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Elliot’s Debates: Volume 1

Supplement to the Journal of the Federal Convention

The following extract, from the Journal of the Congress of the Confederation, exhibits the proceedings of that body on receiving the report of the Convention:—

United States in Congress assembled.

Friday, September 28, 1787.

Present: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, and from Maryland Mr. Ross.

Congress, having received the report of the Convention lately assembled in Philadelphia,—

Resolved, unanimously, That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of delegates chosen in each state, by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case.”

The states having accordingly passed acts for severally calling conventions, and the Constitution being submitted to them, the ratifications thereof were transmitted to Congress as follows:—

THE RATIFICATIONS OF THE TWELVE STATES,
Reported in the General Convention

1. DELAWARE.

We, the deputies of the people of the Delaware state, in Convention met, having taken in our serious consideration the Federal Constitution proposed and agreed upon by the deputies of the United States in a General Convention held at the city of Philadelphia, on the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, have approved, assented to, ratified, and confirmed, and by these presents do, in virtue of the power and authority to us given, for and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully, freely, and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify, and confirm, the said Constitution.

Done in Convention, at Dover, this seventh day of December, in the year aforesaid, and in the year of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

Sussex County. Kent County. Newcastle County.
John Ingram, Nicholas Ridgely, James Latimer, President,
John Jones, Richard Smith, James Black,
William Moore, George Fruitt, John James,
William Hall, Richard Bassett, Gunning Bedford, Sen.
Thomas Laws, James Sykes, Kensey Johns,
Isaac Cooper, Allen M’Lean, Thomas Watson,
Woodman Storkley, Daniel Cummins, Sen. Solomon Maxwell,
John Laws, Joseph Barker, Nicholas Way,
Thomas Evans, Edward White, Thomas Duff,
Israel Holland. George Manlove. Gunning Bedford, Jun.
[L. S.]

To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting.

I, Thomas Collins, president of the Delaware state, do hereby certify, that the above instrument of writing is a true copy of the original ratification of the Federal Constitution by the Convention of the Delaware state, which original ratification is now in my possession.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the Delaware state to be hereunto annexed.

THOMAS COLLINS.

2. PENNSYLVANIA.

In the Name of the People of Pennsylvania.

Be it known unto all men, that we, the delegates of the people of the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in General Convention assembled, have assented to and ratified, and by these presents do, in the name and by the authority of the same people, and for ourselves, assent to and ratify the foregoing Constitution for the United States of America. Done in Convention at Philadelphia, the twelfth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

FREDERICK A. MUHLENBERG, President.

George Latimer, Anthony Wayne, Benjamin Pedan,
Benjamin Rush, William Gibbons, John Arndt,
Hilary Baker, Richard Downing, Stephen Balliat,
James Wilson, Thomas Cheney, Joseph Horsefield,
Thomas M’Kean, John Hannum, David Dashler,
To. Macpherson, Stephen Chambers, William Wilson,
John Hunn, Robert Coleman, John Boyd,
George Gray, Sebastian Graff, Thomas Scott,
Samuel Ashmead, John Hubley, John Nevill,
Enoch Edwards, Jasper Yeates, John Allison,
Henry Wynkoop, Henry Slagle, Jonathan Roberts,
John Barclay, Thomas Campbell, John Richards,
Thomas Yardley, Thomas Hartley, James Morris,
Abraham Stout, David Grier, Timothy Pickering,
Thomas Bull, John Black, Benjamin Elliot,

Attest. James Campbell, Secretary.

3. NEW JERSEY.

In Convention of the State of New Jersey.

Whereas a Convention of delegates from the following states, viz.,—New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia,—met at Philadelphia, for the purpose of deliberating on, and forming, a Constitution for the United States of America,—finished their session on the 17th day of September last, and reported to Congress the form which they had agreed upon, in the words following, viz.: [See the Constitution.]

And whereas Congress, on the 28th day of September last, unanimously did resolve, “That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case;”

And whereas the legislature of this state did, on the 29th day of October last, resolve in the words following, viz., “Resolved, unanimously, That it be recommended to such of the inhabitants of this state as are entitled to vote for representatives in General Assembly, to meet in their respective counties on the fourth Tuesday in November next, at the several places fixed by law for holding the annual elections, to choose three suitable persons to serve as delegates from each county in a state Convention, for the purposes hereinbefore mentioned, and that the same be conducted agreeably to the mode, and conformably with the rules and regulations, prescribed for conducting such elections;—

Resolved, unanimously, That the persons so elected to serve in state Convention, do assemble and meet together on the second Tuesday in December next, at Trenton, in the county of Hunterdon, then and there to take into consideration the aforesaid Constitution and if approved of by them, finally to ratify the same, in behalf and on the part of this state, and make report thereof to the United States in Congress assembled, in conformity with the resolutions thereto annexed.

Resolved, That the sheriffs of the respective counties of this state shall be, and they are hereby, required to give as timely notice as may be, by advertisements, to the people of their counties, of the time, place, and purpose of holding elections, as aforesaid.”

And whereas the legislature of this state did also, on the 1st day of November last, make and pass the following act, viz., “An Act to authorize the people of this state to meet in convention, deliberate upon, agree to, and ratify, the Constitution of the United States proposed by the late General Convention,—Be it enacted by the Council and General Assembly of this state, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that it shall and may be lawful for the people thereof, by their delegates, to meet in Convention to deliberate upon, and, if approved of by them, to ratify, the Constitution for the United States proposed by the General Convention held at Philadelphia, and every act, matter, and clause, therein contained, conformedly to the resolutions of the legislature passed the 29th day of October, 1787,—any law, usage, or custom, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding;”

Now be it known, that we, the delegates of the state of New Jersey, chosen by the people thereof, for the purpose aforesaid, having maturely deliberated on and considered the aforesaid proposed Constitution, do hereby, for and on the behalf of the people of the said state of New Jersey, agree to, ratify, and confirm, the same and every part thereof.

Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the members present, this 18th day of December, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

JOHN STEVENS, President,
and delegate from the county of Hunterdon.

County of
Cape May,…… Jesse Hand,
Jerimiah Eldridge,
Matthew Willdin.
Hunterdon,…… David Brearly,
Joshua Corshon.
Morris,…… William Windes,
William Woodhull,
John Jacob Faesch.
Cumberland,…… David Potter,
Jonathan Brown,
Eli Elmer.
Sussex,…… Robert Ogden,
Thomas Anderson,
Robert Hoops.
Bergen,…… John Fell,
Peter Zobriskie,
Cornelius Hennion.
Essex,…… John Chetwood,
Samuel Hay,
David Crane.
Middlesex,…… John Neilson,
John Beatty,
Benjamin Manning.
Monmouth,…… Elisha Lawrence,
Samuel Breese,
William Crawford.
Somerset,…… John Witherspoon,
Jacob R. Hardenberg,
Frederick Frelinghuysen.
Burlington,…… Thomas Reynolds,
Geo. Anderson,
Joshua M. Wallace.
Glouchester,…… Richard Howell,
Andrew Hunter,
Benjamin Whitall.
Salem,…… Whitten Cripps,
Edmund Wetherby.

