Day-by-Day Summary of the Convention
What happened at the Constitutional Convention? Who was there? Check out our Day-by-Day Summary!
Links to Referenced Documents
- The Rules of the Convention
- The Virginia Plan
- The New Jersey Plan
- Revised Virginia Plan
- The Hamilton Plan
- Federalist 63
- Gerry Committee Report
- Committee of Detail Report
The Constitutional Convention, May 1787
|Monday||May 14||Date fixed for start of Convention. |
Only eight delegates are present.
|Friday||May 25||1. Convened and elected officers. (Washington as President, William Jackson as Secretary). |
2. Chose a committee to prepare rules. (Wythe, Hamilton, and C. Pinckney)
|Monday||May 28||1. Committee on Rules reported. 16 rules were adopted and additional suggested rules referred to the committee.|
|Tuesday||May 29||1. Committee on Rules reported and 5 additional rules, including secrecy, were adopted. |
2. Randolph submitted and defended a set of Fifteen Resolutions, known as The Virginia Plan.
3. The Convention agreed to meet the following day as a Committee of The Whole.
|Wednesday||May 30||1. The Convention resolves itself into Committee of the Whole; Gorham in the Chair. |
2. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:
Resolution 1: After discussion, agreed (6 – 1 – 1) that a national government consisting of a supreme legislature, judiciary, and executive should be formed (Connecticut voting against, New York divided).
Resolution 2: Discussed whether representation should be based on population or the amount of each State’s financial contribution.
|Thursday||May 31||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 3: Decided on a bicameral legislature.
Resolution 4a: Agreed (6 – 2 – 2) on election of First Branch by the people.
Resolution 5a: Defeated (7 – 3) Second Branch elected by the First Branch.
— Madison’s reaction: “a chasm (was) left in this part of the plan.”
— Sherman’s suggestion: “election of one member by each of the State Legislatures.”
Resolution 6: Agreed that either house could initiate legislation. Agreed to incompetence clause and negative on State laws.
The Constitutional Convention, June 1787
|Friday||June 1||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 7: Agreed to institute a national Executive with power to carry into effect the national laws and to appoint officers not otherwise provided for.
— Agreed (5 – 4 – 1) on a seven-year term for Executive.
— Postponed consideration of single or plural Executive.
|Saturday||June 2||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 7: Confusing day on the Executive.
— Agreed to selection of Executive by Legislature.
— Agreed (8 – 2) on seven-year term, and ineligibility after one term (7 – 2 – 1).
— Defeated (9 – 1) Dickinson’s motion that Executive be subject to impeachment.
— Franklin: Executive should receive no salary. (Motion postponed)
|Monday||June 4||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 7: Another confusing day on the Executive.
— Agreed (7 – 3) on single Executive.
Resolution 8: Council of Revision postponed.
— Agreed (8 – 2) to give Executive a veto over legislation subject to override by 2/3 of each branch of Legislature.
Resolution 9: Agreed to establish a National Judiciary consisting of a Supreme Court and one or more inferior tribunals. (Compare with July 21 and August 15.)
|Tuesday||June 5||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 9: Agreed to delete “one or more” and change to “a Supreme Court and inferior tribunals.”
— Debated judicial selection and postponed decision, but agreed (8 – 2) to reject approval of judicial appointments by Legislature.
— Agreed on judicial tenure during good behavior.
— Agreed on a salary provision.
— Reconsidered inferior tribunals and agreed to eliminate reference to them, then agreed to empower the Legislature to establish such courts.
Resolution 10: Agreed (8 – 2) on admitting new states (on equal footing with original states).
Resolution 11: Postponed republican guarantee clause until representation is settled.
Resolution 12: Passed (8 – 2) an Interim Government provision.
Resolution 13: Postponed (7 – 3).
Resolution 14: Postponed (6 – 4 – 1) (New Jersey not voting).
Resolution 15: Postponed.
|Wednesday||June 6||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 4a: Defeated (8 – 3) motion to have State Legislature elect First Branch of National Legislature.
— Sherman: “The people are more happy in small than large states.” His argument invokes the traditional understanding of republicanism.
— Madison: We need to “enlarge the sphere.” His argument points back to “Vices” and forward to Federalist 10.
|Thursday||June 7||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 5a: Agreed (11 – 0) to a proposal by Dickinson and Sherman that the State Legislatures elect the Second Branch of the National Legislature.
— Madison and Dickinson differ on the purpose of the Senate.
|Friday||June 8||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 6: Defeated (7 – 3 – 1) a motion by Madison and C. Pinckney to extend the Congressional negative to all state laws.
|Saturday||June 9||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 7: Defeated (10 – 1) a motion by Gerry that State Executives elect the National Executive.
Resolution 4a: Debated voting procedures within the National Legislature.
|Monday||June 11||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 4a: Return to National Representation.
— 3/5 clause introduced; Decided (9 – 2) that representation in First Branch of the National Legislature should be based on free population plus 3/5 of all other persons.
— Sherman and Ellsworth (both from Connecticut) propose one State one vote in Senate.
— Disagreed (6 – 5) that each state should be equally represented in Senate.
Resolution 5a: Agreed (6 – 5) that representation in the Second Branch should also be proportional plus 3/5 of all others persons.
Resolution 13: Discussed.
Resolution 14: Agreed (6 – 5) to require oaths to observe the National Constitution and National laws by State officers.
|Tuesday||June 12||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 15: Agreed (5 – 3 – 2) to refer Constitution to the people of the several states for ratification. (Pennsylvania not voting)
Resolution 4b: Agreed (7 – 4) on three-year terms for First Branch of National Legislature
Resolution 4c: Struck out, without discussion, rotation and recall provisions, ending a republican tradition.
Resolution 4d: Agreed (8 – 3) to provide “Liberal compensation for members of the First Branch to be paid from the National Treasury.”
Resolution 4e: Agreed (8 – 1 – 2) to make members of the First Branch ineligible for offices under the National Government for one year after leaving the office.
Resolution 5b,c: Agreed to require a minimum age of 30 (7 – 4) and a seven-year term for Senators (8 – 1 – 2).
Resolution 5d: Defeated (7 – 3 – 1) no pay for Senators.
Resolution 9: Discussed and postponed the jurisdiction to be given the Supreme Court.
|Wednesday||June 13||1. Discussed Virginia Plan Resolutions:|
Resolution 9: Agreed that the jurisdiction of the National Judiciary should extend to cases that respect the collection of the national revenue, impeachment of any national officers, and questions involving the national peace and harmony.
— Agreed that the Supreme Court should be appointed by the Senate.
Resolution 6: Rejected (8 – 3) a motion requiring money bills to originate in the first branch of the Legislature.
