The Framers’ Debates on Religion
The First Amendment and the Utah Constitution
Lesson II. Amending the U.S. Constitution with a Bill of Rights
Step 4. Who's Who?
Framers Debating Religion in the First Federal Congress
Featured Speakers During the Bill of Rights Debates on Religion
Born March 5, 1751 – Died June 28, 1836
James Madison (Delegate of Virginia) Planter, slaveholder, essayist, legislator, and President of the USA.
Born the son of a leading planter, he secured election into the Virginia Convention, which produced the independent state, its new constitution, and the Virginia Declaration of Rights. He then joined the state legislature and the Confederation Congress. A principal proponent of the Constitutional Convention, he was also the author of the Virginia Plan, a faithful Convention attendee, a dedicated notetaker, and one of the Convention’s most active speakers. He also authored 29 of the 85 (34%) the ‘Federalist Papers’ in defense of the new Constitution.
He served as a member of Virginia Delegation to the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787. He was a Representative for Virginia in the First Federal Congress and a leading figure in the creation of the U.S. Bill of Rights in1789. He later served as the United States Secretary of State (1801–1809) and the fourth President of the United States (1809–1817).
Thomas Tudor Tucker
Born June 25, 1745 – Died May 2, 1828
Thomas Tudor Tucker (Delegate of South Carolina)
Longest-serving Treasurer of the United States and slaveholder. Physician, member both in the Continental Congress and the U.S. House. Bermuda-born and settled in South Carolina, Tucker served in the South Carolina House of Representatives, the Continental Army (as a surgeon) in the Revolutionary War.
South Carolina sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress in 1774. With concern over the federal government having too much authority over states, Tucker opposed the ratification of the Constitution in 1787.
He served in the House of Representatives in the first two Congresses, where he served as a member of South Carolina Delegation to write the United States Bill of Rights 1789.
Thomas Jefferson later appointed him as Treasurer of the United States, and he continues to be the longest-serving Treasurer in United States history.
Born 1734 – Died October 15, 1808
Peter Silvester (Delegate of New York)
Member of the U.S. Senate, lawyer, and mentor to Martin Van Buren (8th U.S. President).
During the American Revolutionary War, he held a variety of political positions in New York, such as member of the First and Second Provincial Congresses.
After the war, he was appointed judge of the court of common pleas of Columbia County, New York, and served as the regent of the University of the State of New York. He would later go on to serve in the New York State Legislature and the New York State Senate.
He served as a Representative of New York to the first and second U.S. Congresses, where he served as a member of New York Delegation to write United States Bill of Rights 1789.
April 19, 1721 – July 23, 1793
Roger Sherman (Delegate of Connecticut)
A former cordwainer (leather shoemaker), land speculator and surveyor, Sherman took up the law in 1754 at the age of 33.
He was a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives, justice of the peace, member of the Governor’s Council of the Connecticut General Assembly, and Justice of the Superior Court of Connecticut.
He served the Connecticut Delegation to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787.
After the Constitutional Convention he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate, where he served as a member of Connecticut Delegation to write the United States Bill of Rights 1789.
Born July 22, 1730 – Died May 7, 1796
Daniel Carroll (Delegate of Maryland)
Plantation owner, slaveholder, and land speculator.
Elected to the Executive Council of Maryland at the start of the Revolution, he later became a state senator and a delegate to the Confederation Congress.
He was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and was one of three commissioners appointed to survey the new District of Columbia.
He served as as a delegate of Maryland to the U.S. Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the United States Bill of Rights of 1789.
Born April 19, 1736 – Died October 16, 1800
Benjamin Huntington (Delegate of Connecticut)
Lawyer and jurist, Huntingdon served as a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives and served as speaker of the Connecticut House.
Huntington served as a delegate to the Second Continental Congress and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives during the First United States Congress.
He served as a member of Connecticut Delegation to write the United States Bill of Rights in 1789.
He went on to become the first major Norwich, Connecticut and was later appointed a judge of the superior court of Connecticut.
Born July 17, 1744 – Died November 23, 1814
Elbridge Gerry (Delegate of Massachusetts)
Governor of Massachusetts, signer of the Declaration of Independence, Congressman, and delegate to the Continental Congress.
He attended the Constitutional Convention. During his assignment as Governor of Massachusetts, he helped to enact an electoral law that came to be known as the “Gerrymander Bill.” Massachusetts was subdivided into new senatorial districts in such a way as to consolidate the Federalist vote into a few districts, thus giving Gerry’s Democratic-Republicans an undue advantage. The shape of one electoral district on the map resembled a salamander, and one wit promptly dubbed it a “Gerrymander.”
While serving as a U.S. Senator, he introduced the motion in Congress to name Washington D.C. the site of the nation’s capital.
He served as a member of Massachusetts Delegation to United States Constitutional Convention in 1787 and to United States Bill of Rights 1789.
Framers of U.S. Constitution & U.S. Bill of Rights
Question: How many of the Framers of the original U.S. Constitution (1787) were also Framers of the amendments that led to creation of the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789)? Remember, the Framers of the U.S. Constitution chose not to include a Bill of Rights in the original. Some States refused to ratify this Constitution without a Bill of Rights, leading the First Congress to propose those amendments.
Answer: A total of 55 delegates attended the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Of those 55 delegates, 19 were then elected to the First Federal Congress where they drafted and passed a Bill of Rights for the States to ratify.
Elected Delegates Drafting the U.S. Bill of Rights
Question:There are seven Framers featured in this lesson. In total, how many of members of the House and Senate helped draft the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789)?
Answer: In total, there were 92 elected Framers of the House and Senate that helped write and revise the U.S. Bill of Rights. The Framers featured in this lesson represent 7% of the total elected members to the First Federal Congress.
Framers of the U.S. Bill of Rights & Slaveowners
Question:The Bill of Rights articulates our fundamental freedoms but those freedoms were not extended to everyone at the time. How many of the Framers of the U.S. Bill of Rights (1789) featured in this lesson were also slave owners?
Answer: Three of the seven Framers of the U.S. Bill of Rights featured here were also slaveowners: Daniel Carroll (Maryland), James Madison (Virginia), and Thomas Tudor Tucker (South Carolina).