Robert Yates

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Robert Yates was an American politician and was part of the Philadelphia Convention. Yates was born on January 27, 1738 in Schenectady, NY. Between 1771 and 1775, Yates sat on the Albany board of Alderman. Robert Yates spent most of his political life as a judge, and was well regarded by New Yorkers of all political casts. During the pre-revolution years, Yates was one of the Radical Whigs, but once the revolution did break out he served on the Albany committee of safety and represented his county in four provincial congresses and in the convention of 1775-1777. At the convention he sat on various committees, including the one that drafted the first constitution for New York State.

In the 1780’s Yates’ stood as a recognized leader in the Anti-Federalists campaign. He opposed any allowances to the federal congress, such as the right to impost duties that might deplete the sovereignty of the states. Robert Yates was a natural choice for the New York delegation to the federal convention, and he was the unanimous first choice of both houses of the state legislature. He was the senior member of the delegation; 49 in 1787. When he traveled to the convention in Philadelphia, he thought that the delegates would only discuss revising and updating the existing Articles of Confederation. Yates was on the committee that debated the question of representation in the legislature, and it soon became clear that the convention planned much more than modification of the current plan of union. Within a week, Yates began to show serious doubts about the convention and its work. Yates believed that America was far too large of a nation to be under one republic. Even with the idea of representatives from each state, he felt the people would not be correctly represented. He felt that smaller governments within each state would work more properly, because of the large size of the nation as a whole and the vast differences between each individual colony. Being from one of the New...
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