2. Agreed to vote on Revised Virginia Plan with 19 Resolutions.
|Thursday||June 14||1. New Jersey requested postponement of the Revised Virginia Plan to present an alternative plan.|
|Friday||June 15||1. Patterson from New Jersey submitted 9 Resolutions.|
|Saturday||June 16||1. New Jersey Plan debated.|
|Monday||June 18||1. Hamilton Plan introduced. Sketch of a very strong central government.|
|Tuesday||June 19||1. In Committee of The Whole; defeated (6 – 4 – 1) Dickinson’s motion to defer consideration of New Jersey Plan. |
2. Heard Madison’s 8 Arguments against New Jersey Plan.
3. Defeated New Jersey Plan (7 – 3 – 1).
|Wednesday||June 20||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 1 & 2: Debated the issue of a two-house legislature.
Revised Resolution 2: Defeated (6 – 4 – 1) a motion to consider vesting the powers of legislation in a one-house Congress.
|Thursday||June 21||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 2: Resumed discussion of the legislature and resolved (7 – 3 – 1) that it should have two branches.
Revised Resolution 3: Considered method of electing First Branch.
— Defeated (6 – 4 – 1) a motion for election as stated by State Legislatures and agreed (9 – 1 – 1) to popular election.
Revised Resolution 3b: Discussed length of term of First Branch.
— Agreed (7 – 3 – 1) to strike “three years” and agreed nem. con. on two years.
|Friday||June 22||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 3c: Defeated (7 – 2 – 2) a motion to permit the First Branch to determine its pay.
Revised Resolution 3d: Defeated (5 – 4 – 2) a motion to strike the National Treasury as the source of pay.
Revised Resolution 3: Agreed (7 – 3 – 1) on minimum age of 25 for members of the House.
— Discussed making members ineligible for other state or national office during their own term of office plus one year after leaving office.
— Defeated (4 – 4 – 3) a motion to strike.
|Saturday||June 23||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 3: Defeated (5 – 5 – 1) a motion by Butler to provide House members with adequate compensation from the National Treasury.
— Agreed (8 – 3) to strike ineligibility of House members for other Federal Offices.
|Monday||June 25||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 4: Agreed (5 – 5 – 1) to change “Second Branch of the National Legislature” to “Second Branch of the United States Legislature.”
Revised Resolution 5: Agreed (9 – 2) to election of the Second Branch by State Legislatures.
Revised Resolution 4b: Agreed unanimously to minimum age of 30 for Senators.
|Tuesday||June 26||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 4: Resumed discussion of Senate terms.
— Defeated (8 – 3) 9-year terms with triennial rotation.
— Approved (7 – 4) 6 years with biennial rotation.
Revised Resolution 4: Agreed (10 – 1) that members should “receive a compensation for the devotion of their time to the Public service.”
— Disagreed (6 – 5) that State Treasuries should pay Senators.
— Discussed and agreed unanimously on eligibility for other Federal and State offices.
2. Madison outlines two theories of the Senate. See Federalist 63.
|Wednesday||June 27||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 6: Postponed.
Revised Resolution 7: Discussed “the right of suffrage in the first branch.”
Revised Resolution 8: Discussed “the right of suffrage in the second branch” to be the same as the first branch.
2. L. Martin delivers a three-hour “desultory” speech, the substance of which was “that an equal vote in each State was essential to the federal idea, and was founded in justice & freedom, not merely in policy.”
|Thursday||June 28||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 7: Resumed discussion on representation in the First Branch.
Revised Resolution 8: Resumed discussion on representation in the Second Branch.
2. L. Martin continued his speech from the previous day, “contending that the General Government ought to be formed for the States, not individuals.”
3. Madison and Wilson oppose Martin’s argument.
4. Franklin, disturbed by “the small progress we have made after 4 or 5 weeks,” calls for “prayers imploring the assistance of heaven.”
|Friday||June 29||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 7: Approved (6 – 4 – 1) proportional representation in the House.
— Approved (9 – 2) a motion to postpone consideration of the rest of Resolution 7, representation by States in Second Branch.
Revised Resolution 8: Ellsworth introduces “Connecticut Compromise Motion”: Equal representation in Second Branch with proportional representation in First Branch.
|Saturday||June 30||1. Defeated (5 – 2 – 1) resolution to ask New Hampshire to send its delegates. |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:
Revised Resolution 8: Madison claims the great divide in American politics is “having or not having slaves” rather than large and small states.
3. Davie suggested, “we were partly federal, partly national in our Union.”
The Constitutional Convention, July 1787
|Monday||July 2||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 8: Tied (5 – 5 – 1) on Ellsworth’s motion giving each state one vote in Senate and proportional representation in House. Voted (9 – 2) to commit the question.
2. Voted (10 – 1) to commit to committee of one member from each state. Gerry chaired committee made up of Gerry, Ellsworth, Yates, Paterson, Franklin, Bedford, L. Martin, Mason, Davie, Rutledge, and Baldwin. “That time may be given to the committee, and to such as chuse to attend to the celebrations of the Anniversary of Independence,” the Convention adjourned till Thursday
|Tuesday||July 3||1. Gerry Committee met to work on the questions of the previous day.|
|Wednesday||July 4||Independence Day observed. Delegates attend Race Street Church (also known as First Reformed Church) on Fourth and Race Streets to hear annual oration on the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence given by Mr. Mitchell, a student of law.|
|Thursday||July 5||1. Received a Report from the Gerry Committee: |
— Representation in First Branch by population (1:40,000).
— Representation in Second Branch to give each State an equal vote.
— Money Bills to originate in First Branch and not subject to amendment in Second Branch.
|Friday||July 6||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Gerry justifies Report; “We were neither the same nation nor different nations.”
— Agreed (7 – 3 – 1) to commit the question of 1:40,000 representation in the First Branch to the Morris Committee made up of G. Morris, Gorham, Randolph, Rutledge, and King.
— Agreed (5 – 3 – 3) to retain money bills provision.
|Saturday||July 7||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Took up question of equal vote for each state in Second Branch and agreed (6 – 3 – 2) to retain this provision.
— Gerry; “The new Government would be partly national, partly federal.”
|Monday||July 9||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Morris Committee suggested approval of the population formula (1:40,000).
— Second paragraph of Gerry Committee Report was approved (9 – 2).
— The first paragraph was referred to an eleven-man committee (9 – 2).
|Tuesday||July 10||1. Received report from the Eleven Member Committee: allocating 65 representatives among the 13 States for the House. |
2. Delegates Yates and Lansing from New York left the Convention and explained their reasons to Governor Clinton of New York.
|Wednesday||July 11||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Inconclusive discussion on periodical censuses.
— Defeated (7 – 3) motion to strike out “3/5” for “all.” G. Morris “could never agree to give such encouragement to the slave trade.”
— Defeated (6 – 4) a motion “to include 3/5 of the blacks.”
|Thursday||July 12||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Approved (5 – 4 – 1) a motion to have a census within 6 years of the First Congress.
