Vote Trading in the First Federal Congress? James Madison and the Compromise of 1790
Introduction. It is fitting that the men who designed the Constitution of the United States in 1787 are known as "the Framers," for that document is skeletal indeed. This is not to say that these individuals chose to engage in an abstract exercise in implementation theory. Advocates of particular policies, eager to have their preferences graven into constitutional bedrock, compelled delegates to the Constitutional Convention to consider all the major issues of the day. With a few exceptions, however, specific policies were not embedded into the Constitution, as doing so would have precluded adoption or stymied ratification. It was thus left to the First Federal Congress, elected in the first federal election of 1788, to address the many thorny questions that the Convention had left unresolved.