Attest. Samuel W. Stockton, Secretary.

4. CONNECTICUT.

In the Name of the People of the State of Connecticut.

We, the delegates of the people of said state, in general Convention assembled, pursuant to an act of the legislature in October last, have assented to, and ratified, and by these presents do assent to, on the 17th day of September, A. D. 1787, for the United States of America.

Done in Convention, this 9th day of January, A. D. 1788.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands.

MATTHEW GRISWOLD, President.

Jeremiah Wadsworth, Jabez Fitch, John Curtiss,
Jesse Root, Nehemiah Beardsley, Asa Barns,
Isaac Lee, James Potter, Stephen Mix Mitchell,
Selah Hart, John Chandler, John Chester,
Zebulon Peck, Jun., Issac Burnham, Oliver Ellsworth,
Elisha Pitkin, John Wilder, Roger Newberry,
Erastur Wolcott, Mark Prindle, Roger Sherman,
John Watson, Jedediah Hubbel, Pierpont Edwards,
John Treadwell, Aaron Austin, Samuel Beach,
William Judd, Samuel Canfield, Daniel Holbrook,
Nathaniel Minor, Daniel Everitt, John Holbrook,
Jonathan Sturges, Hezekiah Fitch, Gideon Buckingham,
Thaddeus Burr, Joshua Porter, Gideon Buckingham,
Elisha Whittlesey, Benjamin Hinma, Joseph Hopkins,
Joseph Moss White, Joseph Mosely, Josh Welton,
Amos Mead, Wait Goodrich, Richard Law,
Amasa Learned, Simeon Smith, Robert M’Cune,
Samuel Huntington, Hendrick Dow, Daniel Sherman,
Jedediah Huntington, Seth Paine, Samuel Orton,
Isaac Huntington, Asa Witter, Asher Miller,
Robert Robbins, Moses Cleveland, Samuel H. Parsons,
Daniel Foot, Samson Howe, Ebenezer White,
Eli Hyde, William Danielson, Hezekiah Goodrich,
Joseph Woodbridge, William Williams, Dyer Throop,
Stephen Billings, James Bradford, Jabez Chapman,
Andrew Lee, Joshua Dunlap, Cornelius Higgins,
William Noyes, Daniel Learned, Hezekiah Brainard,
Joshua Raymond, Jun., Moses Campbell, Theophilus Morgan,
Jeremiah Halsey, Benjamin Dow, Hezekiah Lane,
Wheeler Coit, Oliver Wolcott, William Hart,
Charles Phelps, Jedediah Strong, Samuel Shipman,
John Beach, Moses Hawley, Jeremiah West,
Hezekiah Rogers, Charles Burrall, Samuel Chapman,
Lemuel Sandford, Nathan Hale, Ichabod Warner,
William Heron, Daniel Miles, Samuel Carver,
Philip Burr Bradley, Asaph Hall, Jeremiah Ripley,
Nathan Danchy, Epaphras Sheldon, Ephraim Root,
James Davenport, Eleazer Curtiss, Ephraim Root,
John Davenport, Jun., John Whittlesey, Isaac Foot,
Wm. Samuel Johnson, Dan. Nath. Brinsmade, Abijah Sessions,
Elisha Mills, Thomas Fenn, Caleb Holt,
Eliphalet Dyer, David Smith, Seth Crocker.
Jedediah Elderkin,

State of Connecticut, ss. Hartford, January Ninth, Anno Domini, 1788.—The foregoing ratification was agreed to, and signed as above, by one hundred and twenty-eight, and dissented to by forty delegates in convention, which is a majority of eighty-eight.

Certified by MATTHEW GRISWOLD, President.

Teste. Jedediah Strong, Secretary.

5. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.

The Convention having impartially discussed, and fully considered, the Constitution for the United States of America, reported to Congress by the Convention of Delegates from the United States of America, and submitted to us by a resolution of the General Court of the said commonwealth, passed the 25th day of October last past,—and acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Supreme Ruler of the universe in affording the people of the United States, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud or surprise, of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with each other, by assenting to and ratifying a new Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity,—do, in the name and in behalf of the people of the commonwealth of Massachusetts, assent to and ratify the said Constitution for the United States of America.

And as it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears, and quiet the apprehensions, of many of the good people of this commonwealth, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the federal government,—the Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced into the said Constitution:—

I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

II. That there shall be one representative to every thirty thousand persons, according to the census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of the representatives amounts to two hundred.

III. That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by the 4th section of the 1st article, but in cases where a state shall neglect or refuse to make the regulations therein mentioned, or shall make regulations subversive of the rights of the people to a free and equal representation in Congress, agreeably to the Constitution.

IV. That Congress do not lay direct taxes but when the moneys arising from the impost and excise are insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then until Congress shall have first made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislatures of the states shall think best; and in such case, if any state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such state’s proportion, together with interest thereon at the rate of six per cent. per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.

V. That Congress erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.

VI. That no person shall be tried for any crime by which he may incur an infamous punishment, or loss of life, until he be first indicted by a grand jury, except in such cases as may arise in the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

VII. The Supreme Judicial Federal Court shall have no jurisdiction of causes between citizens of different states, unless the matter in dispute, whether it concerns the realty or personalty, be of the value of three thousand dollars at the least; nor shall the federal judicial powers extend to any actions between citizens of different states, where the matter in dispute, whether it concerns the realty or personalty, is not of the value of fifteen hundred dollars at least.

VIII. In civil actions between citizens of different states, every issue of fact, arising in actions at common law, shall be tried by a jury, if the parties, or either of them, request it.

IX. Congress shall at no time consent that any person, holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall accept of a title of nobility, or any other title or office, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

And the Convention do, in the name and in behalf of the people of this commonwealth, enjoin it upon their representatives in Congress, at all times, until the alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered, agreeably to the 5th article of the said Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the said alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided in the said article.

And that the United States in Congress assembled may have due notice of the assent and ratification of the said Constitution by this Convention, it is Resolved, That the assent and ratification aforesaid be engrossed on parchment, together with the recommendation and injunction aforesaid, and with this resolution; and that his excellency, John Hancock, Esq., president, and the Hon. William Cushing, Esq., vice-president of this Convention, transmit the same, countersigned by the secretary of the Convention, under their hands and seals, to the United States in Congress assembled.

JOHN HANCOCK, President.

WILLIAM CUSHING, Vice-President.

George Richards Minot, Secretary.

Pursuant to the resolution aforesaid, we, the president and vice-president above named, do hereby transmit to the United States in Congress assembled the same resolution, with the above assent and ratification of the Constitution aforesaid, for the United States, and the recommendation and injunction above specified.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto set our hands and seals, at Boston, in the commonwealth aforesaid, this 7th day of February, Anno Domini 1788, and in the twelfth year of the independence of the United States of America.

JOHN HANCOCK, President. [L. S.] WM. CUSHING, Vice-President. [L. S.]

6. STATE OF GEORGIA.

In Convention, Wednesday, January 2d, 1788.