— Defeated (7 – 3) a motion for succeeding censuses every 20 years.
— Agreed (8 – 2) on a census every 10 years.
— Defeated (8 – 2) a motion “for rating blacks as equal to whites, instead of as 3/5.”
— Approved (6 – 2 – 2) a motion to proportion direct taxes to representation, “both to the white and 3/5 of the black inhabitants.”
|Friday||July 13||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Approved (5 – 4 – 1) a motion to proportion direct taxes to the number of representatives until the first census.
— Agreed (9 – 0 – 1) that the Legislature can regulate the number of representatives in accordance with the number of inhabitants
— G. Morris and Butler have a pointed exchange over slavery.
Confederation Congress passes Northwest Ordinance.
|Saturday||July 14||1. Discussed Report from the Gerry Committee:|
— Defeated (5 – 4 – 1) a motion to limit representation of new western states.
— Discussed equal vote for each State in Second Branch with money bills originating in First Branch. Madison argues against the “partly federal, partly national” accommodation. C. Pinckney moved “that instead of an equality of votes” there should be proportional representation in Senate. Defeated (4 – 6).
|Monday||July 16||1. Agreed (5 – 4 – 1) to Gerry Committee Report (House proportional, Senate equal representation for each State, and money bills originating in the First Branch and unamendable by the Second Branch. This is also known as the Connecticut Compromise.) |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:
— Revised Resolution 6b: Began consideration of the proposal to give Congress the authority in all cases to which the separate states are incompetent.
|Tuesday||July 17||1. The delegates from large States caucused to decide whether to challenge equal representation in the Senate. They decided not to challenge the compromise. |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:
Revised Resolution 6b: Resumed consideration of the powers to be given Congress.
— Agreed (6 – 4) to a motion to include the power to legislate in all cases for the general interests of the Union and in those cases where States are separately incompetent.
Revised Resolution 6c: Defeated (7 – 3) negative of State Laws.
— Madison thought the negative “essential;” L. Martin considered it “improper.”
Revised Resolution 6c: Motion by L. Martin to make laws and treaties supreme law of the respective States approved, nem. con.
Revised Resolution 9: Began consideration of an independent Executive. Agreed (10 – 0) on single Executive.
— Defeated (9 – 1) election by citizens of the United States.
— Defeated (8 – 2) election by electors appointed by State Legislatures.
— Approved (10 – 0) election by Legislature.
— Postponed decision on 7-year term.
— Defeated (6 – 4) ineligibility requirement.
— Defeated (6 – 4) a motion to insert holding office “during good behavior” in place of “seven years.”
— Defeated (6 – 4) a motion to strike “seven years.”
|Wednesday||July 18||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 9: Agreed to reconsider ineligibility of executive for a second term (8 – 0, New Jersey and Georgia not voting).
— Agreed to Executive Veto with 2/3 override.
Revised Resolution 11: Began consideration of Judiciary.
— Defeated (6 – 2) motion for appointment by Executive.
— Defeated (4 – 4) motion for Executive nomination and appointment on advice and consent of Second Branch.
Revised Resolution 12: Agreed (9 – 0) to let Legislature create inferior tribunals (New Jersey voting).
— Agreed “that the jurisdiction shall extend to all cases arising under the national laws and to such other questions as may involve the national peace and harmony,” nem con.
Revised Resolutions 12 – 16: Agreed to admit new States with the consent of less than the whole of the National Legislature.
— Began consideration of continuing the Confederation during the transitional period.
— Took up Guarantee of Republican Government for States.
|Thursday||July 19||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 9: Agreed (10 – 0) to a motion by G. Morris to reconsider the appointment, duration, and eligibility of the Executive.
— Agreed to Ellsworth’s motions to appointment of Executive by electors (6 – 3 – 1) chosen by state legislatures (8 – 2).
— Defeated (8 – 2) ineligibility for re-election.
— Defeated (5 – 3 – 2) 7-year term.
— Agreed (9 – 1) to 6-year term.
|Friday||July 20||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 9: Took up apportionment of electors among the states with a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 3 per state.
— Defeated (7 – 3) motion to add an elector for New Hampshire and Georgia.
— Agreed (6 – 4) to Gerry’s allocation of 1 to 3 per State.
— Agreed (8 – 2) to make Executive removable by impeachment. Franklin saw impeachment as the peaceful republican alternative to assassination under despotism.
— Agreed on fixed compensation, nem con.
— Agreed (9 – 1) to be paid out of National Treasury.
|Saturday||July 21||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolutions 10, 11: Wilson and Madison argued unsuccessfully on behalf of reinstating original Council of Revision.
— Rejected (4 – 3 – 2) motion to join Judiciary with Executive in the exercise of veto power (New Jersey not voting, Pennsylvania and Georgia divided).
— Agreed (9 – 0) on qualified Executive Veto.
— Resumed consideration of Judicial appointment.
— Defeated (6 – 3) Executive appointment unless Senate disagrees.
— Approved (6 – 3) selection by Senate alone.
|Monday||July 23||1. New Hampshire Delegates John Langdon and Nicolas Gilman arrive. |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan
Revised Resolution 17, 18: Agreed unanimously on requiring oaths by both national and state officials to support the Articles of Union.
Revised Resolution 19: Began discussion of ratification. Discussed Resolution 19 of June 13: “The amendments which shall be offered to the Confederation by the Convention ought at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress, to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the People to consider and decide thereon.”
— Defeated (7 – 3) motion by Ellsworth and Paterson to amend it to have new Constitution referred to State Legislatures for ratification.
— Agreed (9 – 1) to referral to conventions of the people.
Revised Resolution 9: Agreed (7 – 3) to reconsider election of Executive.
4. Agreed to refer Revised Resolutions to a Committee of 5 members to be named ton the following day.
|Tuesday||July 24||1. Chose Rutledge, Randolph, Gorham Ellsworth, and Wilson to the Committee of Detail. |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan
Revised Resolution 9: Reconsidered choice of Executive by electors.
— Approved (7 – 4) appointment by national legislature.
|Wednesday||July 25||1. Defeated (6 – 5) resolution to let members have copies of the Revised Resolutions of the Virginia Plan during the break. |
2. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:
Revised Resolution 9: Resumed discussion on election of Executive.
— Madison compared and contrasted the four proposals for electing the Executive.
|Thursday||July 26||1. Discussed Revised Virginia Plan:|
Revised Resolution 9: Resumed discussion on election of Executive and approved (7 – 3) a 7-year term with ineligibility for re-election.
— Agreed (6 – 3 – 1) to the whole resolution on Executive.
2. James Wilson reminds participants “We are providing a constitution for future generations, and not merely for the peculiar circumstances of the moment.”
