Gunning Bedford Jr - Standing Up for the Little States
Gunning Bedford at the Constitutional Convention
Gunning Bedford was sent by Delaware to be a representative at the Constitutional Convention.
Bedford was under the impression they would just be making some changes to the Articles of Confederation.
When the proposal was made to write a new Constitution, he was outraged.
Most of the smaller states were fearful of a federal government. They were concerned about being absorbed by the larger states.
Bedford was the most outspoken of these critics.
Gunning and the other small state men were so aggressive against the 'Virginia Plan' they nearly dissolved the Convention.
Gunning was asked to sit on the committee which drafted the Connecticut Compromise. This deliberation, also known as the Great Compromise, gave the United States proportional representation in the House and equal representation in the Senate. No one received everything they wanted, but no one was forced to give up on every demand.
When Gunning Bedford agreed to this compromise, the Convention was saved.
Although a few Founders refused to accept the new government, Bedford's signature is on the U.S. Constitution.
After the Convention, he worked towards ratification. This demonstrated a key characteristic of Bedford that we rarely see in politicians today: the ability to change his mind.
When his fellow Founders debated logical reasons to create a federal government, he allowed the better argument to win the day. He then went on to fight for the very thing he once opposed.
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