To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting.

Whereas the form of a Constitution for the government of the United States of America, was, on the 17th day of September, 1787, agreed upon and reported to Congress by the deputies of the said United States convened in Philadelphia, which said Constitution is written in the words following, to wit:—

And whereas the United States in Congress assembled did, on the 28th day of September, 1787, resolve, unanimously, “That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of delegates chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case;”—

And whereas the legislature of the state of Georgia did, on the 26th day of October, 1787, in pursuance of the above-recited resolution of Congress, resolve, That a Convention be elected on the day of the next general election, and in the same manner that representatives are elected; and that the said Convention consist of not more than three members from each county; and that the said Convention should meet at Augusta, on the 4th Tuesday in December then next, and, as soon thereafter as convenient, proceed to consider the said report and resolutions, and to adopt or reject any part or the whole thereof;—

Now know ye, that we, the delegates of the people of the state of Georgia, in Convention met, pursuant to the resolutions of the legislature aforesaid, having taken into our serious consideration the said Constitution, have assented to, ratified, and adopted, and by these presents do, in virtue of the powers and authority to us given by the people of the said state for that purpose, for and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully and entirely assent to, ratify, and adopt, the said Constitution.

Done in Convention, at Augusta, in the said state, on the 2d day of January, in the year of our Lord 1788, and of the independence of the United States the 12th.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

JOHN WEREAT, President,
and delegate for the county of Richmond
.

County of
Chatham,…… W. Stephens,
Joseph Habersham.
Effingham,…… Jenhim Davis,
N. Brownson.
Burke,…… Edward Telfair,
H. Todd.
Richmond,…… William Few,
James M’Niel.
Wilkes,…… Geo. Matthews,
Flor. Sullivan,
John King.
Liberty,…… James Powell,
John Elliot,
James Maxwell.
Glynn,…… George Handley,
Christopher Hillary,
J. Milton.
Camden,…… Henry Osborn,
James Seagrove,
Jacob Weed.
Camden,…… Henry Osborn,
James Seagrove,
Jacob Weed.
Washington,…… Jared Irwin,
John Rutherford.
Greene,…… Robert Christmas,
Thomas Daniel,
R. Middleton.

7. MARYLAND.

In Convention of the Delegates of the People of the State of

Maryland, April 28, 1788.

We, the delegates of the people of the state of Maryland, having fully considered the Constitution of the United States of America, reported to Congress by the Convention of deputies from the United States of America, held in Philadelphia, on the 17th day of September, in the year 1787, of which the annexed is a copy, and submitted to us by a resolution of the General Assembly of Maryland, in November session, 1787, do, for ourselves, and in the name and on the behalf of the people of this state, assent to and ratify the said Constitution.

In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

GEO. PLATER, President.

Richard Barnes, Richard Potts, George Gale,
Charles Chilton, Abraham Few, Henry Waggaman,
N. Lewis Sewall, William Paca, John Stewart,
William Tilghman, William Granger, James Gordon Heron,
Donaldson Yeates, Joseph Wilkinson, Samuel Evans,
Isaac Perkins, Charles Graham, Fielder Bowie,
John Gale, John Cheslea, Jun. Osb. Sprigg,
N. Hammond, W. Smith, Benjamin Hall,
Daniel Sullivan, G. R. Brown, George Digges,
James Shaw, J. Parnham, Nicholas Carrole,
Jos. Gilpin, Zeph. Turner, A. C. Hanson,
H. Hollingsworth, Michael Jenifer Stone, James Tilghman,
John Done, R. Goldsborough, Jun., John Seney,
Thomas Johnson, Edward Lloyd, James Hollyday,
Thomas S. Lee, John Stevens, William Hemsley,
Peter Chaille, Peter Edmonson, Henry Shryock,
James Martin, James M. Henry, Thomas Cramphin,
William Morris, John Coulter, Richard Thomas,
J. Richardson, Thomas Sprigg, William Deakins, Jun.,
William Richardson, John Stull, Benj. Edwards,
Matt. Driver, Moses Rawlings,

Attest. Wm. Harwood, Clerk.

8. STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA.

In Convention of the people of the state of South Carolina, by their representatives, held in the city of Charleston, on Monday the 12th day of May, and continued by divers adjournments to Friday, the 23d day of May, Anno Domini 1788, and in the 12th year of the independence of the United States of America.

The Convention, having maturely considered the Constitution, or form of government, reported to Congress by the Convention of Delegates from the United States of America, and submitted to them by a resolution of the legislature of this state, passed the 17th and 18th days of February last, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to the people of the said United States, and their posterity,—Do, in the name and behalf of the people of this state, hereby assent to and ratify the said Constitution.

Done in Convention, the 23d day of May, in the year of our Lord 1788, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

THOMAS PINCKNEY, President. [L. S.]

Attest. John Sandford Dart, Secretary. [L. S.]

And whereas it is essential to the preservation of the rights reserved to the several states, and the freedom of the people, under the operations of a general government, that the right of prescribing the manner, time, and places, of holding the elections to the federal legislature, should be forever inseparably annexed to the sovereignty of the several states,—This Convention doth declare, that the same ought to remain, to all posterity, a perpetual and fundamental right in the local, exclusive of the interference of the general government, except in cases where the legislatures of the states shall refuse or neglect to perform and fulfil the same, according to the tenor of the said Constitution.

This Convention doth also declare, that no section or paragraph of the said Constitution warrants a construction that the states do not retain every power not expressly relinquished by them, and vested in the general government of the Union.

Resolved, That the general government of the United States ought never to impose direct taxes, but where the moneys arising from the duties, imports, and excise, are insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then until Congress shall have made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisitions; and in case any state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such state’s proportion, together with interest thereon, at the rate of six per centum per annum, from the time of payment prescribed by such requisition.

Resolved, That the third section of the sixth article ought to be amended, by inserting the word “other” between the words “no” and “religious.”

Resolved, That it be a standing instruction to all such delegates as may hereafter be elected to represent this state in the general government, to exert their utmost abilities and influence to effect an alteration of the Constitution, conformably to the aforegoing resolutions.

Done in Convention, the 23d day of May, in the year of our Lord 1788, and of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

THOMAS PINCKNEY, President. [L. S.]

Attest. John Sandford Dart, Secretary.

[L. S.]

9. STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE.

In Convention of the Delegates of the People of the State of New Hampshire, June the 21st, 1788.

The Convention having impartially discussed and fully considered the Constitution for the United States of America, reported to Congress by the Convention of Delegates from the United States of America, and submitted to us by a resolution of the General Court of said state, passed the 14th day of December last past, and acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Supreme Ruler of the universe in affording the people of the United States, in the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud of surprise, of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with each other, by assenting to and ratifying a new Constitution, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to themselves and their posterity,—Do, in the name and behalf of the people of the state of New Hampshire, assent to and ratify the said Constitution for the United States of America. And as it is the opinion of this Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution would remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many of the good people of this state, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of the federal government,—The Convention do therefore recommend that the following alterations and provisions be introduced in the said Constitution:—

I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly and particularly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the several states, to be by them exercised.

