Patrick Henry: Fight against the Constitution

515 Words3 Pages
Patrick Henry: Fight against the Constitution

Although Henry refused to serve on the Constitutional Convention, Madison needed Henry's persuasive ways. Henry had a way to make people agree with his ideas. Even though Henry didn't serve on the Constitutional Convention, he was still present to put in his word. As soon as the meetings opened, Henry began to argue against the Constitution. This argument went on for three weeks. Henry was aware that the new government had to be strong, but felt that the Constitution made the central government too powerful. He thought that the power should lay in the hands of the states. "What right had they [the group that wrote the Constitution] to say 'We the people,' instead We, the States?" he demanded.

Not only was Henry in fear of the central government gaining power, but was also worried about protecting the South. He felt that the fast growing North would have more impute into how the government was to be ran. Henry feared that the South would be out voted in Congress. Patrick Henry was quoted before by saying, "I am not a Virginian. I am American." Henry meant that all the states, North or South, should get equal say in what happens in the government. After all it is the same country and will effect both sides.

Also, Henry refused to support the Constitution because it was lacking a bill of rights. He called it, "the most fatal plan that could possibly be conceived to enslave a free people." In other words he thought that without a bill of rights, we (the people) would be enslaving ourselves. Henry thought that the Constitution didn't protect the basic freedom of the people. Henry believed that people wouldn't be safe from a powerful government without the bill of rights.

The Constitution took away the power from the states, ignored the South, and didn't protect the people it represented. To Patrick Henry, these were big mistakes and couldn't put his support behind them. When the power is taken away from the states, it makes the federal government very strong. He knew that there had to be a strong central government, but felt that the Constitution went too far. Henry wanted to protect the South. After all, at that time the South was more than half the country. If the country at that time was compared to a human body, the South was the heart of the country.

More about Patrick Henry: Fight against the Constitution

Open Document