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Questions & Answers Pertaining to the Constitution

by Sol Bloom

Q. How were deputies to the Constitutional Convention chosen?
A. They were appointed by the legislatures of the different States.

Q. Were there any restrictions as to the number of deputies a State might send?
A. No.

Q. Which State did not send deputies to the Constitutional Convention?
A. Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

Q. Were the other twelve States represented throughout the Constitutional Convention?
A. No. Two of the deputies from New York left on July 10, 1787, and after that Hamilton, the third deputy, when he was in attendance did not attempt to cast the vote of his State. The New Hampshire deputies did not arrive until July 23, 1787; so that there never was a vote of more than eleven States.

Q. Where and when did the deputies to the Constitutional Convention assemble?
A. In Philadelphia, in the State House where the Declaration of Independence was signed. The meeting was called for May 14, 1787, but a quorum was not present until May 25.

Q. About how large was the population of Philadelphia?
A. The census of 1790 gave it 28,000; including its suburbs, about 42,000.

Q. What was the average age of the deputies to the Constitutional Convention?
A. About 44.

Q. Who were the oldest and youngest members of the Constitutional Convention?
A. Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania, then 81; and Jonathan Dayton, of New Jersey, 26.

Q. How many lawyers were members of the Constitutional Convention?
A. There were probably 34, out of 55, who had at least made a study of the law.

Q. From what classes of society were the members of the Constitutional Convention drawn?
A. In addition to the lawyers, there were soldiers, planters, educators, ministers, physicians, financiers, and merchants.

Q. How many members of the Constitutional Convention had been members of the Continental Congress?
A. Forty, and two others were later members.

Q. Were there any members of the Constitutional Convention who never attended any of its meetings?
A. There were nineteen who were never present. Some of these declined, others merely neglected the duty.

Q. Were the members of the Constitutional Convention called "delegates" or "deputies," and is there any distinction between the terms?
A. Some of the States called their representatives "delegates"; some, "deputies"; and some, "commissioners," the terms being often mixed. In the Convention itself they were always referred to as "deputies." Washington, for example, signed his name as "deputy from Virginia." The point is simply that whatever they called themselves, they were representatives of their States. The general practice of historians is to describe them as "delegates."

Q. Who was called the "Sage of the Constitutional Convention"?
A. Benjamin Franklin, of Pennsylvania.

Q. Who was called the "Father of the Constitution"?
A. James Madison, of Virginia, because in point of erudition and actual contributions to the formation of the Constitution he was preeminent.

Q. Was Thomas Jefferson a member of the Constitutional Convention?
A. No. Jefferson was American Minister to France at the time of the Constitutional Convention.

Q. What did Thomas Jefferson have to do with framing the Constitution?
A. Although absent from the Constitutional Convention and during the period of ratification, Jefferson rendered no inconsiderable service to the cause of Constitutional Government, for it was partly through his insistence that the Bill of Rights, consisting of the first ten amendments, was adopted.

Q. Who presided over the Constitutional Convention?
A. George Washington, chosen unanimously.

Q. How long did it take to frame the Constitution?
A. It was drafted in fewer than one hundred working days.

Q. How much was paid for the journal kept by Madison during the Constitutional Convention?
A. President Jackson secured from Congress in 1837 an appropriation of $30,000…