II. That there shall be one representative to every thirty thousand persons, according to the census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of representatives amount to two hundred.

III. That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by the fourth section of the first article but in cases when a state shall neglect or refuse to make the regulations therein mentioned, or shall make regulations subversive of the rights of the people to a free and equal representation in Congress; nor shall Congress in any case make regulations contrary to a free and equal representation.

IV. That Congress do not lay direct taxes but when the moneys arising from impost, excise, and their other resources, are insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall have first made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislature of the state shall think best; and in such case, if any state shall neglect, then Congress may assess and levy such state’s proportion, together with the interest thereon, at the rate of six per cent. per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.

V. That Congress shall erect no company of merchants with exclusive advantages of commerce.

VI. That no person shall be tried for any crime by which he may incur an infamous punishment, or loss of life, until he first be indicted by a grand jury, except in such cases as may arise in the government and regulation of the land and naval forces.

VII. All common-law cases between citizens of different states shall be commenced in the common-law courts of the respective states; and no appeal shall be allowed to the federal court, in such cases, unless the sum or value of the thing in controversy amount to three thousand dollars.

VIII. In civil actions between citizens of different states, every issue of fact, arising in actions at common law, shall be tried by jury, if the parties, or either of them, request it.

IX. Congress shall at no time consent that any person, holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall accept any title of nobility, or any other title or office, from any king, prince, or foreign state.

X. That no standing army shall be kept up in time of peace, unless with the consent of three fourths of the members of each branch of Congress; nor shall soldiers, in time of peace, be quartered upon private houses, without the consent of the owners.

XI. Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or to infringe the rights of conscience.

XII. Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have been in actual rebellion.

And the Convention do, in the name and in behalf of the people of this state, enjoin it upon their representatives in Congress, at all times until the alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered agreeably to the fifth article of the said Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the said alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided in the article.

And that the United States in Congress assembled may have due notice of the assent and ratification of the said Constitution by this Convention, it is Resolved, That the assent and ratification aforesaid be engrossed on parchment, together with the recommendation and injunction aforesaid, and with this resolution; and that John Sullivan, Esq., president of the Convention, and John Langdon, Esq., president of the state, transmit the same, countersigned by the secretary of Convention, and the secretary of state, under their hands and seals, to the United States in Congress assembled.

JOHN SULLIVAN, Pres. of the Conv. [L. S.] JOHN LANGDON, Pres. of the State. [L. S.]

John Calf, Secretary of Convention,
Secretary of State.

By Order.

10. VIRGINIA, to wit:

We, the delegates of the people of Virginia, duly elected in pursuance of a recommendation from the General Assembly, and now met in Convention, having fully and freely investigated and discussed the proceedings of the Federal Convention, and being prepared as well as the most mature deliberation hath enabled us, to decide thereon,—Do, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, declare and make known, that the powers granted under the Constitution, being derived from the people of the United States, may be resumed by them, whensoever the same shall be perverted to their injury or oppression, and that every power not granted thereby remains with them, and at their will; that, therefore, no right, of any denomination, can be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by the Congress, by the Senate or House of Representatives, acting in any capacity, by the President, or any department or officer of the United States, except in those instances in which power is given by the Constitution for those purposes; and that, among other essential rights, the liberty of conscience, and of the press, cannot be cancelled, abridged, restrained, or modified, by any authority of the United States. With these impressions, with a solemn appeal to the Searcher of all hearts for the purity of our intentions, and under the conviction that whatsoever imperfections may exist in the Constitution ought rather to be examined in the mode prescribed therein, than to bring the Union into danger by a delay with a hope of obtaining amendments previous to the ratifications,—We, the said delegates, in the name and in behalf of the people of Virginia, do, by these presents, assent to and ratify the Constitution recommended, on the 17th day of September, 1787, by the Federal Convention, for the government of the United States, hereby announcing to all those whom it may concern, that the said Constitution is binding upon the said people, according to an authentic copy hereto annexed, in the words following. [See Constitution.]

Done in Convention, this 26th day of June, 1788.

By order of the Convention.

EDM. PENDLETON, President. [L. S.] [See Debates in Convention, where the Declaration or Bill of Rights, and Amendments, are printed at large.]

11. STATE OF NEW YORK.

We, the delegates of the people of the state of New York, duly elected and met in Convention, having maturely considered the Constitution for the United States of America, agreed to on the 17th day of September, in the year 1787, by the Convention then assembled at Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (a copy whereof precedes these presents,) and having also seriously and deliberately considered the present situation of the United States,—Do declare and make known,—

That all power is originally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people, and that government is instituted by them for their common interest, protection, and security.

That the enjoyment of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, are essential rights, which every government ought to respect and preserve.

That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness; that every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or the departments of the government thereof, remains to the people of the several states, or to their respective state governments, to whom they may have granted the same; and that those clauses in the said Constitution, which declare that Congress shall not have or exercise certain powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any powers not given by the said Constitution; but such clauses are to be construed either as exceptions to certain specified powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

That the people have an equal, natural, and unalienable right freely and peaceably to exercise their religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that no religious sect or society ought to be favored or established by law in preference to others.

That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state.

That the militia should not be subject to martial law, except in time of war, rebellion, or insurrection.

That standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that at all times the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power.

That, in time of peace, no soldier ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war only by the civil magistrate, in such manner as the laws may direct.

That no person ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, or be exiled, or deprived of his privileges, franchises, life, liberty, or property, but by due process of law.

That no person ought to be put twice in jeopardy of life or limb, for one and the same offence; nor, unless in case of impeachment, be punished more than once for the same offence.

That every person restrained of his liberty is entitled to an inquiry into the lawfulness of such restraint, and to a removal thereof if unlawful; and that such inquiry or removal ought not to be denied or delayed, except when, on account of public danger, the Congress shall suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus.

That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

That (except in the government of the land and naval forces, and of the militia when in actual service, and in cases of impeachment) a presentment or indictment by a grand jury ought to be observed as a necessary preliminary to the trial of all crimes cognizable by the judiciary of the United States; and such trial should be speedy, public, and by an impartial jury of the county where the crime was committed; and that no person can be found guilty without the unanimous consent of such jury. But in cases of crimes not committed within any county of any of the United States, and in cases of crimes committed within any county in which a general insurrection may prevail, or which may be in the possession of a foreign enemy, the inquiry and trial may be in such county as the Congress shall by law direct; which county, in the two cases last mentioned, should be as near as conveniently may be to that county in which the crime may have been committed;—and that, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused ought to be informed of the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with his accusers and the witnesses against him, to have the means of producing his witnesses, and the assistance of counsel for his defence; and should not be compelled to give evidence against himself.

That the trial by jury, in the extent that it obtains by the common law of England, is one of the greatest securities to the rights of a free people, and ought to remain inviolate.

That every freeman has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person, his papers, or his property; and therefore, that all warrants to search suspected places, or seize any freeman, his papers, or property, without information, upon oath or affirmation, of sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and that all general warrants (or such in which the place or person suspected are not particularly designated) are dangerous, and ought not to be granted.

