Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Thursday, July 12, 1787.

It was moved and seconded to add the following clause to the last resolution agreed to by the house, respecting the representation in the first branch of the legislature of the United States, namely:—

Provided always, That direct taxation ought to be proportioned according to representation;”

which passed unanimously in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 1st clause in the report from the first grand committee; which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to add the following amendment to the last clause adopted by the house, namely,—

“and that the rule of contribution, by direct taxation, for the support of the government of the United States, shall be the number of white inhabitants, and three fifths of every other description in the several states, until some other rule, that shall more accurately ascertain the wealth of the several states, can be devised and adopted by the legislature.”

The last amendment being withdrawn, it was moved and seconded to substitute the following, namely,—

“and, in order to ascertain the alteration in the representation which may be required, from time to time, by the changes in the relative circumstances of the states,—

Resolved, That a census be taken within two years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every         years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner, and according to the ratio, recommended by Congress in their resolution of, and that the legislature of the United States shall arrange the representation accordingly.”

It was moved and seconded so to alter the last clause adopted by the house, that, together with the amendment proposed, the whole should read as follows, namely:—

Provided always, That representation ought to be proportioned according to direct taxation; and, in order to ascertain the alterations in the direct taxation which may be required, from time to time, by the changes in the relative circumstances of the states,—

Resolved, That a census be taken within two years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every         years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner, and according to the ratio, recommended by Congress in their resolution of April 18, 1783; and that the legislature of the United States shall proportion the direct taxation accordingly.”

It was moved and seconded to strike out the word “two,” and insert the word “six;” which passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, 5. Nays: Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, 4. Divided: Delaware, 1.

It was moved and seconded to fill up the blank with the number “twenty.” Passed in the negative.

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

It was moved and seconded to fill up the blank with the word “ten;” which passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 8. Nays: Connecticut, New Jersey, 2.

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “in the manner, and according to the ratio, recommended by Congress in their recommendation of April 18, 1783;” and to substitute the following, namely, “of every description and condition;” which passed in the negative.

Yeas: South Carolina, Georgia, 2. Nays: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, 8.

The question being about to be put on the clause as amended, the previous question was called for, and passed in the negative.

Yea: New Jersey, 1. Nays: Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 8. Divided: Delaware, 1.

On the question to agree to the clause as amended, namely,—

Provided always, That representation ought to be proportioned according to direct taxation; and, in order to ascertain the alterations in the direct taxation which may be required, from time to time, by the changes in the relative circumstances of the states,—

Resolved, That a census be taken within six years from the first meeting of the legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every ten years afterwards, of all the inhabitants of the United States, in the manner, and according to the ratio, recommended by Congress in their resolution of April 18, 1783; and that the legislature of the United States shall proportion the direct taxation accordingly,”—

it passed in the affirmative.

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

And then the house adjourned until 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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