The Constitutional Convention or what you need to know to play Founding Fathers
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Recommend
145 
 Thumb up
5.59
 tip
 Hide
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. -- US Constitution


"There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them. ... I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution. ... It therefore astonishes me, Sir, to find this system approaching so near to perfection as it does; and I think it will astonish our enemies..." -- Ben Franklin commenting on the results of the Constitutional Convention.


One of the more anticipated games of this year is Founding Fathers. Designed by Christian Leonhard and Jason Matthews for Jolly Roger Games it is set to come out in the next several months.

As an avid history buff I always enjoy a good historical simulation. Unfortunately a few months back I realized that this was an important historical event that I didn't know as much about as I would like. As such I decided to do a bit of reading on the subject to help my enjoyment of the game when it is released. To this end I picked up a couple of books, two of which I especially recommend if like myself you want to brush up on your history of the convention and the politics of the time. The two books are Miracle At Philadelphia by Catherine Bowen and Decision in Philadelphia by Christopher Collier.

For those who might want to learn a bit more as well but aren't interested in chewing through 2 or 3 books on the topic I thought a little geeklist might be in order with some important and basic historical facts about the convention that might help in their enjoyment of the game. Keep in mind that I am hardly an expert on the convention so forgive any factual errors I might make here and feel free to correct me..I know you folks will.

The debate on the constitution was contentious with some of the men leaving the convention before it was finished and three who remained refusing to sign it at all.

The Constitution itself was hardly welcomed with open arms and in fact several convention delegates fought it's ratification for a variety of reasons. It was actually rejected by Rhode Island (more on Rhode Island later) who only ratified it later by a 32-30 vote. Delaware was the first to ratify the document voting 30-0 in favor. However it barely made passage in many important states with Massachusetts 187-168, New York 30-27 and Virginia 89-79 all enduring strong opposition.

It is my hope that after playing Founding Fathers and/or reading this geeklist that if you come away with only one thing (besides the experience of playing a good game) it is with the understanding that what happened in Philadelphia was something unique up to that point in human history. The idea of people governing themselves was something unheard of outside of the Greek democracies 2,000 years earlier. There were no democracies in 1787. Every nation on the planet at the time was governed by a Monarchy of some form. While the men who gathered at Philadelphia drew some of their ideas from Britain and the Greeks, in a large part they were in unchartered territory. Nothing can be taken for granted in terms of the final product that came from their meetings. Also the men themselves did not have any official powers. While the result of their work was something that in time would be ground breaking to say the least, they went there simply as delegates from their states with no power aside from simply the ability to recommend.

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: history [+] [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Founding Fathers [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1014]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
55 men took part in the convention including George Washington, George Mason, Ben Franklin, James Madison and Alexander Hamilton. Notable in their absence were names such as Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry. During the summer of the convention Jefferson was the Minister to France and Adams Minister to England and as such both were in Europe. Patrick Henry didn't attend because he "smelled a rat" fearing that a monarchy was going to be formed at the convention. Samual Adams and John Hancock did not attend due to poor health.

Not all 55 men were together all at the same time. The convention ran from May 25th to September 17th 1787. Some delegates didn't show up for weeks while others left early.

Thomas Jefferson (a man who had strong feelings against a strong central government) actually once referred to the convention delegates as "demi-gods" in a tongue and cheek sort of way.

The term Founding Fathers is sort of an international phrase. Many nations across the globe have men they consider founding fathers and men like Lech Walesa are often referred to as the "Father of the Country" just as George Washington is in the US.


10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: We the People [Average Rating:7.32 Overall Rank:1047]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
It is an incorrect assumption to assume (as I have seen some do) that the term Founding Fathers refers to men who signed both the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence or just one or the other. If this were true then either Jefferson or Washington weren't a founding father as Washington didn't sign the Declaration of Independence and Jefferson the Constitution. In fact only 6 men signed both. Robert Morris, Ben Franklin, George Clymer, James Wilson, George Read and Roger Sherman. The term itself is an international one with many nations having men they consider their founding fathers.

For the most part the term in America today tends to be used to denote anyone highly involved in the American Revolution and the creation of the nation in the immediate years following it.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Monopoly: Rhode Island [Average Rating:4.60 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Of the 13 colonies Rhode Island sent no delegates. The story of why they did not attend depends on who tells it. What is true is that Rhode Island feared a strong central government. Why is the debatable question. Rhode Island had a strong independent streak and was often called Rogue Island by some. They feared things like a national currency and being a small state being dominated in a stronger central government by larger states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia. Rhode Island was also rather corrupt and the fear was a strong central government would mean an end to the gravy train for those in political power. The corruption was so rampant and the state so small that there were some who thought Rhode Island should simply be absorbed into Massachusetts and Connecticut. In short Rhode Island was the problem child who had trouble playing with others.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Board Game: Washington's War [Average Rating:7.66 Overall Rank:428]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
George Washington was the 500 pound gorilla of the convention. Greatly respected and stoic. At one point during the convention his friend Gouverneur Morris came up from behind and gave Washington a hardy and friendly slap on the back (it seems he did it on a dare). The stare he got from Washington was well remembered by those who were there and Morris never did it again.