That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common good, or to instruct their representatives, and that every person has a right to petition or apply to the legislature for redress of grievances.

That the freedom of the press ought not to be violated or restrained.

That there should be, once in four years, an election of the President and Vice-President, so that no officer, who may be appointed by the Congress to act as President, in case of the removal, death, resignation, or inability, of the President and Vice-President, can in any case continue to act beyond the termination of the period for which the last President and Vice-President were elected.

That nothing contained in the said Constitution is to be construed to prevent the legislature of any state from passing laws at its discretion, from time to time, to divide such state into convenient districts, and to apportion its representatives to and amongst such districts.

That the prohibition contained in the said Constitution, against ex post facto laws, extends only to laws concerning crimes.

That all appeals in causes determinable according to the course of the common law, ought to be by writ of error, and not otherwise.

That the judicial power of the United States, in cases in which a state may be a party, does not extend to criminal prosecutions, or to authorize any suit by any person against a state.

That the judicial power of the United States, as to controversies between citizens of the same state, claiming lands under grants from different states, is not to be construed to extend to any other controversies between them, except those which relate to such lands, so claimed, under grants of different states.

That the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of the United States, or of any other court to be instituted by the Congress, is not in any case to be increased, enlarged, or extended, by any faction, collusion, or mere suggestion; and that no treaty is to be construed so to operate as to alter the Constitution of any state.

Under these impressions, and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution, and in confidence that the amendments which shall have been proposed to the said Constitution will receive an early and mature consideration,—We, the said delegates, in the name and in the behalf of the people of the state of New York, do, by these presents, assent to and ratify the said Constitution. In full confidence, nevertheless, that, until a convention shall be called and convened for proposing amendments to the said Constitution, the militia of this state will not be continued in service out of this state for a longer term than six weeks, without the consent of the legislature thereof; that the Congress will not make or alter any regulation in this state, respecting the times, places, and manner, of holding elections for senators or representatives, unless the legislature of this state shall neglect or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same; and that, in those cases, such power will only be exercised until the legislature of this state shall make provision in the premises; that no excise will be imposed on any article of the growth, production, or manufacture of the United States, or any of them, within this state, ardent spirits excepted; and the Congress will not lay direct taxes within this state, but when the moneys arising from the impost and excise shall be insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall first have made a requisition upon this state to assess, levy, and pay, the amount of such requisition, made agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislature of this state shall judge best; but that in such case, if the state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then the Congress may assess and levy this state’s proportion, together with interest, at the rate of six per centum per annum, from the time at which the same was required to be paid.

Done in Convention, at Poughkeepsie, in the county of Duchess, in the state of New York, the 26th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1788.

By order of the Convention.

GEO. CLINTON, President.

Attested. John M’Kesson, A. B. Banker, Secretaries.

And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of the state of New York, enjoin it upon their representatives in Congress to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable means, to obtain a ratification of the following amendments to the said Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in all laws to be passed by the Congress, in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of the said amendments, as far as the Constitution will admit.

That there shall be one representatives for every thirty thousand inhabitants, according to the enumeration or census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number of representatives amounts to two hundred, after which that number shall be continued or increased, but not diminished, as the Congress shall direct, and according to such ratio as the Congress shall fix, in conformity to the rule prescribed for the apportionment of representatives and direct taxes.

That the Congress do not impose any excise on any article (ardent spirits excepted) of the growth, production, or manufacture of the United States, or any of them.

That Congress do not lay direct taxes but when the moneys arising from the impost and excise shall be insufficient for the public exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall first have made a requisition upon the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislatures of the respective states shall judge best; and in such case, if any state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such state’s proportion, together with interest at the rate of six per centum per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.

That the Congress shall not make or alter any regulation, in any state, respecting the times, places, and manner, of holding elections for senators and representatives, unless the legislature of such state shall neglect or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or from any circumstance be incapable of making the same, and then only until the legislature of such state shall make provision in the premises; provided, that Congress may prescribe the time for the election of representatives.

That no persons, except natural-born citizens, or such as were citizens on or before the 4th day of July, 1776, or such as held commissions under the United States during the war, and have at any time since the 4th day of July, 1776, become citizens of one or other of the United States, and who shall be freeholders, shall be eligible to the places of President, Vice-President, or members of either house of the Congress of the United States.

That the Congress do not grant monopolies, or erect any company with exclusive advantages of commerce.

That no standing army or regular troops shall be raised, or kept up, in time of peace, without the consent of two thirds of the senators and representatives present in each house.

That no money be borrowed on the credit of the United States without the assent of two thirds of the senators and representatives present in each house.

That the Congress shall not declare war without the concurrence of two thirds of the senators and representatives present in each house.

That the privilege of the habeas corpus shall not, by any law, be suspended for a longer term than six months, or until twenty days after the meeting of the Congress next following the passing the act for such suspension.

That the right of Congress to exercise exclusive legislation over such district, not exceeding ten miles square, as may, by cession of a particular state, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of government of the United States, shall not be so exercised as to exempt the inhabitants of such district from paying the like taxes, imposts, duties, and excises, as shall be imposed on the other inhabitants of the state in which such district may be; and that no person shall be privileged within the said district from arrest for crimes committed, or debts contracted, out of the said district.

That the right of exclusive legislation, with respect to such places as may be purchased for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings, shall not authorize the Congress to make any law to prevent the laws of the states, respectively, in which they may be, from extending to such places in all civil and criminal matters, except as to such persons as shall be in the service of the United States; nor to them with respect to crimes committed without such places.

That the compensation for the senators and representatives be ascertained by standing laws; and that no alteration of the existing rate of compensation shall operate for the benefit of the representatives until after a subsequent election shall have been had.

That the Journals of the Congress shall be published at least once a year, with the exception of such parts, relating to treaties or military operations, as, in the judgment of either house, shall require secrecy; and that both houses of Congress shall always keep their doors open during their sessions, unless the business may, in their opinion, require secrecy. That the yeas and nays shall be entered on the Journals whenever two members in either house may require it.

That no capitation tax shall ever be laid by Congress.

That no person be eligible as a senator for more than six years in any term of twelve years; and that the legislatures of the respective states may recall their senators, or either of them, and elect others in their stead, to serve the remainder of the time for which the senators so recalled were appointed.

That no senator or representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any office under the authority of the United States.

That the authority given to the executives of the states to fill up the vacancies of senators be abolished, and that such vacancies be filled by the respective legislatures.

That the power of Congress to pass uniform laws concerning bankruptcy shall only extend to merchants and other traders; and the states, respectively, may pass laws for the relief of other insolvent debtors.

That no person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States a third time.

That the executive shall not grant pardons for treason, unless with the consent of the Congress; but may, at his discretion, grant reprieves to persons convicted of treason, until their cases can be laid before the Congress.

That the President, or person exercising his powers for the time being, shall not command an army in the field in person, without the previous desire of the Congress.

