Life Before the Constitution

By Emily Murphy P2

Life as a Worker

My name is Richard Solomon. I am a shoemaker and own a small shop in Manchester, New York. I am paid according to the amount of shoes that I make. I went into this line of work after the Revolutionary War and I have debt of $50 for purchasing tools. I am in tough times because I figured that since the government is issuing paper money, it would be easier for me to buy supplies, but the legislature stopped that idea. The Constitution doesn't seem like a good idea to me, since the Constitutional Convention says that they don't want workers and merchants like me, the people who fought in the war in the first place, to vote just because we don't have property.

Life as a Banker

My name is Gerald Thames. I am a banker and a member of a successful merchant family in New York. Much of my wealth is made by providing loans and being paid my interest. State legislatures have passed a law that allows people who owe money to pay it off with whatever they have, which I am not happy about at all. If I give someone $50, I don't want to be repaid with chickens and cows! Like how other states handle the problem, I believe that people who can't pay off their debt should be thrown in prison. But, luckily, I paid soldiers from the Revolutionary War 10 cents per dollar in bonds that they give me, so I have thousands of government bonds from them!

Life as a Slave

My name is Nessa Rose. I was born into an enslaved family that lives on a tobacco plantation in Virginia. I don't understand why the Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal when I am still a slave. The talk about outlawing slavery in the North and slave trade gives me hope in my harsh life. But even if I am free, I know that I will have to start from nothing. I would probably be thrown in jail for not paying my debts and I wouldn't have any land, so all I can do know is hope for a better way out.