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When I raised my hand and swore my oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, there was something that I did not do. and I assure you that if I am ever elected to public office or appointed to a public trust, I will do the same thing I didn’t do before again.

Why Not?

Because that is what “no religious tests” means.

Back in 1960, the State of Maryland, which has a long history of religious tolerance, found itself the defendant in a lawsuit against its requirement that a public officer confesses a belief in G-d and eternal judgment. From its founding in 1634, Maryland had always prided itself on tolerating religious beliefs across the spectrum.

The problem is, that tolerating religious beliefs didn’t leave much room for those who weren’t of the same or at least similar Christian beliefs…

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Constitution Thursday – Maryland, My Maryland

Luther Martin - Attorney General of Maryland

Luther Martin – Attorney General of Maryland

Over the course of the Convention, Luther Martin (Maryland) had been a petulant opponent of the plan and an irritant to pretty much everybody there – even those who agreed with him. Now that his State, Maryland, is taking up ratification, he will continue to adamantly and vociferously oppose the Constitution. He is the very embodiment of the Anti-Federalists.

Pretty much nobody will listen to his ranting, and Maryland will easily vote to ratify.

It’s what happens after that is so fascinating to me. Because of our own historical myopia, we tend to only see the good and heroic sides of the Framers and Founders. We don’t relate to them as people just like us, facing difficulties and crises. Consequently we don’t learn from their example of how to deal with and even overcome those difficulties.

The rest of Luther Martins’ life will be spent in various pursuits as a lawyer – including defending Aaron Burr against charges of treason – and in the bottle. But by 1807, he will be called, “The Federalist Bulldog,” by no less than Thomas Jefferson. What drives a man who is virulently anti-Federalist to change his mind? Was it the ultimate “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em?” Or did Luther Martin discover something about human nature in his later years?

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Constitution Thursday – 10 to 4

James McHenry of Maryland

James McHenry of Maryland

As the Delegates return from their vacation, so does the summer heat. Sitting down to work, they begin to read and digest the draft that Rutledge of South Carolina has put together while they were gone.

There are many points of contention, but also many points of agreement.

One agreement is that they are moving too slowly, and that the nation is growing impatient.

Despite the progress, there remains much to be done. James Madison feels that the work could take many more months. Washington and most of the other delegates know that they do not have that much time.

The first solution offered is to work longer days.

From 10am until 4pm with no changes to the schedule now allowed.

With the new plan in place, they take up the qualification for electors.

Should property ownership be considered? The draft of the Constitution says that it should not be considered, but some, like Gouverneur Morris, vehemently disagree.

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