Gouverneur Morris, American Patriot

Here is the amazing story of the author of the final draft of our Constitution. This article originally appeared in Illinois Review. Re-published by permission.

THE MIGHTY QUILL OF A WESTCHESTER PATRIOT

By John F. Di Leo –

Reflections on the anniversary of the birth of Gouverneur MorrisGouverneur Morris

Willis Haviland Carrier invented the first modern air conditioning machine in 1902 at the Buffalo Forge Company, and today, a century later, it’s difficult to imagine a home or office being built anywhere in America without either central A/C or at least a window or room unit to alleviate the summer heat.

There was no such technological solution in the Founding Era, when statesmen committed to the Glorious Cause spent months at a time in Philadelphia, trying to think straight in a muggy meeting room at what we now call Independence Hall.

In the summer of 1787, the oppressive weather must have felt like a very physical metaphor for the condition of the country.  The crushing pressure of humidity and heat mimicked the crushing pressure of national and state debts, as the impotent national government was exposed as naught but an empty shell.  We couldn’t repay our loans to Holland, France, Spain, or so many other lenders, both public and private.  Many patriots and investors were going bankrupt due to our government’s inability to pay our bills… and tens of thousands of soldiers were penniless, having served valiantly in a victorious revolution, with nothing to show for it but their poverty and their war injuries.   Continue reading Gouverneur Morris, American Patriot