Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Wednesday, May 30, 1787.

The Hon. Roger Sherman, Esq., a deputy of the state of Connecticut, attended and took his seat. The order of the day being read, the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole house to consider of the state of American Union. The president left the chair.

In Committee of the whole House.

Mr. Gorham, chosen by ballot, took the chair of the committee.

The propositions offered yesterday to the consideration of the house, by Mr. Randolph, were read; and, on motion of Mr. Randolph, seconded by Mr. G. Morris, “That the consideration of the 1st resolution contained in the said propositions be postponed,” it was passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved by Mr. Randolph, and seconded by Mr. G. Morris, to substitute the following resolution in the place of the 1st resolution:—

“Resolved, That a union of the states, merely federal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the Articles of Confederation, namely, ’common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.’”

It was now moved by Mr. Butler, seconded by Mr. Randolph, to postpone the consideration of the said resolution, in order to take up the following resolution, submitted by Mr. Randolph, viz.:—

“Resolved, That a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary, and executive.”

It was moved by Mr. Read, seconded by Mr. C. C. Pinckney, to postpone the consideration of the last resolution, in order to take up the following:—

“Resolved, That, in order to carry into execution the design of the states, in forming this Convention, and to accomplish the objects proposed by the Confederation, ’a more effective government, consisting of a legislative, judiciary, and executive, ought to be established.’”

On the question to postpone, in order to take up the last resolution, the question was lost.

Yeas: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, South Carolina, 4.

Nays: New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, 4.

On motion to agree to the said resolution, moved by Mr.

Butler, it passed in the affirmative; and the resolution, as agreed to, is as follows:—

“Resolved, That it is the opinion of this committee that a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary, and executive.”

Yeas: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 6. Nay: Connecticut, 1. Divided: New York, 1.

The following resolution was then moved by Mr. Randolph:—

“Resolved, That the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the quotas of contribution, or to the number of free inhabitants, as the one or the other rule may seem best in different cases.”

It was moved by Mr. Hamilton, seconded by Mr. Spaight, that the resolution be altered so as to read,—

“Resolved, That the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned to the number of free inhabitants.”

It was moved and seconded, that the resolution be postponed; and on the question to postpone, it passed in the affirmative.

The following resolution was moved by Mr. Randolph, seconded by Mr. Madison:—

“Resolved, That the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought to be proportioned —”

It was moved and seconded to add the words, “and not according to the present system.”

On the question to agree to the amendment, it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved and seconded so to alter the resolution that it should read,—

“Resolved, That the rights of suffrage in the national legislature ought not to be according —”

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last resolution.

And on the question to postpone, it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

The following resolution was then moved by Mr. Madison, seconded by Mr. G. Morris:—

“Resolved, That the equality of suffrage, established by the Articles of Confederation, ought not to prevail in the national legislature; and that an equitable ration of representation ought to be substituted.”

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last resolution.

And on the question to postpone, it passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded that the committee do now rise.

In the House.

Mr. President resumed the chair.

Mr. Gorham reported, from the committee, That the committee had made a progress in the matter to them referred, and had directed him to move that they may have leave to sit again.

“Resolved, That this house will to-morrow again resolve itself into a committee of the whole house, to consider the state of the American Union.”

And then the house adjourned till to-morrow, at 10 o’clock, A. M.

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Contents

General Overview

In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout America over the Constitution that had been proposed.

In-Doors Debate

View in-depth studies of the Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York state ratifying conventions.

The Federal Pillars

View drawings of the federal pillars rising published by the Massachusetts Centinel during the ratification debate.

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

View the six stages of the ratification of the Constitution with links to many other features on this site.

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Interactive Ratification Map

View interactive maps showing the breakdown of Federalist-Antifederalist strength at the state level during the Ratification debate.

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