3. Adjourned to Monday, August 6, 1787.
|Friday||July 27||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Saturday||July 28||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Monday||July 30||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Tuesday||July 31||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
The Constitutional Convention, August 1787
|Wednesday||August 1||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Thursday||August 2||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Friday||August 3||The Convention in adjournment while Committee of Detail was at work.|
|Saturday||August 4||The Committee of Detail’s draft was at the printers.|
|Monday||August 6||1. The Convention received the report of the Committee of Detail and adjourned to read the 23 Articles.|
|Tuesday||August 7||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Preamble, Article I, Article II: Agreed (10 – 0)
Article III (two-house legislature): Agreed (7 – 3) to delete reference to mutual veto between houses as already clear.
— Discussed Congress meeting 1st Monday of December annually, and agreed (8 – 2) to add, “unless a different day shall be appointed by law.” Defeated (8 – 2) motion for May meeting instead of December.
— Agreed to Article III as amended.
Article IV, Section 1 (House elections): Ellsworth and Mason object to the attempt by G. Morris and Dickinson to impose electoral restrictions.
— Defeated (7 – 1 – 1) more restrictive freehold qualifications on the electors.
|Wednesday||August 8||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
— Agreed unanimously to Article IV, Section 1 concerning qualifications of the electors: “the qualifications of the electors shall be the same… as those of the electors in the several states, of the most numerous branch of their own legislatures.
Article IV, Section 2 (qualifications of House members): Agreed (10 – 1) to 7 instead of 3 years citizenship.
— Agreed to substitute “inhabitant” instead of “resident;” defeated motions to require 3 years (9 – 2) and 1 year (6 – 4 – 1) of residence, and approved the section (11 – 0).
Article IV, Section 3 (initial representation in the House): Agreed to 65 members in House from the first Congress until the first census
Article IV, Section 4 (future apportionment of House): Agreed (9 – 2) to insert “not exceeding” before 40,000.
— Considered the last clause of Section 4: “The Legislature shall… regulate the number of representatives by the number of inhabitants… at the rate of one for every forty thousand.”
— Defeated (10 – 1) a motion by G. Morris to insert “free” before inhabitants. Morris: “Slavery … was a nefarious institution.”
— Agreed to add provision by Dickinson for at least one representative in the House for each state.
Article IV, Section 5 (money bills): Approved motion to strike requirement that they originate in the House (7 – 4), thus challenging the Connecticut Compromise. Pinckney, G. Morris, and Madison carry the day on this motion and Mason objects.
|Thursday||August 9||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article IV, Section 6 (sole power of impeachment, choose its own speaker), Section 7 (filling vacancies): Approved
Article V, Section 1 (selection of Senators and provision for vacancies): Defeated (8 – 1 – 1) motion to strike executive appointment to vacancies.
— Agreed to give each Senator one vote and each state two members.
Article V, Section 2: Agreed, nem. con.
Article V, Section 3 (qualifications): 30 years old, citizen for 4 years, resident.
— Defeated motions to require 14 years of citizenship (7 – 4) and 13 years of citizenship (7 – 4). Defeated 10 years (7 – 4) and agreed to 9 years (6 – 4 – 1).
— Substituted “inhabitant” for “resident.”
Article V, Section 4 (Senate shall choose its own officers): approved.
Article VI, Section 1 (times and places of election): amended and approved.
Article IV, Section 5 (Money Bills): Randolph objects to its defeat.
|Friday||August 10||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article IV, Section 2 (giving Legislature authority to establish property qualification for members): Reheard.
— Pinckney suggested property qualifications of $100,000 for President and $25,000 for Representatives. Motion rejected on voice vote.
Article IV, Section 2 (House residence requirement): Reconsidered (6 – 5) and substituted 3 years for 7 at the request of James Wilson.
Article VI, Section 3 (Quorum requirements): Added power to compel attendance of absent members (10 – 0 – 1).
Article VI, Section 4 (each House to judge qualifications and elections of its members): Agreed
Article VI, Section 5 (freedom of debate): passed nem. con.
Article VI, Section 6 (rules, punishment for disorderly behavior, expulsion of members): Agreed (10 – 0 – 1) to require 2/3 vote for expulsion.
Article VI, Section 7 (Requiring journal and a record of each vote at request of 1/5 of members present: passed (7 – 3 – 1).
|Saturday||August 11||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VI, Section 7: Continued from previous day
— Agreed (6 – 4 – 1) to non-publication in the Journal of “such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy.”
Article VI, Section 8 (no more than 3-day adjournment without consent of other House nor to a location other than where they are sitting): Amended to preclude adjournment to another place during a session (10 – 1).
Article V, Section 5 (money bills to originate in House, and not be subject to Senate amendment): Reconsidered
— Agreed (8 – 2 – 1) to reconsider the money bills provision of the Connecticut Compromise on Monday.
|Monday||August 13||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article IV, Section 2 (House age and citizenship): Reconsidered
— Defeated (7 – 4) Hamilton’s proposal to eliminate 7-year citizenship requirement. Defeated 9 years (8 – 3), defeated 4 years (8 – 3), defeated 5 years (7 – 3 – 1), and agreed to the section as reported.
Article V, Section 3 (age and citizenship for Senators): Reconsidered
— Defeated (8 – 3) motion to reduce 9 years to 7.
Article IV, Section 5 (money bills): Reconsidered
— After extensive debate, defeated (7 – 4) Randolph’s motion to reinstate exclusive power to originate in House. Washington supported Randolph on prudential grounds.
— Defeated (4 – 7) proposition that money bills originate in House and not be subject to Senate amendment.
— Dickinson suggested, “Experience must be our only guide. Reason may mislead us.”
|Tuesday||August 14||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VI, Section 9 (ineligibility of members of Legislature to other Federal Offices): After extensive debate, postponed until powers of Senate were determined.
Article VI, Section 10 (legislative pay to be fixed and paid by their state): Agreed (9 – 2) that pay should be out of the National Treasury.
— Agreed that pay be ascertained by law.
|Wednesday||August 15||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VI, Section 11 (enacting style for bills): Approved.
Article VI, Section 12 (either House may originate bills): Postponed (6 – 5) pending determination of powers to be given Senate.
Article VI, Section 13 (Presidential veto): Defeated (8 – 3) a motion that all bills should be submitted to the Executive and Judiciary before they become law (see coverage on June 4, June 6, and July 21).
— Madison’s provision for the Committee of Revision was defeated for the fourth and final time.
— Agreed (6 – 4 – 1) to 3/4 vote to override Presidential veto.
— Agreed (9 – 2) to 10 days instead of 7 for the President to return bills.
|Thursday||August 16||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VII, Section 1 (enumeration of Congressional powers): Agreed, nem. con., to the power to lay and collect taxes, regulate international and interstate commerce, coin money, regulate foreign coin, and fix standards of weights and measures.
— Approved (6 – 5) adding “and post roads” to power to “establish Post offices.”
