Philadelphia Convention

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Between May 25 and September 17, 1787, thirty or so men gathered in Philadelphia to draft a body of laws that would guide the American nation. John Rutledge, an admirer of the Iroquois nation, recommended to the committee that it review the English translation of the treaty of 1520 that had created the Iroquois Confederacy. It began: "We, the people, to form a union..."

Meanwhile, Elbridge Gerry (who in 1812 would have a word coined for him: gerrymander) made a noteworthy remark, by which he compared a standing army to an erect penis -- "an excellent assurance of domestic tranquility, but a dangerous temptation to foreign adventure."


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