Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Saturday, August 18, 1787.

The following additional powers, proposed to be vested in the legislature of the United States, having been submitted to the consideration of the Convention, it was moved and seconded to refer them to the committee to whom the proceedings of the Convention were referred; which passed in the affirmative.

The propositions are as follow:—

“To dispose of the unappropriated lands of the United States.

“To institute temporary governments for new states arising therein.

“To regulate affairs with the Indians, as well within as without the limits of the United States.

“To exercise exclusively legislative authority at the seat of the general government, and over a district around the same, not exceeding square miles, the consent of the legislature of the state or states comprising such district being first obtained.

“To grant charters of incorporation in cases where the public good may require them, and the authority of a single state may be incompetent.

“To secure to literary authors their copyrights for a limited time.

“To establish a university.

“To encourage, by proper premiums and provisions, the advancement of useful knowledge and discoveries.

“To authorize the executive to procure and hold, for the use of the United States, landed property for the erection of forts, magazines, and other necessary buildings.

“To fix and permanently establish the seat of government of the United States, in which they shall possess the exclusive right of soil and jurisdiction.

“To establish seminaries for the promotion of literature, and the arts and sciences.

“To grant charters of incorporation.

“To grant patents for useful inventions.

“To secure authors exclusive rights for a certain time.

“To establish public institutions, rewards, and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, trades, and manufactures.

“That funds which shall be appropriated for the payment of public creditors shall not, during the time of such appropriation, be diverted or applied to any other purpose; and to prepare a clause, or clauses, for restraining the legislature of the United States from establishing a perpetual revenue.

“To secure the payment of the public debt.

“To secure all creditors, under the new Constitution, from a violation of the public faith, when pledged by the authority of the legislature.

“To grant letters of marque and reprisal.

“To regulate stages on the post-roads.”

It was moved by Mr. Rutledge, and seconded, that a committee, to consist of a member from each state, be appointed to consider the necessity and expediency of the debts of the several states being assumed by the United States; which passed in the affirmative.

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

And a committee was appointed, by ballot, of the Hon. Mr. Langdon, Mr. King, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Clymer, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. M’Henry, Mr. Mason, Mr. Williamson, Mr. C. C. Pinckney, and Mr. Baldwin.

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

Resolved, That this Convention will meet punctually at 10 o’clock, every morning, (Sundays excepted,) and sit till 4 o’clock in the afternoon, at which time the president shall adjourn the Convention; and that no motion for adjournment be allowed;”

which passed in the affirmative.

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

It was moved and seconded to insert the words “and support” between the word “raise” and the word “armies,” in the 14th clause, 1st section, 7th article; which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to strike out the words “build and equip,” and to insert the words “provide and maintain,” in the 15th clause, 1st section, 7th article; which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to insert the following, as a 16th clause, in the 1st section of the 7th article:—

“To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;”

which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to annex the following proviso to the last clause:—

provided, That, in time of peace, the army shall not consist of more than         thousand men;”

which passed in the negative.

It was moved and seconded to insert the following as a clause in the 1st section of the 7th article:—

“To make laws for regulating and disciplining the militia of the several states, reserving to the several states the appointment of their militia officers.”

It was moved and seconded to postpone the last clause, in order to take up the following:—

“To establish a uniformity of exercise and arms for the militia, and rules for their government, when called into service under the authority of the United States; and to establish and regulate a militia in any state where its legislature shall neglect to do it.”

It was moved and seconded to refer the two last motions to a committee; which passed in the affirmative.

Yeas: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, 8. Nays: Connecticut, New Jersey, 2. Divided: Maryland, 1.

And they were referred to the committee of eleven.

And then the house adjourned till Monday next, 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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