By Douglass Adair, John Allphin Moore, John Edwin Murphy
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Additional resources for A grand experiment: the constitution at 200 : essays from the Douglass Adair Symposia, Volume 1986
In order for government to do good things, he says, political parties were and are inevitable and necessarythe twin engines of our large-scale democracy. DANIEL MAZMANIAN is in basic agreement with Ranney's description of the history and necessity of political parties, but he is not sanguine about their future. He believes that the last two decades have seen a rapid and profound diminution of the traditional role and function of parties. The cause, he contends, has been a reemergence of the worst-case scenario described by Madison in The Federalist No.
By April 1777, when state sovereignty triumphed, only seventeen of the forty-eight congressmen who had been members of the Committee of the Whole that adopted the Dickinson draft remained in Congress. Most of the new congressmen opposed centralized government. " That motion carried, sapping the powers of the national government. In the autumn of 1777 a Congress dominated by state-sovereignty advocates completed the plan of confederation. Nationalists, who favored proportionate representation in Congress with every delegate entitled to vote, lost badly to those who favored voting by states with each state having one vote.
However, some delegates were alarmed, not because of an excessive centralization of powers in the national government but because of the advantages given to the largest states at the expense of the others. Three statesVirginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvaniahad 45 percent of the white population in the country. Under the proposed scheme of proportionate representation, the small states feared that the large ones would dominate the others by controlling the national government. The Paterson, or New Jersey, Plan was a small-states plato not a states'-rights one; it, too, had a strong nationalist orientation.