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Constitutional Convention

Constitutional Convention

Edmund Randolph in Constitutional Convention

Edmund Randolph (1753-1813) was a Virginia lawyer who served in the Continental army as aide-de-camp to George Washington. He was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1776, state attorney general, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and governor of Virginia. As a Virginia delegate to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Randolph presented the Virginia Plan, which favored the large states by proposing proportional representation in both houses of Congress. Although his own plan was very similar to it, he initially opposed the final draft of the Constitution. Randolph then changed course and subsequently urged the adoption of the Constitution in the Virginia ratifying convention. He later served as the first Attorney General of the United States.

As a member of the Committee on Detail, Randolph helped to secure the omission of the word 'slavery' from the Constitution, and would have abolished the institution entirely if he could. Randolph did not think that the Constitution provided sufficient protection for individual liberties and the rights of states. Still, he wielded his considerable influence to help assure Virginia's ratification, feeling that the Union must be preserved even if on imperfect grounds, and that amendments would prove more feasible to adopt once Virginia was a part of the new government.

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