Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Journal of the Federal Convention

Tuesday, September 4, 1787.

The Hon. Mr. Brearly, from the committee of eleven, informed the house that the committee were prepared to report partially. It was afterwards delivered in at the secretary’s table, and was again read, and is as follows:—

“The committee of eleven, to whom sundry resolutions, &c., were referred on the 31st ultimo, report,—

“That, in their opinion, the following additions and alterations should be made to the report before the Convention, namely:—”

“1. The 1st clause of the 1st section of the 7th article to read as follows: ’The legislature shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises; to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare, of the United States.’

“2. At the end of the 2d clause of the 1st section, 7th article, add, ’and with the Indian tribes.’

“3. In the place of the 9th article, 1st section, to be inserted, ’The Senate of the United States shall have power to try all impeachments; but no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.’

“4. After the word ’excellency,’ in the 1st section, 10th article, to be inserted, ’he shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same term, be elected, in the following manner:—

“5. ’Each state shall appoint, in such manner as its legislature may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of senators and members of the House of Representatives to which the state may be entitled in the legislature.

“6. ’The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves; and they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each, which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the general government, directed to the president of the Senate.

“7. ’The president of the Senate shall, in that house, open all the certificates; and the votes shall be then and there counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of the electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the Senate shall choose by ballot one of them for President; but if no person have a majority, then, from the five highest on the list, the Senate shall choose by ballot the President. And in every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes shall be Vice-President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them the Vice-President.

“8. ’The legislature may determine the time of choosing and assembling the electors, and the manner of certifying and transmitting the votes.

“’Sect. 2. No person, except a natural-born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; nor shall any person be elected to that office who shall be under the age of thirty-five years, and who has not been, in the whole, at least fourteen years a resident of the United States.

“’Sect. 3. The Vice-President shall be, ex officio, president of the Senate, except when they sit to try the impeachment of the President, in which case the chief justice shall preside; and excepting, also, when he shall exercise the powers and duties of President, in which case, and in case of his absence, the Senate shall choose a president pro tempore. The Vice-President, when acting as president of the Senate, shall not have a vote, unless the house be equally divided.

“’Sect. 4. The President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall have power to make treaties; and he shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint, ambassadors, and other public ministers, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for. But no treaty, except treaties of peace, shall be made without the consent of two thirds of the members present.’

“After the words ’into the service of the United States,’ in the 2d section, 10th article, add, ’and may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices.’

“The latter part of the 2d section, 10th article, to read as follows:—

“’He shall be removed from his office, on impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction by the Senate, for treason or bribery; and, in case of his removal as aforesaid, death, absence, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers or duties of his office, the Vice-President shall exercise those powers and duties until another President be chosen, or until the inability of the President be removed.’”

On the question to agree to the 1st clause of the report, it passed in the affirmative.

On the question to agree to the 2d clause of the report, it passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the 3d clause of the report; which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the remainder of the report; which passed in the negative.

Yea: North Carolina, 1. Nays: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, 10.

After some time passed in debate, it was moved and seconded to postpone the consideration of the remainder of the report, and that the members take copies thereof; which passed in the affirmative.

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

It was moved and seconded to refer the following motion to the committee of eleven: —

“To prepare and report a plan for defraying the expenses of this Convention;”

which passed in the affirmative.

It was moved and seconded to adjourn; which passed unanimously in the affirmative. The house adjourned.

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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

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The Federal Pillars

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The Stages of Ratification: An Interactive Timeline

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Interactive Ratification Map

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