Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Tuesday, June 19, 1787.

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 left the chair.

In Committee of the whole House

Mr. Gorham in the chair.

On the question to adopt Mr. Dickinson’s motion, moved yesterday, it passed in the negative.

Yeas: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, 4. Nays: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 6. Divided: Maryland, 1.

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 1st proposition offered by Mr. Patterson. It passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 9. Nays: New York, New Jersey, 2.

It was then moved and seconded that the committee do now rise, and report to the house that they do not agree to the propositions offered by the Hon. Mr. Patterson; and that they report the resolutions offered by the Hon. Mr. Randolph, heretofore reported from a committee of the whole house. Passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 7. Nays: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, 3. Divided: Maryland, 1.

The committee then rose.

In the House.

Mr. President resumed the chair.

Mr. Gorham reported, from the committee, That the committee, having spent some time in the consideration of the propositions submitted to the house by the Hon. Mr. Patterson, and of the resolutions heretofore reported from a committee of the whole house, both of which had been to them referred, were prepared to report thereon; and had directed him to report to the house, That the committee do not agree to the propositions offered by the Hon. Mr. Patterson; and that they again submit the resolutions, formerly reported, to the consideration of the house.

STATE OF THE RESOLUTIONS, SUBMITTED TO THE CONSIDERATION OF THE HOUSE BY THE HON. MR. RANDOLPH,
AS ALTERED, AMENDED, AND AGREED TO, IN COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE HOUSE.

[Paper deposited by President Washington, in the Department of State.]

“1. 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.

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

“3. Resolved, That the members of the first branch of the national legislature ought to be elected by the people of the several states, for the term of three years; to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service, to be paid out of the national treasury; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular state, or under the authority of the United States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch,) during the term of service, and under the national government, for the space of one year after its expiration.

“4. Resolved, That the members of the second branch of the national legislature ought to be chosen by the individual legislatures; to be of the age of thirty years, at least; to hold their offices for a term sufficient to insure their independency—namely, seven years; to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service, to be paid out of the national treasury; to be ineligible to any office established by a particular state, or under the authority of the United States, (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch,) during the term of service, and under the national government, for the space of one year after its expiration.

“5. Resolved, That each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.

“6. Resolved, 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 union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union.

“7. Resolved, That the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the Articles of Confederation, but according to some equitable ratio of representation; namely, in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens, and inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition, including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians not paying taxes, in each state.

“8. Resolved, That the rights of suffrage in the second branch of the national legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.

“9. Resolved, That a national executive be instituted, to consist of a single person; to be chosen by the national legislature, for the term of seven years; with power to carry into execution the national laws; to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for; to be ineligible a second time; and to be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractice, or neglect of duty; to receive a fixed stipend, by which he may be compensated for the devotion of his time to public service, to be paid out of the national treasury.

“10. Resolved, That the national executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act, which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each branch of the national legislature.

“11. Resolved, That a national judiciary be established, to consist of one supreme tribunal; the judges of which to be appointed by the second branch of the national legislature; to hold their offices during good behavior; to receive punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services, in which no increase or diminution shall be made, so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such increase or diminution.

“12. Resolved, That the national legislature be empowered to appoint inferior tribunals.

“13. Resolved, That the jurisdiction of the national judiciary shall extend to cases which respect the collection of the national revenue, impeachment of any national officers, and questions which involve the national peace and harmony.

“14. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the admission of states, lawfully arising within the limits of the United states, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national legislature less than the whole.

“15. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their authorities, until a given day after the reform of the articles of union shall be adopted, and for the completion of all their engagements.

“16. Resolved, That a republican constitution, and its existing laws, ought to be guarantied to each state by the United States.

“17. Resolved, That provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of union whensoever it shall seem necessary.

“18. Resolved, That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers, within the several states, ought to be bound, by oath, to support the articles of union.

“19. Resolved, That the amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation by the Convention, ought, at a proper time or times after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly, or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several legislatures to be expressly chosen by the people to consider and decide thereon.”

It was then moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 1st resolution reported from the committee till to-morrow.

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

And then the house adjourned till to-morrow, at 11 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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