength in a season of the most profound tranquility." This showed his ability to reason with the people, and to persuade them, by making them feel as if they would be lacking something by not having what other nations had. As well as tackling issues of people's liberties and fears, he also pointed out to them that they had a lot more say in the government than they originally thought. By using a logical proof, he showed that the common people through the Senate, and state legislature, in essence, elected the President of the United States. Without the common people, there would be no way of deciding who's in the House of...

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