In their letter to Congress, among other things, the members of the Philadelphia (Constitutional) Convention of 1787 stated that, “the preceding Constitution be laid before the united States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the Recommendation of its Legislature, for their Assent and Ratification”.
My question has to do with the underlined phrase (“under the Recommendation of its Legislature”). In particular, what does the phrase mean?
Are the legislatures of each state supposed to prepare a slate of potential delegates for its state’s delegates convention, with the people then choosing the final delegates from that slate? Or are the state legislatures simply to confirm their state’s final slate of delegates as chosen by their people? Or, perhaps, something else?
A bump to get the attention of all the Dope’s constitutional scholars!
Taking a quick glance at the chapter “The Constitution Goes Before the Country” in Catherine Drinker Bowen’s classic Miracle at Philadelphia, I see that eight days after receiving the Constitution “Congress passed a recommendation that the states call conventions for ratification.”
In practice that meant that the current legislators named delegates to debate it. Pennsylvania met for five weeks and ratified it 46 to 23. Connecticut, though smaller, had a larger convention approving it by 128-42. And etc. She doesn’t go into the states one by one, and I don’t have a full accounting in other books I checked, but it appears likely that every state had a convention named by their legislators. The people were not directly involved anywhere, although debate raged throughout the newspapers and pamphlets and every other medium of communication.
Indeed. I am now reading Ratification by Pauline Maier (and to think it all started with your recommendation!). Maybe my question is answered later in the book - I am less than a hundred pages into it.