Say What?: “Imaginary beings called states”
Editor’s Note: For the past 200-plus years, we the people have had a lot to say about the Constitution. In each installment of “Say What?” we offer a quick quote–be it wise, quirky, or otherwise memorable–from past or present conversation related to our favorite founding document.
“Can we forget for whom we are forming a government? Is it for men, or for the imaginary beings called States?”
Who said it
James Wilson, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention (as recorded in the notes of James Madison)
Wilson was a strong believer in the idea of popular sovereignty; in particular, he argued that the people, and not an electoral college, should select the president.
Holly Munson works in Public Programs at the National Constitution Center.