Front Page Titles (by Subject) FEDERAL CONVENTION - The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 1
FEDERAL CONVENTION - Alexander Hamilton, The Works of Alexander Hamilton, (Federal Edition), vol. 1 
The Works of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Henry Cabot Lodge (Federal Edition) (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1904). In 12 vols. Vol. 1.
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PROPOSITIONS FOR A CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT
- I.The supreme legislative power of the United States of America to be vested in two distinct bodies of men: the one to be called the Assembly, the other the Senate; who together shall form the Legislature of the United States, with power to pass all laws whatsoever, subject to the negative hereafter mentioned.
- II.The Assembly to consist of persons elected by the people, to serve for three years.
- III.The Senate to consist of persons elected to serve during good behavior. Their election to be made by electors chosen for that purpose by the people. In order to this, the States to be divided into election districts. On the death, removal, or resignation of any Senator, his place to be filled out of the district from which he came.
- IV.The supreme executive authority of the United States to be vested in a Governor, to be elected to serve during good behavior. His election to be made by electors chosen by electors chosen by the people, in the election districts aforesaid; or by electors chosen for that purpose by the respective Legislatures—provided that if an election be not made within a limited time, the President of the Senate shall be the Governor. The Governor to have a negative upon all laws about to be passed—and (to have) the execution of all laws passed—to be the Commander-in-Chief of the land and naval forces and of the militia of the United States—to have the entire direction of war when authorized or begun—to have, with the advice and approbation of the Senate, the power of making all treaties—to have the appointment of the heads or chief officers of the departments of finance, war, and foreign affairs—to have the nomination of all other officers (ambassadors to foreign nations included), subject to the approbation or rejection of the Senate—to have the power of pardoning all offences but treason, which he shall not pardon without the approbation of the Senate.
- V.On the death, resignation, or removal of the Governor, his authorities to be exercised by the President of the Senate (until a successor be appointed).
- VI.The Senate to have the sole power of declaring war—the power of advising and approving all treaties—the power of approving or rejecting all appointments of officers, except the heads or chiefs of the departments of finance, war, and foreign affairs.
- VII.The supreme judicial authority of the United States to be vested in twelve judges, to hold their offices during good behavior, with adequate and permanent salaries. This court to have original jurisdiction in all causes of capture, and an appellate jurisdiction (from the courts of the several States) in all causes in which the revenues of the General Government or the citizens of foreign nations are concerned.
- VIII.The Legislature of the United States to have power to institute courts in each State for the determination of all causes of capture and of all matters relating to their revenues, or in which the citizens of foreign nations are concerned.
- IX.The Governor, Senators, and all officers of the United States to be liable to impeachment formal and corrupt conduct, and upon conviction to be removed from office, and disqualified for holding any place of trust or profit. All impeachments to be tried by a court, to consists of the judges of the Supreme Court, chief or senior judge of the Superior Court of law of each State—provided that such judge hold his place during good behavior and have a permanent salary.
- X.All laws of the particular States contrary to the Constitution or laws of the United States to be utterly void. And the better to prevent such laws being passed the Governor or President of each State shall be appointed by the General Government, and shall have a negative upon the laws about to be passed in the State of which he is Governor or President.
- XI.No State to have any forces, land or naval—and the militia of all the States to be under the sole and exclusive direction of the United States, the officers of which to be appointed and commissioned by them.
CONSTITUTION OF GOVERNMENT BY THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
First Draught of Hamilton, 1787
The people of the United States of America do ordain and establish this Constitution for the government of themselves and their posterity.
- Sec. 1. The legislative power shall be vested in two distinct bodies of men, one to be called the Assembly, the other the Senate, subject to the negative hereinafter mentioned.
- Sec. 2. The executive power, with the qualifications hereinafter specified, shall be vested in a President of the United States.
- Sec. 3. The supreme judicial authority, except in the cases otherwise provided for in this Constitution, shall be vested in a court, to be called the Supreme Court, to consist of not less than six nor more than twelve judges.
- Sec. 1. The Assembly shall consist of persons to be called Representatives, who shall be chosen, except in the first instance, by the free male citizens and inhabitants of the several States comprehended in the Union, all of whom, of the age of twenty-one years and upwards, shall be entitled to an equal vote.
- Sec. 2. But the first Assembly shall be chosen in the manner prescribed in the last Article, and shall consist of one hundred members, of whom New Hampshire shall have five, Massachusetts thirteen, Rhode Island two, Connecticut seven, New York nine, New Jersey six, Pennsylvania twelve, Delaware two, Maryland eight, Virginia sixteen, North Carolina eight, South Carolina eight, Georgia four.
