Author Archives: Robert

Delegates of the Constitutional Convention

So far, I have learned more by making the map then unfortunately, the map itself shows. To a certain respect, it was like having a theory and watching the experiment prove it wrong. I had expected to find “pockets” of Anti-Federalism represented by the various delegates and instead, the map shows them pretty well dispersed among the colonies. I also expected to find a more even distribution of Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist. There are still a significant number of delegates marked “unknown” in my map, simply because they did not appear in easy list anywhere, or I did not find other verbiage to give a strong indication of their alignment and/or I just did not get to them yet (there are some I still need to research more).

The Teaching American[footnote]”Teaching American”, [/footnote] web site proved a very useful site to make my initial list. They had a list of all the delegates and a list of key figures in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist camps. There was not a one to one match up between the two lists though, so I then went to Wikipedia. For this pass, I used two things to determine the delegate’s alignment. The first was I looked to see if they were a member of the Federalist or the Democratic-Republican parties. Again, there was not a complete match up here and several delegates changed their party affiliation over the years, so at this point, there is some educated guess involved in how I mapped them out. The second thing I looked for was any verbiage that would indicate their alignment such as whether or not the were proponents of a strong federal government (I considered that a give away, though one could imagine edge cases where that would not be true) or if they mentioned a strong association with one of the major players in each camp.

The other thing I looked for was where each candidate lived. I wanted their homes rather than just the states the represented for the purpose of plotting on the map. I did not have a real strong reason for this initially, I just thought it would be interesting and easy to obtain data. I did envision the possibility of zooming in on a state and getting an indication of alignment within the state, but was not sure there would be enough data points to support that. What I did not expect was to have so much trouble finding that information! I guess I envisioned every delegate having their own Mount Vernon or Gunstun Hall. Not only was that not true, it seems many of the delegates were far more mobile than I had originally thought. For some, it seems the Revolutionary War, still very recent past at that point had displaced some but in other cases they just plain seemed to move around, much like people of today. Whether for reasons of marriage, business, speculation or other opportunity, this class of people was able to, and in fact did, relocate. Where I did not have some obvious text indicating their location at the time, I looked (mostly on Wikipedia) for text such as “returned to their practice in…” and the like. Also, if the delegate both born and died in the same location, I used that as their home at the time of the convention.

In all, for the purposes of the map, the above guesses all seemed reasonable. Ideally, I would like to have much better confirmation on my data points. I am quite sure the information exists but I would likely have to resort to scanning at least seventy three different biographies to get the information. It is just that no one has consolidated this data in the way I want it yet, which honestly, did surprise me just a little. As for the map itself, its greatest use seemed to be in what I learned while doing it and the other resources I stumbled upon while trying to do it. I am not sure the map will be useful in the end unless used to show that while there might be local pockets of Federalist or Anti-Federalist sentiment, from a national perspective, the sentiments for both sides were fairly well distributed.


“Teaching American” Accessed December 3, 2016.

Federalist – Antifederalist Debates – Biographies”,

The Constitutional Convention – Individual Biographies of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention”,

Public Domain quiz

  • Image 1 – Space image. Public domain. If image is from a government sponsored imagery – NASA
  • Image 2 – Kennedy Funeral Picture Not Public domain. Image by journalist working for a paper. after 1923 (Life Magazine)
  • Image 3 – Susan B Anthony Trial Transcript – Public Domain. Original document is pre-1923 and publisher is out of business.
  • Image 4 – Pea picker, Public domain image by the photographer who took it as part of a government project.
  • Image 5 – Nixon and Elvis – Maybe. Depends on if it was a Government publicity photo or if it was taken by a reporter or Presley production.
  • Image 6 – Martin Luther King, Jr. “I have a Dream” speech. Probably public domain – Real Answer, His estate has copyrighted his speeches.

Initial Search for Sources

As I ended my previous post [footnote]Robert Kuropkat, “Sensational Trials to Choose From”, September 23, 2016,[/footnote] I had pretty much narrowed my research choices to two; the Constitutional Convention and the impact of Martin Luther over the centuries.  My approach for researching the Constitutional Convention would run similar to researching any trial and would involve researching documents from the time of the event.  For the second however, I would be less interested in the documents of Martin Luther (and others from that precise time) as I would in later discussions about those documents, Martin Luther himself and the resulting Protestant movement and the impact they had on the current day.

The second idea (Impact of Martin Luther over the Centuries) was inspired by two things.  The first being a lack of readily available primary sources at the time of Martin Luther and they likely fact those available would be in German or Latin.  The second reason was the article mentioned in my first post from an 1883 Catholic World [footnote]LUTHER AND THE DIET OF WORMS. (1883, 11). The Catholic World, A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science (1865-1906), 38, 145.[/footnote] magazine.  I found it surprising the Catholic Church, 300 years later would find it needful to still address the writings of Martin Luther, not in an historical sense, but rather in how his writings and efforts still affect the current day.

