Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Tuesday, July 17, 1787.

It was moved by Mr. Sherman, and seconded, to postpone the consideration of the 2d clause of the 6th resolution, reported from the committee of the whole house, in order to take up the following:—

“To make laws binding on the people of the United States in all cases which may concern the common interests of the Union; but not to interfere with the government of the individual states, in any matters of internal police, which respect the government of such states only, and wherein the general welfare of the United States is not concerned;”

which passed in the negative.

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

It was moved by Mr. Bedford, and seconded, to alter the 2d clause of the 6th resolution, so as to read as follows, namely,—

“and moreover to legislate, in all cases, for the general interests of the Union; and also in those to which the states are separately incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation;”

which passed in the affirmative.

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

It was moved and seconded to agree to the 2d clause of the 6th resolution, as thus amended. Passed in the affirmative.

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

On the question to agree to the following clause of the 6th resolution, reported from the committee of the whole house, namely,—

“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,”—

it passed in the negative. Yeas: Massachusetts, Virginia, North Carolina, 3. Nays: Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, 7.

It was moved and seconded to agree to the following resolution, namely:—

Resolved, That the legislative acts of the United States, made by virtue and in pursuance of the articles of union, and all treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the respective states, as far as those acts, or treaties, shall relate to the said states, or their citizens and inhabitants; and that the judiciaries of the several states shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the respective laws of the individual states to the contrary notwithstanding.”

It passed unanimously in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the 1st clause of the 9th resolution, reported from the committee of the whole house, namely, “that a national executive be instituted, to consist of a single person,” it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to strike the words “national legislature” out of the 2d clause of the 9th resolution, reported from the committee of the whole house, and to insert the words “the citizens of the United States;” which passed in the negative.

Yea: Pennsylvania, 1. Nays: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, 9.

It was moved and seconded to alter the 2d clause of the 9th resolution, reported from the committee of the whole house, so as to read, “to be chosen by electors to be appointed by the several legislatures of the individual states;” which passed in the negative.

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

It was moved and seconded to agree to the following clause, namely, “to be chosen by the national legislature;” which passed unanimously in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the following clause, “for the term of seven years;” which was unanimously agreed to.

On the question to agree to the following clause, namely, “with power to carry into effect the national laws,” it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the following clause, namely, “to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for,” it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to strike out the following words, namely, “to be ineligible a second time;” which passed in the affirmative. Yeas: Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, 6. Nays: Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, 4.

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “seven years,” and insert the words “good behavior;” which passed in the negative.

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

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “seven years;” which passed in the negative.

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

It was moved and seconded to reconsider the vote to strike out the words “to be ineligible a second time.”

Passed unanimously (eight states) in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to reconsider immediately. Passed in the affirmative.

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

It was moved and seconded to reconsider the clause to-morrow. Passed unanimously 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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