Letter of James Madison to George Washington, October 18, 1787
James Madison was not entirely satisfied with the Constitution that the Convention of 1787 submitted to Congress and that Congress, in turn, submitted to the states for ratification, but he agreed with George Washington that it was essential for the survival of the new nation for the Constitution to be ratified. After receiving from Washington a copy of George Mason's objections to the proposed Constitution, Madison wrote Washington a long critique of Mason's objections, pointing out several instances in which he believed that Mason's list contradicted his known views and his votes during the convention. Madison also pointed out that the intemperate tone that Mason had begun to adopt in his criticisms of the Constitution was alarming. That, together with other strong criticisms that had begun to appear in some newspapers, led Madison to fear that the task of securing ratification of the Constitution would be difficult, especially if Patrick Henry came out in opposition, which he had not yet done when Madison wrote his letter to Washington.
1. Where was James Madison when he wrote to George Washington?
2. What is the convention that Madison mentions in his first sentence?
1. Read Mason's Objections to the proposed United States Constitution. Do you agree with James Madison's critique of Mason's points? Why or why not?
2. Write your own critique of three of Mason's Objections.