That all letters patent, commissions, pardons, writs, and processes of the United States, shall run in the name of the people of the United States, and be tested in the name of the President of the United States, or the person exercising his powers for the time being, or the first judge of the court out of which the same, shall issue, as the case may be.

That the Congress shall not constitute, ordain, or establish, any tribunals of inferior courts, with any other than appellate jurisdiction, except such as may be necessary for the trial of cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, and for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas; and in all other cases to which the judicial power of the United States extends, and in which the Supreme Court of the United States has not original jurisdiction, the causes shall be heard, tried, and determined, in some one of the state courts, with the right of appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, or other proper tribunal, to be established for that purpose by the Congress, with such exceptions, and under such regulations, as the Congress shall make.

That the court for the trial of impeachments shall consist of the Senate, the judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, and the first or senior judge, for the time being, of the highest court of general and ordinary common-law jurisdiction in each state; that the Congress shall, by standing laws, designate the courts in the respective states answering this description, and, in states having no courts exactly answering this description, shall designate some other court, preferring such, if any there be, whose judge or judges may hold their places during good behavior; provided, that no more than one judge, other than judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, shall come from one state.

That the Congress be authorized to pass laws for compensating the judges for such services, and for compelling their attendance; and that a majority, at least, of the said judges shall be requisite to constitute the said court. That no person impeached shall sit as a member thereof; that each member shall, previous to the entering upon any trial, take an oath or affirmation honestly and impartially to hear and determine the cause; and that a majority of the members present shall be necessary to a conviction.

That persons aggrieved by any judgment, sentence, or decree, of the Supreme Court of the United States, in any cause in which that court has original jurisdiction, with such exceptions, and under such regulations, as the Congress shall make concerning the same, shall, upon application, have a commission, to be issued by the President of the United States to such men learned in the law as he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate appoint, not less than seven, authorizing such commissioners, or any seven or more of them, to correct the errors in such judgment, or to review such sentence and decree, as the case may be, and to do justice to the parties in the premises.

That no judge of the Supreme Court of the United States shall hold any other office under the United States, or any of them.

That the judicial power of the United States shall extend to no controversies respecting land, unless it relate to claims of territory or jurisdiction between states, and individuals under the grants of different states.

That the militia of any state shall not be compelled to serve without the limits of the state, for a longer term than six weeks, without the consent of the legislature thereof.

That the words without the consent of the Congress, in the seventh clause of the ninth section of the first article of the Constitution, be expunged.

That the senators and representatives, and all executive and judicial officers of the United States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation not to infringe or violate the constitutions or rights of the respective states.

That the legislatures of the respective states may make provision, by law, that the electors of the election districts, to be by them appointed, shall choose a citizen of the United States, who shall have been an inhabitant of such district for the term of one year immediately preceding the time of his election, for one the representatives of such state.

Done in Convention, at Poughkeepsie, in the county of Duchess, in the state of New York, the 26th day of July, in the year of our Lord 1788.

By order of the Convention.

GEO. CLINTON, President.

Attested. John M’Kesson, Ab. B. Banker, Secretaries.

12. STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.

In Convention, August 1, 1788.

Resolved, That a declaration of rights, asserting and securing from encroachments the great principles of civil and religious liberty, and the unalienable rights of the people, together with amendments to the most ambiguous and exceptionable parts of the said Constitution of government, ought to be laid before Congress, and the convention of the states that shall or may be called for the purpose of amending the said Constitution, for their consideration, previous to the ratification of the Constitution aforesaid, on the part of the state of North Carolina.

SAM. JOHNSON.

By order. J. Hunt, Secretary.

[See Debates, where the declaration on ratifying the Constitution is published at large.]

The above are the proceedings of the Convention of the twelve states which had been represented in the General Convention. The ratification of New Hampshire, being the ninth in order, was received by Congress on the 2d of July, 1788. The following is an extract from the Journal of that day:—

United States in Congress assembled.

Wednesday, July 2, 1788.

The state of New Hampshire having ratified this Constitution, transmitted to them by the act of the 28th of September last, and transmitted to Congress their ratification, and the same being read, the president reminded Congress that this was the ninth ratification transmitted and laid before them; whereupon,—

On motion of Mr. Clarke, seconded by Mr. Edwards,—

Ordered, That the ratifications of the Constitution of the United States, transmitted to Congress, be referred to a committee to examine the same, and report an act to Congress for putting the said Constitution into operation, in pursuance of the resolutions of the late Federal Convention.

On the question to agree to this order, the yeas and nays being required by Mr. Yates:—

New Hampshire,…… Mr. Gilman,…… Ay.
Mr. Wingate,…… Ay.
Massachusetts,…… Mr. Dane,…… Ay.
Mr. Otis,…… Ay.
Rhode Island,…… Mr. Arnold,…… Excused.
Mr. Hazard,…… Excused.
Connecticut,…… Mr. Huntington,…… Ay.
Mr. Edwards,…… Ay.
New York,…… Mr. L’Hommedieu,…… Ay.
Mr. Yates,…… No.
New Jersey,…… Mr. Clark,…… Ay.
Mr. Elmer,…… Ay.
Mr. Dayton,…… Ay.
Pennsylvania,…… Mr. Bingham,…… Ay.
Mr. Read,…… Ay.
Maryland,…… Mr. Contee,…… Ay.
Virginia,…… Mr. Griffin,…… Ay.
Mr. Carrington,…… Ay.
Mr. Brown,…… Ay.
South Carolina,…… Mr. Huger,…… Ay.
Mr. Parker,…… Ay.
Mr. Tucker,…… Ay.
Georgia,…… Mr. Few,…… Ay.
Mr. Baldwin,…… Ay.

So it passed in the affirmative.

On the 14th of July, 1788, the committee reported an act for putting the Constitution into operation, which was debated until the 13th of September of the same year, when the following resolution was adopted:—

“Whereas the Convention assembled in Philadelphia, pursuant to the resolution of Congress of the 21st of February, 1787, did, on the 17th of September, in the same year, report to the United States in Congress, assembled a Constitution for the people of the United States; whereupon Congress, on the 28th of the same September, did resolve, unanimously, ’That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case;’ and whereas the Constitution so reported by the Convention, and by Congress transmitted to the several legislatures, has been ratified in the manner therein declared to be sufficient for the establishment of the same, and such ratifications, duly authenticated, have been received by Congress, and are filed in the office of the secretary; therefore,—

Resolved, That the first Wednesday in January next be the day for appointing electors in the several states which, before the said day, shall have ratified the said Constitution; that the first Wednesday in February next be the day for the electors to assemble in their respective states, and vote for a President: and that the first Wednesday in March next be the time, and the present seat of Congress the place, for commencing proceedings under the said Constitution.”

The elections of the several states were held conformably to the above resolution. On Wednesday the 4th of March, 1789, proceedings commenced under the Constitution; and on the 30th of April, of the same year, George Washington, elected by the unanimous suffrage of the electors, was inaugurated as President of the United States.

On the 11th of January, 1790, the following ratification of the Constitution, by the state of North Carolina, was communicated by President Washington to both houses of Congress:—

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.

