Convention of the States: Scholars Ignore History

By:  Joe Wolverton, II, J.D.
01/30/2014
       
Convention of the States: Scholars Ignore History

In its literature, the Convention of the States organization misstates key points in the history of the adoption of our current Constitution.

For as much as the “Convention of the States” (COS) supporters like to talk about constitutional articles with Roman numerals, there’s one they refuse to mention: Article XIII.

In 1787, the document known as the Articles of Confederation was the constitution of the United States. Its Article XIII mandated that regarding any changes to the Articles: “Nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.”

When the constitutional convention met in Philadelphia in May 1787, that legally binding and constitutional provision was ignored. From the moment Edmund Randolph stood and proposed what was known as the “Virginia Plan,” the Constitutional Convention of 1787 became a “runaway convention.”

There’s no debating that fact. There was a provision of the constitution prohibiting any changes to the Articles without unanimity. That provision was not only disregarded, but was replaced, eventually, by Article VII of the Constitution created at the convention.

Article VII of our current Constitution reads:

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

That’s quite a bit different. With the approval of that new provision, the unanimity rule and the constitution were replaced.

Despite constant reassurances by the pro-Article V convention group, there is nothing that could prevent a “convention of the states” from going down that same road. 

Were we lucky (blessed) by the results of the runaway convention of 1787? Yes, undoubtedly. Would we be so lucky again? Not likely. As I’ve indicated in a previous article on the subject, there are scores of socialist organizations slavering at the thought of getting their hands on the Constitution and making it over into something we wouldn’t recognize. These groups have adopted Article V as the means to that end: an Article V convention of the states.

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