— Agreed (9 – 2) to strike out the words “and emit bills” in the 8th clause.
|Friday||August 17||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VII, Section 1 (enumeration of Congressional powers): Continued from previous day
— Agreed (7 – 3) to elect Treasurer by joint ballot (New Jersey not voting).
— Agreed to “establish inferior courts, and make rules on captures.”
— Agreed (7 – 3) to “define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas.”
— Agreed similarly to “counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States, and offenses against the law of nations.”
— Changed the clause Congress shall “make” war to Congress shall “declare war” (8 – 1).
— “Separate questions having been taken on the 9, 10, 11, 12, and 14 clauses of the 1st section, 7 article as amended. They passed in the affirmative.”
— New Jersey lacked a quorum on this day.
|Saturday||August 18||1. Referred a list of suggested additional Congressional powers to the Committee of Detail. Agreed (6 – 4 – 1) to a Committee of 1 per state, chaired by William Livingston, to consider assumption of state debts. Agreed (9 – 2) to meet daily, except Sunday, from 10:00 until 4:00, with no earlier adjournment allowed. |
2. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article VII, Section 1 (enumeration of Congressional powers): Continued from previous day.
— Agreed to add “and support” to power to raise armies and agreed to strike “build and equip” in favor of “provide and maintain” Navy.
— Agreed to add power to make rules for government and regulation of land and naval forces.
— Considered different motions giving authority over militia and referred them (8 – 2 – 1) to a committee.
|Monday||August 20||1. Pinckney introduces a bill of rights and the list of 12 is sent to the Committee of Detail. Included in this list are liberty of the press, restrictions on the removal of the writ of habeas corpus, subordination of the military to the civil power, and that “no religious test or qualification shall ever be annexed to any oath of office under the authority of the U. S.” |
2. G. Morris proposes the foundations for a presidential cabinet: Council of State, Domestic Affairs, Commerce and Finance, Foreign Affairs, War, and Marine. These are referred to the Committee of Detail.
3. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article VII, Section 1 (enumeration of Congressional powers): Continued from previous day.
— Necessary and Proper Clause passed.
— Defeated (8 – 3) Mason’s proposal to give Congress power to enact sumptuary laws.
Article VII, Section 2 (defining treason): After debate and numerous amendments, Section 2 was approved.
Article VII, Section 3 (direct tax, House apportionment and census): Agreed (9 – 2) to have first census within 3 years.
|Tuesday||August 21||1. Heard a report from the Committee of State Debt Assumption and Militia Regulation, and laid it on the table; included assuming debts incurred “for the common defense and general welfare.” |
2. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article VII, Section 3: Continued from previous day,
— Agreed to it (10 – 1).
Article VI, Section 12 (origination of Bills): Defeated (8 – 2 – 1) motion to apportion direct taxes to the number of representatives pending the first census.
Article VII, Section 4 (no export taxes by States): “The proportions of direct taxation shall be regulated by the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants, of every age, sex and condition … and three-fifths of all other persons.”
— Defeated (7 – 3) move to allow export taxes for revenue only.
— Defeated (6 – 5) motion to permit export taxes with 2/3 majority vote.
— Approved Section 4 (7 – 4).
Article VII, Section 4 (no interference with the slave trade): L. Martin, supported by George Mason, suggests that the slave trade be prohibited or at least taxed. He argued that the importation of slaves “was inconsistent with the principles of the revolution.” Rutledge rejoined, “Interest alone is the sovereign principle with Nations.” Ellsworth: “The morality or wisdom of slavery are considerations belonging to the states themselves.”
|Wednesday||August 22||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VII, Section 4: Continued from previous day.
— C. Pinckney stated, “if slavery be wrong, it is justified by the example of all the world.” Rutledge warns that North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia will not sign the Constitution without certain slavery protection clauses. Dickinson considered the importation of slaves “as inadmissible on every principle of honor and safety.” Randolph added that he “could never agree to the clause as it stands” and urged that the entire section be referred to a committee to seek a compromise solution.
— Voted (7 – 3) to commit Article VII, Sections 4 and 5 to an 11-member committee, chaired by William Livingston, which included Dickinson and Luther Martin and excluded C. Pinckney and Rutledge. Section 6 was also committed to this committee.
Article VII, Section 2 (prohibit bills of attainder and ex post facto laws): Agreed (7 – 3 – 1).
2. The report of the Committee of 5 was postponed (6 – 5).
3. The report of the Committee of 11 on Assumption of State Debts was taken up. After brief discussion it was agreed (11 – 0), “The Legislature shall discharge the debts and fulfill the obligations of the United States.”
|Thursday||August 23||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article VII, Section I (powers of Congress): After considerable discussion and minor alterations agreed to section.
Article VII, Section 7 (no titles of nobility): Approved, nem con.
Article VIII: Approved adding a prohibition against Federal officers accepting foreign titles or gifts without consent of Congress.
— Accepted a restatement of Supremacy Clause.
Article IX, (Senate treaty power and appointment of Judges and ambassadors): Postponed.
Article VII, Section 1 (calling up militia to execute laws): amended and approved it.
— Madison again, supported by Wilson and Pinckney, proposed a motion to restore Congressional veto power over State laws, defeated (6 – 5).
Article VII, Section 1 (debts): Revised. “The Legislature shall fulfill the engagements and discharge the debts of the United States, and shall have the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises.”
2. Resumed discussion of Senate power to make treaties, appoint Ambassadors and Judges, and referred proposal to the Committee of Five.
|Friday||August 24||1. Heard a report from the Committee of 11 on Slave Trade:|
Article VII, Sections 4, 5, and 6 (no interference with slave trade, capitation taxes in proportion to census, no navigation acts without 2/3 vote in each House): Committee recommended prohibiting interference with slave trade until 1800, keeping Section 5, striking section 6, and permitting a tax to be imposed on migration.
2. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article VII, Section 1: Agreed to reconsider debt provisions and interstate commerce clause.
Article IX, Sections 2 and 3 (controversies among states, controversies arising from conflicting land grants): Agreed (8 – 2) to strike both sections.
Article X, Section 1 (Executive): Agreed on one Executive.
— Defeated four different methods of electing the President, including by the people (9 – 2) and by electors (6 – 5).
Article X, Section 2 (Executive powers and duties): Discussed
3. Ordered adjournment at 3:00pm for the future.
|Saturday||August 25||1. Approved (10 – 1) debt provision. |
2. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article VII, Section 1, Clause 1: Defeated (10 – 1) motion to include common defense and general welfare clause.
Article VII, Section 4 (slave trade): Agreed (7 – 4) to change the date before which Congress could not prohibit the importation of enslaved persons from 1800 to 1808 (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia voting against). Approved (7 – 4) “The migration or importation of such persons as the several states now existing should think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Legislature prior to the year 1808” (see also July 23, August 8, 21, 22, 26, and 29).
— Madison warned, “twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves.” He also “thought it wrong to admit into the Constitution the idea that there could be property in men.”