In Convention.

Whereas the General Convention which met in Philadelphia, in pursuance of a recommendation of Congress, did recommend to the citizens of the United States a Constitution or form of government in the following words, namely,—

“We, the people,” &c. [Here follows the Constitution of the United States, verbatim.]

Resolved, That this Convention, in behalf of the freemen, citizens and inhabitants of the state of North Carolina, do adopt and ratify the said Constitution and form of government.

Done in Convention this twenty-first day of November, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(Signed)  SAMUEL JOHNSON,

President of the Convention.

J. Hunt, James Taylor, Secretaries.

On the 16th of June, 1790, the following ratification by the state of Rhode Island was communicated to Congress:—

13. RHODE ISLAND.

[The Constitution of the United States of America precedes the following ratification.] Ratification of the Constitution by the Convention of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.

We, the delegates of the people of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, duly elected and met in Convention, having maturely considered the Constitution for the United States of America, agreed to on the seventeenth day of September, in the year one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, by the Convention then assembled at Philadelphia, in the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, (a copy whereof precedes these presents,) and having also seriously and deliberately considered the present situation of this state, do declare and make known,—

I. That there are certain natural rights of which men, when they form a social compact, cannot deprive or divest their posterity,—among which are the enjoyment of life and liberty, with the means of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

II. That all power is naturally vested in, and consequently derived from, the people; that magistrates, therefore, are their trustees and agents, and at all times amenable to them.

III. That the powers of government may be reassumed by the people whensoever it shall become necessary to their happiness. That the rights of the states respectively to nominate and appoint all state officers, and every other power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by the said Constitution clearly delegated to the Congress of the United States, or to the departments of government thereof, remain to the people of the several states, or their respective state governments, to whom they may have granted the same; and that those clauses in the Constitution which declare that Congress shall not have or exercise certain powers, do not imply that Congress is entitled to any powers not given by the said Constitution; but such clauses are to be construed as exceptions to certain specified powers, or as inserted merely for greater caution.

IV. That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, and not by force and violence; and therefore all men have a natural, equal, and unalienable right to the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience; and that no particular religious sect or society ought to be favored or established, by law, in preference to others.

V. That the legislative, executive, and judiciary powers of government should be separate and distinct; and, that the members of the two first may be restrained from oppression, by feeling and participating the public burdens, they should, at fixed periods, be reduced to a private station, returned into the mass of the people, and the vacancies be supplied by certain and regular elections, in which all or any part of the former members to be eligible or ineligible, as the rules of the constitution of government and the laws shall direct.

VI. That elections of representatives in legislature ought to be free and frequent; and all men having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, ought to have the right of suffrage; and no aid, charge, tax, or fee, can be set, rated, or levied, upon the people without their own consent, or that of their representatives so elected, nor can they be bound by any law to which they have not in like manner consented for the public good.

VII. That all power of suspending laws, or the execution of laws, by any authority, without the consent of the representatives of the people in the legislature, is injurious to their rights, and ought not to be exercised.

VIII. That, in all capital and criminal prosecutions, a man hath the right to demand the cause and nature of his accusation, to be confronted with the accusers and witnesses, to call for evidence, and be allowed counsel in his favor, and to a fair and speedy trial by an impartial jury in his vicinage, without whose unanimous consent he cannot be found guilty, (except in the government of the land and naval forces,) nor can he be compelled to give evidence against himself.

IX. That no freeman ought to be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, privileges, or franchises, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by the trial by jury, or by the law of the land.

X. That every freeman restrained of his liberty is entitled to a remedy, to inquire into the lawfulness thereof, and to remove the same if unlawful, and that such remedy ought not to be denied or delayed.

XI. That in controversies respecting property, and in suits between man and man, the ancient trial by jury, as hath been exercised by us and our ancestors, from the time whereof the memory of man is not to the contrary, is one of the greatest securities to the rights of the people, and ought to remain sacred and inviolable.

XII. That every freeman ought to obtain right and justice, freely and without sale completely and without denial, promptly and without delay; and that all establishments or regulations contravening these rights are oppressive and unjust.

XIII. That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.

XIV. That every person has a right to be secure from all unreasonable searches and seizures of his person his papers, or his property; and therefore, that all warrants to search suspected places, to seize any person, his papers, or his property, without information upon oath or affirmation of sufficient cause, are grievous and oppressive; and that all general warrants (or such in which the place or person suspected are not particularly designated) are dangerous, and ought not to be granted.

XV. That the people have a right peaceably to assemble together to consult for their common good, or to instruct their representatives; and that every person has a right to petition or apply to the legislature for redress of grievances.

XVI. That the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments. That freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty, and ought not to be violated.

XVII. That the people have a right to keep and bear arms; that a well-regulated militia, including the body of the people capable of bearing arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defence of a free state; that the militia shall not be subject to martial law, except in time of war, rebellion, or insurrection; that standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity; and that, at all times, the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power; that, in time of peace, no soldier ought to be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, and in time of war only by the civil magistrates, in such manner as the law directs.

XVIII. That any person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms ought to be exempted upon payment of an equivalent to employ another to bear arms in his stead.

Under these impressions, and declaring that the rights aforesaid cannot be abridged or violated, and that the explanations aforesaid are consistent with the said Constitution, and in confidence that the amendments hereafter mentioned will receive an early and mature consideration, and, conformably to the fifth article of said Constitution, speedily become a part thereof,—We, the said delegates, in the name and in the behalf of the people of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do, by these presents, assent to and ratify the said Constitution. In full confidence, nevertheless, that, until the amendments hereafter proposed and undermentioned shall be agreed to and ratified, pursuant to the aforesaid fifth article, the militia of this state will not be continued in service out of this state, for a longer term than six weeks, without the consent of the legislature thereof; that the Congress will not make or alter any regulation in this state respecting the times, places, and manner, of holding elections for senators or representatives, unless the legislature of this state shall neglect or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or, from any circumstance, be incapable of making the same; and that, in those cases, such power will only be exercised until the legislature of this state shall make provision in the premises; that the Congress will not lay direct taxes within this state, but when the moneys arising from impost, tonnage, and excise, shall be insufficient for the public exigencies, nor until the Congress shall have first made a requisition upon this state to assess, levy, and pay, the amount of such requisition made agreeable to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such way and manner as the legislature of this state shall judge best; and that Congress will not lay any capitation or poll tax.

Done in Convention, at Newport, in the county of Newport, in the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and in the fourteenth year of the independence of the United States of America.

By order of the Convention.

(Signed)

DANIEL OWEN, President.

Attest. Daniel Updike, Secretary.

And the Convention do, in the name and behalf of the people of the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, enjoin it upon the senators and representative or representatives, which may be elected to represent this state in Congress, to exert all their influence, and use all reasonable means, to obtain a ratification of the following amendments to the said Constitution, in the manner prescribed therein; and in all laws to be passed by the Congress in the mean time, to conform to the spirit of the said amendments, as far as the Constitution will admit.

Amendments.

I. The United States shall guaranty to each state its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Constitution expressly delegated to the United States.