While I was now fairly certain there were discussions in every century following Luther, I was not sure how much I would find, especially in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth century.  Thus, I was beginning to lean more towards the Constitutional Convention, which should not only have readily available sources, they would be in English.

I began my search with Google and made the obvious start with Wikipedia.  I did not read the article in depth as I mainly wanted to ascertain the availability of primary sources.   I generally hoped there would be some sort of newspapers from the time available, but was not sure what else.  The Wikipedia article also gave me a quick introduction to the players of the time.  I quickly found several unexpected sources.  The first was “The Virginia Plan.” [footnote]James Madison, et al., “The Virginia Plan” also known as “The Randolph Plan” also known as “The Large State Plan”, May 29, 1787[/footnote]

Prior to the convention, the Virginia delegates drafted an outline of their interests to help focus and guide the upcoming discussions.  It was not a complete plan stated in full, but just an outline.  None the less, it was largely accepted and formed basis of the final document.  As it turns out, there were in fact several plans from other delegates, each generally response to the plans preceding it.  What I did find surprising was there appear to have been no official minutes kept of many of the proceedings and those kept were sparse.  The most complete information on the convention itself has come from “Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787″ by James Madison [footnote]Gordon Lloyd, editor, Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 [of James Madison], September 5, 2013,[/footnote] as well as notes made by Robert Yates. [footnote]”Notes of the Secret Debates of the Federal Convention of 1787, Taken by the Late Hon Robert Yates, Chief Justice of the State of New York, and One of the Delegates from That State to the Said Convention, by Robert Yates,” The Avaolon Project, Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy, Yale Law School, Lillian Goldman School of Law Library, accessed October 08, 2016,[/footnote]

The next big sources, or sets of sources are what later became known as the “Federalist Papers” [footnote]”The Federalist Papers”,, accessed October 8, 2016,[/footnote] and the opposing “Anti-Federalist Papers” which it seems are harder to find and less studied.  The best known compilation of these papers is a seven volume series compiled by Herbert J. Storing.  [footnote]Herbert Storing, Murray Dry, The Complete anti-Federalist, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981)[/footnote]  In short, after the convention, many of the participants, some under pseudonyms, wrote a series of essays on the pros and cons of the proposed constitution.  Think of them as unofficial opinions and dissenting opinions of the participants.

When I started to chase these down, I was eventually lead to the Library of Congress’ web site [footnote]”Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789,” Library of Congress, accessed Octber 8, 2016,[/footnote] where many of these documents and others of the time have been digitized and/or transcribed.  In fact, I may have also found my newspapers in the form of “broadsides” from the time.  In one path of link chasing, I also found what might have newspapers from this time frame also at the University of Wisconsin – Madison History Departments Center for the Study of the American Constitution. [footnote]”American Newspapers during Ratification, 1787-1788,” University of Wisconson – Madison, Center for the Study of the American Constitution, Department of History, accessed October 8, 2016,[/footnote]  The title of the page and links seemed to be exactly what I wanted but many of the links had either essays instead of the promised news clippings and or nothing more than the heading from the newspaper.  However, a few did have transcriptions of actual articles and it is possible there is enough information in the site to chase down the original articles still.

In other link chasing about the various participants, I got some interesting insight into the times including external events and associations and relations between the various participants.  I found it interesting that many of the members were members of many of the same societies including, Freemasons (not actually mentioned in Wikipedia), Society of the Cincinnati and the American Philosophical Society.  What I quickly saw was an interesting state of tension between old and new.  These men were reformers, but they were by and large, educated and brought up in the same society they were rebelling against.  This meant they often did things out of habit that at times made them appear to be nothing more than the new representation of the old world.  This often caused some to reject out of hand, any idea or association that smacked of England and the Monarchy, while others naturally formed themselves around the same ideals and social structures they were used to, presumably either not initially seeing the impact or feeling they need not through out everything, just those parts that were in fact bad.

At this point, having convinced myself I had sufficient material to do research on the Constitutional Convention, I set out to prove to myself I did NOT have enough to do the research I envisioned on Martin Luther.  What I in fact found, rather surprised me.

Straight of, a search on Google lead me to several online magazines such as Catholic World Report which from the last few years with discussions of Martin Luther.  These included titles such as “Hovering Over Rome, the Ghost of Martin Luther” [footnote]Alessandra Nucci, Hovering over Rome: The Ghost of Martin Luther, The Catholic World Report, March 16, 2016, accessed October 08, 2016,[/footnote] and “The Pope, Martin Luther and Our Time.” [footnote]Mark Brumley, Hovering over Rome: The Ghost of Martin Luther, The Catholic World Report, September 25, 2011, accessed October 08, 2016, [/footnote]  I found other articles announcing various accords and agreements between the Catholic and Lutheran churches.  So now I had at least a sampling of articles from the nineteenth and the twenty-first centuries.  I assumed the twentieth century would be easy enough to find and found it in a rather interesting way.  I stumbled onto the Evangelical Catholic Church, but let me get back to that in a moment.