— Approved import tax not to exceed $10.00 per person.
Article VII, Section 5: Approved
Article VII, Section 6: Postponed
Article X, Section 2: Defeated (6 – 3 – 1) motion allowing appointment to Federal offices by State Executives.
|Monday||August 27||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article X: Continued on Executive powers in Section 2:
— Agreed (6 – 2) that President would be “commander chief… of the militia when called into the actual service of the United States” (Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina absent).
Article XI, Section 1: (Judicial powers): Agreed (6 – 2) to Johnson’s motion to add “both in law and equity” after the words “United States.” Three states absent. Approved Section 1 (6 – 2).
Article XI, Section 2: Defeated (7 – 1) removal of justices by Executive on request of Legislature. Approved Section 2 (6 – 2).
Article XI, Section 3: Postponed clause considering the impeachment of judges. Discussed distinction between original and appellate jurisdiction. Agreed to add, “to which the United States is a Party” to “controversies.”
— Approved (8 – 2) several other perfecting amendments. Johnson moved to insert the words “this Constitution and the” before the word “laws” in “The jurisdiction of the Supreme Court shall extend to all cases arising under the laws passed by the Legislature of the United States.” This passed nem. con. on the understanding that the jurisdiction was “limited to cases of a Judiciary nature.” Massachusetts, New Jersey, and North Carolina experienced difficulties meeting quorum requirements.
|Tuesday||August 28||1. Heard a report from August 25th committee (regulation of commerce). |
2. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article XI, Section 3 (appellate jurisdiction): Approved (9 – 1).
Article XI, Section 4 (local trial by jury and writ of habeas corpus): Amended to provide for crimes committed outside any state.
— Agreed (7 – 3) to add that “the privilege of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless where, in cases of Rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.”
— Agreed to Section 4.
Article XI, Section 5 (limit punishment under impeachment): Discussed
Article XII (limits on State powers): Agreed (8 – 1 – 1) to add prohibition on emitting bills of credit, or making anything but gold or silver legal tender.
— Agreed (7 – 3) that no State could pass bills of attainder or ex post facto laws. Defeated (8 – 3) prohibiting laying of embargoes.
— Agreed to Article XII as amended.
Article XIII (additional prohibition on States): Agreed (6 – 5) to prohibit States from taxing exports as well as imports without consent of Congress.
— Agreed (9 – 2) that net receipts of State taxation of imports and exports go into Federal Treasury.
— Agreed to Article XIII.
Article XIV (mutual privileges and immunities): Approved it (9 – 1 – 1).
Article XV (extradition): “Any person charged with treason, felony, or high misdemeanor in any State, who shall flee from justice, and shall be found in any other State, shall, on demand of the Executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of the offence.” “High misdemeanors” replaced by “other crimes.”
— Butler and Pinckney suggest that the extradition clause be extended to include run away slaves. They argue that “fugitive slaves (should) be delivered up like criminals.”
— Agreed to Article XV, nem. con.
|Wednesday||August 29||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article XVI (full faith and credit): Heard motion to establish uniform bankruptcy laws.
— Committed both Article XVI and motion to Committee on State Commitments with 5 members, chaired by John Rutledge.
2. Took up recommendation by the Livingston Committee on Slave Trade to strike out Article VII, Section 6 (2/3 vote needed to approve Congressional regulation of international and interstate commerce)
— Committee report approved (7 – 4).
3. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:
Article XV: Passed a fugitive slave clause (11 – 0) to be added at the end of the Article: “If any person bound to service or labor in any of the United States shall escape into another State, he or she shall not be discharged from such service or labor in consequence of any regulations subsisting in the State to which they escape; but shall be delivered up to the person justly claiming their service or labor.”
Article XVII (admission of new states): Passed (6 – 5).
|Thursday||August 30||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article XVII (admission of new states): Continued from previous day.
-Agreed (8 – 3) to permit the admission of new States on equal terms, prohibit dividing or combining states without consent of State Legislatures, and grant Congress authority to govern public lands, territory or other property of the United States.
Article XVIII (guarantee of republican form of government): “The United States shall guaranty to each State a Republican form of Government; and shall protect each State against foreign invasion, and, on the application of its Legislature, against domestic violence.”
— Dropped “foreign” and retained “domestic violence” over “insurrection” (6 – 5)
— Amended and agreed (9 – 2).
Article XIX (amending process): Agreed.
Article XX (oath for officers of the government): Added “or Affirmation.”
— Added, “no religious test shall ever be required,” which passed nem. con.
— Agreed to Article XX (8 – 1 – 2).
Article XXI (mode of ratification of the Constitution): “The ratifications of the Conventions of ___ States shall be sufficient for organizing this Constitution.”
|Friday||August 31||1. Discussed Committee of Detail Report:|
Article XXI (mode of ratification of the Constitution): Continued from previous day.
— Shall the blank be filled with the number 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, or 13?
Agreed (9 – 1), to add “between the said states,” to limit effect of ratification to states actually ratifying.
— Rejected (6 – 4) attempt to overturn provision requiring ratification by specially elected conventions rather than ratification by State Legislatures.
— Debated number of states required to secure ratification of the Constitution: Defeated (9 – 1) motion requiring all 13 states to ratify. Defeated (7 – 4) motion requiring 10 states to ratify. Agreed (8 – 3) to motion requiring 9 states to ratify.
— Agreed (10 – 1) to Article XXI as amended.
Article XXII (Authorization of the Constitution by Confederation Congress): Agreed (8 – 3) to strike provision requiring Confederation Congress approval of the Constitution.
— Defeated (7 – 4) proposal in effect permitting Confederation Congress to rewrite the Constitution.
— Defeated (8 – 3) motion to postpone discussion on Article XXII.
— Agreed (10 – 1) to Article XXII as amended.
Article XXIII (transition from Confederation Government to Constitutional Government): Agreed with amendments.
2. Took up Committee of 11 Report of Article VII, Section 4 (Export taxes and duties):
— Agreed to provision not to give preference to one state over another.
— Agreed (8 – 2) to proposal to prohibit requiring ships bound for one state to enter, clear, or pay duties in another.
— Agreed on uniformity clause.
3. Conclusion of discussion on Committee of Detail Report.
4. Referred all leftover proposals to a Committee of one delegate from each state: Gilman, King, Sherman, Brearly, G. Morris, Dickinson, Carroll, Madison, Williamson, Butler, and Baldwin. This is known as the Brearly Committee.
The Constitutional Convention, September 1787
|Saturday||September 1||1. Heard initial report from Brearly Committee. |
— Recommended alteration in Article VI, Section 9: Ineligibility of Federal Legislators to other Federal office.
2. Received the report of the August 29th Committee, the Rutledge Committee.
— Recommended alteration in Article XVI, concerning bankruptcies.
— Appearance of “Full Faith and Credit clause.”
