Charles Pinckney said this was it. The point of no return. The new nation was hanging by a thread. The next vote would decide it all. Or doom them all.

But wait, wasn’t Charles Pinckney the bad guy? Isn’t he the guy who claimed to have his own proposal, sent a quickly made-up one to Adams decades later to ensure his place in the history books? Isn’t he the guy who fought so hard for slavery?

History isn’t a story. Real-life people are rarely “the bad guy.”

Pinckney is largely credited with something he probably never did. The irony is he’s largely uncredited for giving one of the most important speeches of the convention. Literally the last moments of the last day.

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There are now 4 comments... what are your thoughts?
  1. Gregory T. Bogosian says

    The man who ensured that the slave states would outnumber the free states in Congress and prevent slavery from ending until the civil war was the one who said the final words. Fitting.

  2. UsaSatsui says

    I think it’s very interesting how people today view the “Founding Fathers” as a collection of saints who brought down the words of the Constitution from on high, could do no wrong, and knew exactly what they were doing when they handed down a “perfect” document.

    The key thing that comes across here is desperation. They knew it wasn’t a perfect solution, that there were some disagreeable things for all sides, and there were unresolved issues that would have to be worked out later. But they also believed that the current system was unworkable, this was a better one, and if it wasn’t implemented, they probably wouldn’t get another chance, so they came up with something. And it worked far better than any of them could have imagined, I bet.

    It’s hard to think of the Constitution as the world’s longest-lasting band-aid, but that seems to be what it’s become.

  3. I don’t think desperation was the key theme; I think compromise was the key. They were willing to compromise their personal principles for the common good. And, compromise is the key factor that is missing in today’s politics. Neither side will give an inch.
    “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” — George S. Patton

    Can you imagine our “leaders” today coming up with such a great compromise?

    • Parties, which didn’t exist yet, can facilitate horse trading, but they can also motivate representatives to toe the line rather than acknowledge a common good. And of course, not everyone agrees about what is good for the commons.

      I blame the non-voters. When the moderates keep quiet, only the fanatics are heard, and you can’t expect fanatics to compromise.

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