Pinckney Plan (1787)

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The brash young South Carolinian charles pinckney arrived at the constitutional convention of 1787 bearing his own comprehensive draft of a new constitution based on proposals he had made to amend the articles of confederation during his three years in Congress. He presented it to the convention immediately after edmund randolph presented the virginia plan. The Pinckney Plan was never debated, but it was referred to the Committee on Detail which may have drawn some ideas or phrases from it.

There was no copy of the Pinckney Plan among the papers of the convention. Pinckney himself later published what he claimed was his plan, but this was actually a fabrication closely resembling the finished Constitution. On the basis of this (fraudulent) published version and Pinckney's own extravagant claims about his influence, many historians and popular writers have attributed more significance to the Pinckney Plan and its author than either actually had.

In the twentieth century, historians J. Franklin Jameson and andrew c. mclaughlin reconstructed the details of the original Pinckney Plan. The proposal was certainly quite nationalistic, with no state role in the election of either house of Congress, an unconditional congressional veto over state laws, and a very powerful national executive.

Dennis J. Mahoney


Mc Laughin, Andrew C. 1904 The Pinckney Plan. American Historical Review 9:135–147.