3. Approved (7 – 1 – 1) motion to adjourn.
— New Jersey and Pennsylvania did not meet quorum requirement.
|Monday||September 3||1. Took up Article XVI (Full Faith and Credit clause). — Agreed (6 – 3) to the clause (New Hampshire not voting). |
— Agreed (9 – 1) to Article XVI as amended.
2. Took up Article XVI, uniform bankruptcy laws and agreed (9 – 1).
3. Defeated (6 – 4) motion to adjourn.
4. Took up Article VI, Section 9 (ineligibility of Federal Legislators to other Federal office).
— Agreed (5 – 3 – 1) (New Jersey not voting).
— Delaware did not meet quorum requirement.
|Tuesday||September 4||1. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Reviewed 4 out of 9 proposals submitted |
Proposal #1: Approved: Giving Federal Legislature authority to lay and collect taxes, duties, and imposts and provide for “the common defense and general welfare.”
Proposal #2: Approved: Amend Article VII, Section 1, interstate commerce clause, to include Congressional regulation of commerce “with the Indian tribes.”
Proposal #3: Postponed proposal to amend Article IX, Section 1.
— The proposal reads: “The Senate of the United States shall have the power to try all impeachments; but no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.”
Proposal #4: Discussed proposal to amend Article X, Section 1 (Election of Executive): A.) And with the Vice President, “He shall hold his office during the term of 4 years.” B.) “Each state shall appoint in such a manner as its Legislature shall 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.” C.) “The person having the greatest number of (Electoral College) votes shall be the President.” D.) “If no person have a majority, then from the 5 highest on the list the Senate shall choose by ballot the President.” E.) “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.” F.) “The Legislature may determine the time of choosing and assembling the Electors, and the manner of certifying and transmitting their votes.”
Proposal #5: Received proposal to amend qualifications for President including “natural born citizen” clause.
Proposal #6: Received proposal regarding the Vice-President.
Proposal #7: Received proposal regarding the Advice and consent of the Senate.
Proposal #8: Received proposal regarding opinion in writing.
Proposal #9: Received proposal regarding removal from office.
2. Agreed (7 – 3) to postpone consideration of #4-#9.
|Wednesday||September 5||1. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: received 5 additional proposals which were considered immediately. |
2. Considered proposals #10, 11, 13, & 14, to amend Article VII, Section 1:
Proposal #10: Added “and grant letters of marquee and reprisal” to the war powers clause, nem con.
Proposal #11: Limited military appropriations to two years, nem con.
Proposal #13: Granted exclusive jurisdiction over Federal land to Congress, nem con.
Proposal #14 Provided limited patents to promote science and arts, nem con.
-Agreed (9 – 2) to postpone proposal
3. Considered proposal #12 concerning Article IV: A reconsideration of the Connecticut Compromise, namely, to now permit the Senate to amend money bills that originate in the House.
4. Gerry gave notice that he wanted to reconsider Articles XIX (amending), XX (oath), XXI (ratification), and XXII (blessing of Confederation Congress).
5. Discussed Brearly Committee Report:
Extensive discussion of proposal #4 to amend Article X, Section 1 (Election of Executive). Defeated several motions concerning the election of the Executive:
— Defeated (7 – 3 – 1) motion to overcome non-majoritarian outcomes in the Electoral College in the whole Congress instead of just the Senate. Randolph: “We have in some revolutions of this plan made a bold stroke for monarchy. We are now doing the same for an aristocracy.” Mason agreed.
— Defeated (9 – 2) motion to limit choice in the Senate to the top 3 candidates instead of the top 5 candidates.
— Wilson: “This subject…is in truth the most difficult of all of which we have had to decide.”
6. Agreed to request Congress to pay Convention expenses.
|Thursday||September 6||1. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Continued discussion of proposal #4 to amend Article X, Section 1 (election of Executive)|
— Agreed (10 – 1) that the President and Vice-President to be elected to a term of 4 years.
— Agreed (10 – 1) after discussion and amending to authorize the Senate to choose the Executive from top 4 candidates.
— Agreed (10 – 1) to a motion by Williamson to substitute the House, with voting by states, for the Senate, or the whole Legislature, in electing the Executive from the top 4 candidates in the event of a break down of the Electoral College. Mason liked this because it reduced “the aristocratic influence of the Senate.”
— Agreed Senate shall choose the Vice-President in the event of a tie for the Vice-Presidency.
|Friday||September 7||1. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Continued discussion on proposal #4 to amend Article X, Section 1 (election of Executive) |
— Agreed (8 – 3) on Electoral College with majority of electoral votes needed for the election of the Executive.
— Decided (10 – 1) that the House, rather than the Senate, shall decide in such circumstances but each State shall have one vote.
— Approved (6 – 4 – 1) motion to let Legislature determine who shall act in cases of disability of President and Vice-President.
2. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Took up Proposal #5 regarding qualifications of the President.
— Agreed (nem. con.) that the President should be a natural-born citizen, resident for 14 years and be 35 years of age.
3. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Took up Proposal #6, Vice-President as President of Senate.
— Agreed (8 – 2) that the Vice-President would serve as President of the Senate (North Carolina not voting).
4. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: took up Proposal #7 regarding powers of the Executive.
— Defeated (10 – 1) motion to include House in treaty-making.
— Agreed to Presidential nomination and Senate concurrence of ambassadors, ministers, consuls, and other officers.
— Approved treaty-making with “the advice and consent” of 2/3 of Senate present.
— Defeated (8 – 3) motion for Council of Advisors to President.
|Saturday||September 8||1. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Resumed discussion on Proposal #7 regarding powers of the Executive. |
— Reconsidered treaty power and engaged in lengthy discussion of role of the Senate especially the 2/3 approved rule.
— Defeated (6 – 5) Sherman’s motion that “no treaty be made without a Majority of the whole number of the Senate.”
2. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Agreed (8 – 3) to Proposal #8 (President can request opinions of government officials in writing).
3. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Took up Proposal #9 regarding impeachment of the President.
— Mason wanted to add “maladministration” to “treason and bribery.” Agreed (8 – 3) to replace “maladministration” with “other high crimes and misdemeanors against the State.”
— Defeated (9 – 2) motion to strike Senate as body to judge on impeachment.
— Agreed (11 – 0) to addition of Vice-President and other Civil Officers as subject to impeachment.
4. Discussed Brearly Committee Report: Returned to Proposal #12 considering Money Bills.
— Agreed (9 – 2) to Proposal #12: Origination of money bills in the House, subject to Senate amendment (This vote removes that feature of the Connecticut Compromise deemed vital by Mason, Gerry, and Randolph).
5. Balloted for a Committee of Style (Johnson, Hamilton, G. Morris, Madison, and King) “to revise the style of, and arrange, the articles which had been agreed to.”
