Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

THURSDAY, May 31, 1787.

The Hon. William Pierce, Esq., a deputy of the state of Georgia, attended and took his seat.

The following credentials were produced and read. [See Georgia Credentials.]

The order of the day being read, the house resolved itself into a committee of the whole house, to consider of the state of the American Union. Mr. President in the chair.

In the Committee of the whole House.

Mr. Gorham in the chair.

It was moved and seconded that the committee proceed to the consideration of the following resolution, submitted by Mr. Randolph:—

“Resolved, That the national legislature ought to consist of two branches.”

And on the question to agree to the said resolution, it passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 7. Nay: Pennsylvania, 1.

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following clause of the 4th resolution, submitted by Mr. Randolph:—

“Resolved, That the members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several states.”

And on the question to agree to the said clause of the 4th resolution, it passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, 6. Nays: New Jersey, South Carolina, 2. Divided: Connecticut, Delaware, 2.

It was then moved and seconded to postponed the consideration of the remaining clauses in the said 4th resolution.

And on the question to postpone the remaining clauses of the said 4th resolution, it passed in the affirmative.

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following resolution, being the 5th submitted by Mr. Randolph:—

“Resolved, That the members of the second branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by those of the first, out of,” &c.

And on the question to agree to the said 5th resolution, it passed in the negative.

Yeas: None. Nays: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 9. Divided: Delaware, 1.

It was then moved and seconded to proceed to the consideration of the following resolution, being the 6th submitted by Mr. Randolph:—

“Resolved, That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts: that the national legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the Confederation; and moreover, to legislate in all cases to which the separate states are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation: to negative all laws, passed by the several states, contravening, in the opinion of the national legislature, the articles of the Union.”

The following words were added to this clause on motion of Mr. Franklin: “or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union.”

Questions being taken separately on the foregoing clauses of the 6th resolution, they were agreed to.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the last clause of the 6th resolution, namely,—

“To call forth the force of the Union against any member of the Union failing to fulfil its duty under the articles thereof.”

On the question to postpone the consideration of said clause, it passed in the affirmative.

In the House.

Mr. President resumed the chair.

Mr. Gorham reported, from the committee, That the committee had made a further 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 of 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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