THE LEGACY OF THE SOUTH ON SECESSION
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
An address given before the S.D. Lee Institute,
of the Sons of Confederate Veterans,
in Knoxville, Tennessee, on March 4, 2017.
John Remington Graham, B.A., LL.B.,
of the Minnesota Bar
On the 8th of August, 1787, the Philadelphia Convention considered how representatives in Congress should be distributed among the several States It had been suggested by the committee on detail that there should be one representative for every forty thousand inhabitants. As we all know, this ratio was changed by the final draft of the Constitution eventually proposed and adopted. As soon as the propostion of one for forty thousand came to the floor of the convention, James Madison objected that, as the country grew in population, the suggested ratio would require too many representatives, and would before long become obsolete. Then rose Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts, a practical man of business who served as president of Congress under the old Confederation, and was second only to George Washington as a presiding officer of the Philadelphia Convention, for he had been chairman of the committe of the whole for several weeks in May and June. He commented that the Union then being built would not last so long as to permit any rule they might devise for representatives in Congress to become obsolete. He asked the rhetorical question, "Can it be supposed that this vast country, including the Western territory, will, one hunded fifty years hence, remain one nation?"1 Nobody in the convention believed that the United States Constitution would last more than one hundred fifty years. Everybody present assumed that the Union would sooner become too large (continued....)