6. Defeated (6 – 5) motion supported by Madison, and Hamilton to increase the size of House membership.
|Monday||September 10||1. Reconsidered (9 – 1 – 1) Article XIX of the Committee of Detail report: Process to amend the Constitution (2/3 of State Legislatures requesting an amendment, the Congress shall call a Convention). |
— Madison wondered: “How was a Convention to be formed? By what rule decide? What is the force of its acts?”
— Agreed (11 – 0) that an amendment proposal becomes part of the Constitution upon ratification of 3/4 of the State Legislatures or State Conventions.
— Rutledge: Exclude changes to 1808 agreement on slave trade.
— Agreed (9 – 1 – 1) to permit 2/3 House and 2/3 Senate to request an amendment.
2. Agreed (7 – 3 – 1) to reconsider Article XXII of the Committee of Detail Report.
3. Approved (11 – 0) Article XXI: This Constitution becomes effective on the approbation of 9 state ratifying conventions and “binding and conclusive” on those states “assenting thereto.”
4. Took up Article XXII: Randolph and Gerry explain their reservations about signing the Constitution if “approbation by Congress” is not required. ” Mr. Randolph took this opportunity to state his objection to the system.”
— Rejected nem. con. a motion to require the approval of the Constitution by the Confederation Congress.
5. Committee of Detail Report, as revised, and Brearly Committee report, as revised, sent to the Committee of Style.
|Tuesday||September 11||Convention met and adjourned because the Committee of Style was not ready with their report.|
|Wednesday||September 12||1. Discussed Committee of Style Report: A 7 Article document was “read by paragraph.” This document is preceded by a preamble, which begins, “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union…” rather than “We the people of the states of New Hampshire, etc…” |
2. Took up Article I, Section 7: Agreed (6 – 4 – 1) to amend section to include 2/3 instead of 3/4 for Congress to override an Executive veto.
3. Mason and Gerry call for a Bill of Rights; motion is defeated (10 – 0).
|Thursday||September 13||1. Resumed consideration of Report of Committee of Style: Took up Article I and focused on Sections 2 & 7. |
— Agreed unanimously to substitute “service” for “servitude.”
— Agreed (7 – 3) to allow State duties to defray costs of storage and inspection.
Mason bemoans the absence of “a power to make sumptuary regulations.” Named Mason, Franklin, Dickinson, Johnson, and Livingston to a committee to suggest measures for encouraging economy, frugality, and American manufactures (this committee never made a report).
2. Johnson from the Committee of Style reported a substitute for Articles XXIII of the Committee of Detail Report.
|Friday||September 14||1. Took up Article I, Sections 3, 4, 5, and 6: Agreed to sections with minimal debate. |
2. Took up Article I, Section 8 (Powers of Congress): Agreed (8 – 3) to strike election of Treasurer by Legislature.
— Agreed (11 – 0) to add uniformity requirement to taxing power.
— Madison, Randolph, Wilson, G. Morris, and Mason debate meaning of “necessary and proper clause.”
— Defeated (6 – 4 – 1) motion to give Congress power to establish a university.
— Pinckney, Gerry, and Sherman debate whether Congress has the power to interfere with freedom of the press. Defeated (6 – 5) motion to insert “The Liberty of the Press shall be inviolably preserved.”
3. Took up Article I, Section 9 (Restraints on Congressional powers): Defeated Mason’s motion “that an account of the public expenditures should be annually published.”
— Adopted Madison’s suggestion nem. con. to change “annual” publications to “from time to time.”
— Agreed to the Section with minimal debate.
4. Took up Article I, Section 10 (Restraints on the powers of the States): Gerry’s motion to extend to the Federal Government “the restraint put on the states from impairing the obligations of contracts” failed to obtain a second.
|Saturday||September 15||1. The Convention resumed discussion on the report from the Committee of Style: Decided (6 – 4) an address from the Convention to the people was “unnecessary and improper” (South Carolina absent). |
2. Defeated (6 – 5) an attempt to add another member for Rhode Island in the House. King threatened to withhold his signature to the Constitution if this proposition passed.
3. Passed (10 – 1) an attempt to add another member for North Carolina in the House.
4. Took up Article I, Section 10 (Restraints on the powers of the States): McHenry, Carroll, Langdon, Mason, G. Morris, Madison, and Sherman debate the meaning of the Interstate Commerce clause. Does the regulatory power of Congress restrain state commerce authority?
-Agreed (6 – 4 – 1) that “no state shall lay any duty on tonnage with out the consent of Congress.”
5. Took up Article II, Section 1 (General structure of Executive Office): Agreed (7 – 4) that the President shall not receive “any other emolument from the United States or any of them” during his term of office.
6. Took up Article II, Section 2 (Powers of the President): Defeated (8 – 2 – 1) motion to extend the power “to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment” to include “cases of treason.”
— Agreed (after debate, nem. con.) to G. Morris’s “Inferior Officers” clause (Allows Congress to bypass the “advice and consent of the Senate” and vest/delegate the appointment of “inferior officers” to the President alone, the Courts of Law alone or the Heads of Departments alone). This motion was initially defeated (5 – 5 – 1).
7. Took up Article III, Section 2 (Trial by jury): Defeated (nem. con.) an attempt to extend the “trial by jury” clause covering criminal cases to include civil cases.
8. Took up Article IV, Section 2 (Fugitive Slave clause): Struck out “no person legally held to service or labor in one state escaping into another” and replaced it with “no person held to service or labor in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another” (emphasis added). Addition of “under the laws thereof” removes the idea “that slavery was legal in a moral view.”
9. Agreed to Article IV, Section 3 (Admittance of new states).
10. Agreed to Article IV, Section 4 (Republican guarantee).
11. Took up Article V (Amending the Constitution). Agreed (nem. con.) that Congress shall call a convention on the application for amendments by 2/3 of the State Legislatures.
— Agreed (8 – 3) that a state cannot be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate without its own consent.
12. Unanimously rejected a call by Randolph, Mason, and Gerry “that amendments to the plan might be offered by the State Conventions, which should be submitted to and finally decided on by another general convention.”
-Approved (10 – 0) the document as amended (North Carolina did not meet quorum call).
|Monday||September 17||1. The Constitution was presented and read aloud; several delegates expressed concerns yet restrained their reservations in order to achieve a sense of unanimity. |
— Randolph’s prediction: “Nine states will fail to ratify the plan and confusion must ensue.”
2. Changed the base of representation in the House of Representatives from 1:40,000 to 1:30,000 with the support of Washington.
3. Voted (10 – 1) to deposit the Journals (Secretary Jackson’s notes) with the President, subject to the orders of Congress.
4. Heard Franklin’s “Rising Sun” speech.
5. Signed the Constitution and adjourned
— Mason, Randolph and Gerry refused to sign;
— Read signed Dickinson’s name in his absence.
The business being thus closed, the Members adjourned to the City Tavern, dined together and “took a cordial leave of each other.”