As I searched further, I found the “Book of Concord” [footnote[Jakob Andreae and Martin Chemnitz (compilers), “The Book of Concord,” (Dresden, Germany, 1580)[/footnote] from 1584 and a modern website, [footnote]”The Book of Concord, The Confessions of the Lutheran Church,” accessed 08 October 2016,[/footnote] about forty years after the death of Martin Luther and nearly seventy years after Luther posted his “95 Theses”. [footnote]Martin Luther, “Ninety-five Theses” also known as “Disputation on the Power of Indulgences,” letter to Albert of Brandenburg, the Archbishop of Mainz, October 31, 1517[/footnote] I also found Joseph Lortz, a Roman Catholic Church historian who lived from 1887 – 1975.  It seemed even a cursory search was starting to fill the gaps.  I even found a couple random mentions that composers such as Johann Sebastian Back were influenced by the works of Martin Luther, though I would need to search deeper than the few blog posts I stumbled on.

So to close with, let me jump back to the Evangelical Catholic Church.  This lead me on a tour of Protestant religions, something I had done before, but not with this particular focus.  I had often heard the Lutheran Church being referred to as “Catholic Lite” and I knew the Lutheran Church was part of a movement to build new relations with the Catholic Church.  However, I always assumed the various Protestant religions were by and large formed on their own ideals.  In some cases, there were similarities to Lutheranism and the ideals of Martin Luther but I assumed those were easily attributed to being a response to the same source, during the same time, with the same influences and so would naturally have some common ground.  However, the more I look, it appears many of the other Protestant religions of this time are actually a response to TWO major influences; the long standing traditions of the Roman Catholic Church and how well they believed Martin Luther responded to the many perceived flaws of the Roman Catholic Church.  As such, it seems any discussion about any Protestant religion must inevitably compare itself to BOTH the Catholic teachings AND the writings of Martin Luther.

Sensational Trials to Choose From

I have always liked history, though I never feel I have enough time to devote to something so engaging and time consuming, just for fun. So when I saw a history class in our list of classes meeting our core IT requirements, I jumped on it. Of course I only read the title of the class so thought I was going to learn about the history and development of computers! Still I was not worried because I enjoy history. I will admit a certain disappointment when I learned we would be studying sensational trials instead.  “True crime” ranks as perhaps my third least favorite subject, edging out only politics and current affairs for the bottom spot.

As I reviewed Douglas Linder’s site (“Famous Trials.”  Accessed September 24, 2016. site however I thought I saw my out. Several trials jumped immediately to my attention; Socrates, Martin Luther and Galileo. These crimes were sensational, not because they were gruesome, but because they challenged the status quo. They also had the benefit of my preferred quality in History, they are older. I prefer my history as old as possible. Unfortunately, finding primary sources for famous trials of the Anasazi is even less likely than 16th Century Germany or Ancient Greece.

Another thought I had, though not a trial per se, was Constitutional Convention. It certainly had a sensational impact and involved a great deal of negotiation and legal wrangling. However, most of the initial meetings were actually held in secret and according to some, the attending members spent a great deal of time spying on each other to insure no one was discussing the proceedings outside the meetings. While I might be able to convince my professor to allow me this path of research, the very secrecy of the meetings is likely to remove the most obvious source of primary documents from my ability to find it.

The trial of Martin Luther holds additional appeal to me as I was raised Lutheran.

I knew if this was to become my final research project, I would need primary sources and the fact these trials were several hundred (or thousand) years old, finding such documents could be difficult. I started with the typical Google search and began chasing links. I learned in the time of Martin Luther there would indeed have been a collection of pamphlets written during the time and distributed much like newspapers. I would have to ask if translations of primary sources count as primary sources since the smattering of German I once learned would never be up to the task of translating 16th Century German. I was surprised by my initial research though which seemed to imply there were no actual transcripts of the court proceedings kept. I found one document that claimed to be translated for a document written by Martin Luther himself recounting the trial afterwards.

The most interesting thing I came across though was a 19th Century article in Catholic World magazine discussing “the ultimate failure of Martin Luther” and the declining membership in the Lutheran church (LUTHER AND THE DIET OF WORMS. (1883, 11). The Catholic World, A Monthly Magazine of General Literature and Science (1865-1906), 38, 145.) . This made me think about when my wife and I joined a local Lutheran church. She was raised Catholic and it had not occurred to me she would have been given a different perspective on Martin Luther. In fact, it had not occurred to me she would have a perspective or opinion on Martin Luther at all.

This led me to consider a new approach to these trials. Because these trials challenged the prevailing thinking of the day rather than the emotions, it seems they had the power to keep challenging the current thinking, century after century. This would actually provide primary documents (at least for later years), much like the article in Catholic World magazine and allow perhaps some analysis or trends.

Finally, the Scopes “Monkey” trial had a similar appeal to me. Like the others, the trial challenged the prevailing thinking and of course, has a much stronger chance of diverse primary sources.