Washington was elected President of the convention and was generally believed to be a shoe in as President under whatever central government was formed. This put him in an awkward position. Here he was having great influence at the convention that would ultimately provide him with the powers he would hold as chief executive. To his credit Washington for the most part stayed very neutral on many important matters in this area.
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Twelve Men's Morris [Average Rating:5.95 Overall Rank:11666]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
One can't mention George Washington at the convention without mentioning his close friend Robert Morris. Robert Morris is important for two reasons. First he was the financier of the revolution and for a large part the architect of the country's financial system. Second he's my great, great, great, great, great grandfather. So I have a partial favoritism towards the man.

It was Robert Morris who nominated Washington to be President of the convention and it was at his home that Washington stayed during the summer of the convention. Although Morris only spoke several times officially at the convention itself when it came to financial matters he was listened to.

In the end Washington wanted Morris as the first Secretary of the Treasury but Morris declined. at the time he was starting to face financial difficulties which would eventually lead to his spending several years in debtors prison during Washington's term as President. Instead he recommended Alexander Hamilton.

It is hard to determine how closely Morris and Washington worked together at the convention. I have read some who say in spite of the fact they were from seperate states that they acted like their own delegation. Others claim that they actually didn't discuss the convention much outside of the hall. I myself find it hard to believe that with the two men being as close as they were that they didn't work together to some degree.
16 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Board Game: Three Men's Morris [Average Rating:4.44 Overall Rank:14499]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There was another man named Morris at the convention who is very much deserving mention. That man is Gouverneur Morris. Gouverneur Morris spoke 173 times at the convention which was more than anyone else. Morris trumpeted the idea of freedom of religion at the convention and denounced slavery. He served on the committee that wrote the final draft of the Constitution and it is from his pen that comes the famous preamble.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
7. Board Game: Franklin [Average Rating:1.50 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Only one name stands as tall as George Washington's at the convention and that would be Ben Franklin. Franklin by time the convention was held was very elderly. He actually traveled from his home in Philadelphia to the convention in a sedan chair. With his voice weak several times he actually wrote out what he wanted to say and had someone else read it to the convention. Still he held a strong sway. Wouldn't you have loved to have been able to sit and listen into Washington and Franklin talk at the convention.

One nice touch I noticed for Founding Fathers is you can see Franklin's sedan chair sitting outside Independence Hall on the game board. It's at the bottom next to the scoring track.
18 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game: Masons [Average Rating:6.54 Overall Rank:1474]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Another man worthy of mention but often forgotten is George Mason. A Virginian and friend of Washington's he was a rich land holder who owned over 100 slaves in Virgina that he inherited. In contrast to that background George Mason was an avid abolitionist who spoke at the convention about the need to abolish slavery. In the end he refused to sign the Constitution which led to a falling out with Washington. He was a delegate at Virginia's convention for ratification where he spoke out against it as it lacked "a declaration of rights". Ratification still passed but only just as Mason led a strong block who demanded that more civil liberties be included. Mason after the convention produced his own declaration of rights and as a result of pressure from himself and others a Bill of Rights was added to the constitution in 1791.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: The Virginian Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Prior to the convention the Virginia delegation came up with a plan to present. Called the Virginia Plan. The plan was in large part from the ideas of James Madison. The plan resembles somewhat the final product of the convention with major differences. First the house would be elected by the people. The Senate however was to be elected by the house of representatives and both houses would be based proportionally on the size of the state. Great if you happen to be Virginia which was one of the largest states. This may have been the rat Henry was smelling.
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
10. Board Game: Plan.It [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
As soon as the Virginia plan was proposed Charles Pinckney of South Carolina had his own plan. His plan however is nothing close to the final product. His planned included a legislator with 1 representative for every 1,000 people (imagine that today!). Also Senators wouldn't represent states but four different regions. Lastly the President would be elected by the Congress and not by popular election. Pinckney's plan died a quick death.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
11. Board Game: JerseyOpoly [Average Rating:2.00 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The small states as you can imagine didn't like the Virginia plan and came out with one of their own which is known as the New Jersey Plan. This plan was to attempt to make sure in some form the smaller states had equal representation. One main difference from the final constitution was that it made for multiple executive offices meaning there would have been no single President but multiple men serving in different offices. One can only imagine the gridlock that would produce today.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
12. Board Game: Hamilton On Board [Average Rating:2.50 Unranked]
Brian Morris
United States
Raytown
Missouri
flag msg tools
2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana, 24th Michigan
badge
24th Michigan Monument Gettysburg Pa
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Perhaps the most radical plan by our standards of today was that produced by Alexander Hamilton and yet it had elements that would be included in the final version.

This plan provided for a house of representatives similar to the final constitution. This legislator would be elected, serve for three years and would appoint all state Governors although they would be mostly figureheads as the states would lose all sovereignty.

The Senate would also be elected by popular vote but once elected they would be elected for life. Hamilton's plan did however include the idea that this branch would be 2 Senators from each state. Something that did survive to the final constitution as we know.

The Chief Executive position also would be a lifetime position with absolute veto power over the legislative branch. In effect the President would be a monarch.

Hamilton's plan was largely rejected because it to closely resembled that of Britain's but many thought it a well thought out idea.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.