II. That Congress shall not alter, modify, or interfere in, the times, places, or manner, of holding elections for senators and representatives, or either of them, except when the legislature of any state shall neglect, refuse, or be disabled, by invasion or rebellion, to prescribe the same, or in case when the provision made by the state is so imperfect as that no consequent election is had, and then only until the legislature of such state shall make provision in the premises.

III. It is declared by the Convention, that the judicial power of the United States, in cases in which a state may be a party, does not extend to criminal prosecutions, or to authorize any suit by any person against a state; but, to remove all doubts or controversies respecting the same, that it be especially expressed, as a part of the Constitution of the United States, that Congress shall not, directly or indirectly, either by themselves or through the judiciary, interfere with any one of the states, in the redemption of paper money already emitted, and now in circulation, or in liquidating and discharging the public securities of any one state; that each and every state shall have the exclusive right of making such laws and regulations for the before-mentioned purpose as they shall think proper.

IV. That no amendments to the Constitution of the United States, hereafter to be made, pursuant to the fifth article, shall take effect, or become a part of the Constitution of the United States, after the year one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three, without the consent of eleven of the states heretofore united under the Confederation.

V. That the judicial powers of the United States shall extend to no possible case where the cause of action shall have originated before the ratification of this Constitution, except in disputes between states about their territory, disputes between persons claiming lands under grants of different states, and debts due to the United States.

VI. That no person shall be compelled to do military duty otherwise than by voluntary enlistment, except in cases of general invasion; any thing in the second paragraph of the sixth article of the Constitution, or any law made under the Constitution, to the contrary notwithstanding.

VII. That no capitation or poll tax shall ever be laid by Congress.

VIII. In cases of direct taxes, Congress shall first make requisitions on the several states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such requisitions, in such way and manner as the legislatures of the several states shall judge best; and in case any state shall neglect or refuse to pay its proportion, pursuant to such requisition, then Congress may assess and levy such state’s proportion, together with interest, at the rate of six per cent. per annum, from the time prescribed in such requisition.

IX. That Congress shall lay no direct taxes without the consent of the legislatures of three fourths of the states in the Union.

X. That the Journal of the proceedings of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be published as soon as conveniently may be, at least once in every year; except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances, or military operations, as in their judgment require secrecy.

XI. That regular statements of the receipts and expenditures of all public moneys shall be published at least once a year.

XII. As standing armies, in time of peace, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be kept up, except in cases of necessity, and as, at all times, the military should be under strict subordination to the civil power, that, therefore, no standing army or regular troops shall be raised or kept up in time of peace.

XIII. That no moneys be borrowed, on the credit of the United States, without the assent of two thirds of the senators and representatives present in each house.

XIV. That the Congress shall not declare war without the concurrence of two thirds of the senators and representatives present in each house.

XV. That the words “without the consent of Congress,” in the seventh clause in the ninth section of the first article of the Constitution, be expunged.

XVI. That no judge of the Supreme Court of the United States shall hold any other office under the United States, or any of them; nor shall any officer appointed by Congress, or by the President and Senate of the United States, be permitted to hold any office under the appointment of any of the states.

XVII. As a traffic tending to establish or continue the slavery of any part of the human species is disgraceful to the cause of liberty and humanity, that Congress shall, as soon as may be, promote and establish such laws and regulations as may effectually prevent the importation of slaves of every description into the United States.

XVIII. That the state legislatures have power to recall, when they think it expedient, their federal senators, and to send others in their stead.

XIX. That Congress have power to establish a uniform rule of inhabitancy or settlement of the poor of the different states throughout the United States.

XX. That Congress erect no company with exclusive advantages of commerce.

XXI. That when two members shall move and call for the ayes and nays on any question, they shall be entered on the Journals of the houses respectively.

Done in Convention, at Newport, in the county of Newport, in the state of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, the twenty-ninth day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety, and the 14th year of the independence of the United States of America.

By order of the Convention.

(Signed)

DANIEL OWEN, President.

Attest. Daniel Updike, Secretary.

On the 9th of February, 1791, the following acts of the state of Vermont, relating to the Constitution, were communicated to Congress:—

14. STATE OF VERMONT.

An Act to authorize the People of this State to meet in Convention, to deliberate upon and agree to the Constitution of the United States.

Whereas, in the opinion of this legislature, the future interest and welfare of this state render it necessary that the Constitution of the United States of America, as agreed to by the Convention at Philadelphia, on the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, with the several amendments and alterations, as the same has been established by the United States, should be laid before the people of this state for their approbation,—

It is hereby enacted, by the General Assembly of the state of Vermont, That the first constable in each town shall warn the inhabitants, who, by law, are entitled to vote for representatives in General Assembly, in the same manner as they warn free men’s meetings, to meet in their respective towns on the first Tuesday of December next, at ten o’clock, forenoon, at the several places fixed by law for holding the annual election; and when so met they shall proceed, in the same manner as in the election of representatives, to choose some suitable person, from each town, to serve as a delegate in a state convention, for the purpose of deliberating upon and agreeing to the Constitution of the United States as now established; and the said constable shall certify to the said convention the person so chosen in the manner aforesaid. And,

It is hereby further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the persons so elected to serve in state convention, as aforesaid, do assemble and meet together on the first Thursday of January next at Bennington, then and there to deliberate upon the aforesaid Constitution of the United States, and if approved of by them, finally to assent to and ratify the same, in behalf and on the part of the people of this state, and make report thereof to the governor of this state for the time being, to be by him communicated to the President of the United States, and the legislature of this state.

State of Vermont. Secretary’s Office, Bennington, Jan. 21, 1791.

The preceding is a true copy of an act passed by the legislature of the state of Vermont, the twenty-seventh day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and ninety.                        ROSWELL HOPKINS, Secretary of State.

In Convention of the Delegates of the People of the State of Vermont.

Whereas, by an act of the commissioners of the state of New York, done at New York, the seventeenth day of October, in the fifteenth year of the independence of the United States of America, one thousand seven hundred and ninety, every impediment, as well on the part of the state of New York as on the part of the state of Vermont, to the admission of the state of Vermont into the Union of the United States of America, is removed; in full faith and assurance that the same will stand approved and ratified by Congress,—

This Convention, having impartially deliberated upon the Constitution of the United States of America, as now established, submitted to us by an act of the General Assembly of the state of Vermont, passed October the twenty-seventh, one thousand seven hundred and ninety,—Do, in virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, fully and entirely approve of, assent to, and ratify, the said Constitution; and declare that, immediately from and after this state shall be admitted by the Congress into the Union, and to a full participation of the benefits of the government now enjoyed by the states in the Union, the same shall be binding on us, and the people of the state of Vermont, forever.

Done at Bennington, in the county of Bennington, the tenth day of January, in the fifteenth year of the independence of the United States of America, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-one.

In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

(Signed)

THOMAS CHITTENDEN, President.

Signed by one hundred and five members—dissented four.

Attest. Roswell Hopkins, Secretary of Convention.

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Contents

Introduction

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.

View Interactive

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