- Sec. 3. The Legislature shall provide for the future election of Representatives, apportioning them in each State, from time to time, as nearly as may be to the number of persons described in the 4th Section of the 7th Article, so as that the whole number of Representatives shall never be less than one hundred, nor more than hundred. There shall be a census taken for this purpose within three years after the first meeting of the Legislature, and within every successive period of ten years. The term for which Representatives shall be elected shall be determined by the Legislature, but shall not exceed three years. There shall be a general election at least once in three years, and the time of service of all the members in each Assembly shall begin (except in filling vacancies) on the same day, and shall always end on the same day.
- Sec. 4. Forty members shall make a House sufficient to proceed to business; but this number may be increased by the Legislature, yet so as never to exceed a majority of the whole number of Representatives.
- Sec. 5. The Assembly shall choose its President and other officers, shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members, shall punish them for improper conduct in their capacity of Representatives, not extending to life or limb, and shall exclusively possess the power of impeachment, except in the case of the President of the United States; but no impeachment of a member of the Senate shall be by less than two thirds of the Representatives present.
- Sec. 6. Representatives may vote by proxy, but no Representative present shall be proxy for more than one who is absent.
- Sec. 7. Bills for raising revenue, and bills for appropriating monies for the support of fleets and armies, and for paying the salaries of the officers of government, shall originate in the Assembly, but may be altered and amended by the Senate.
- Sec. 8. The acceptance of an office under the United States by a Representative, shall vacate his seat in the Assembly.
- Sec. 1. The Senate shall consist of persons to be chosen, except in the first instance, by electors elected for that purpose by the citizens and inhabitants of the several States comprehended in the Union, who shall have in their own right, or in the right of their wives, an estate in land for not less than life, or a term of years, whereof at the time of giving their votes there shall be at least fourteen years unexpired.
- Sec. 2. But the full Senate shall be chosen in the manner prescribed in the last Article, and shall consist of forty members, to be called Senators, of whom New Hampshire shall have, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia.
- Sec. 3. The Legislature shall provide for the future elections of Senators; for which purpose the States respectively, which have more than one Senator, shall be divided into convenient districts to which the Senators shall be apportioned. A State having but one Senator shall be itself a district. On the death, resignation, or removal from office of a Senator, his place shall be supplied by a new election in the district from which he came. Upon each election there shall not be less than six nor more than twelve electors chosen in a district.
- Sec. 4. The number of Senators shall never be less than forty, nor shall any State, if the same shall not hereafter be divided, ever have less than the number allotted to it in the second Section of this Article; but the Legislature may increase the whole number of Senators, in the same proportion to the whole number of Representatives as forty is to one hundred, and such increase, beyond the present number, shall be apportioned to the respective States in a ratio to the respective numbers of their Representatives.
- Sec. 5. If States shall be divided, or if a new arrangement of the boundaries of two or more States shall take place, the Legislature shall apportion the number of Senators (in elections succeeding such division or arrangement) to which the constituent parts were entitled according to the change of situation, having regard to the number of persons described in the 4th Section of the 7th Article.
- Sec. 6. The Senators shall hold their places during good behavior, removable only by conviction, on impeachment for some crime or misdemeanor. They shall continue to exercise their offices when impeached until a conviction shall take place. Sixteen Senators, attending in person, shall be sufficient to make a house to transact business; but the Legislature may increase this number, yet so as never to exceed a majority of the whole number of Senators. The Senators may vote by proxy, but no Senator who is present shall be proxy for more than two who are absent.
- Sec. 7. The Senate shall choose its President and other officers, shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its members, and shall punish them for improper conduct in their capacity of Senators; but such punishment shall not extend to life of limb, nor to expulsion. In the absence of their President they may choose a temporary President. The President shall only have a casting vote when the House is equally divided.
- Sec. 8. The Senate shall exclusively have the power of declaring war. No treaty shall be made without their advice and consent; which shall also be necessary to the appointment of all officers, except such for which a different provision is made in this Constitution.
- Sec. 1.The President of the United States of America (except in the first instance) shall be elected in the manner following:The judges of the Supreme Court shall, within sixty days after a vacancy shall happen, cause public notice to be given in each State of such vacancy, appointing therein three several days for the several purposes following, to wit: a day for commencing the election of electors for the purposes hereinafter specified, to be called the first electors, which day shall be not less than forty nor more than sixty days after the day of the publication of the notice in each State; another day for the meeting of the electors, not less than forty nor more than ninety days from the day for commencing their election; another day for the meeting of electors, to be chosen by the first electors, for the purpose hereinafter specified, and to be called the second electors, which day shall be not less than forty nor more than sixty days after the day for the meeting of the first electors.
- Sec. 2. After notice of a vacancy shall have been given, there shall be chosen in each State a number of persons, as the first electors in the preceding Section mentioned, equal to the whole number of the Representatives and Senators of such State in the Legislature of the United States; which electors shall be chosen by the citizens of such State having an estate of inheritance or for three lives in land, or a clear personal estate of the value of one thousand Spanish milled dollars of the present standard.
- Sec. 3. These first electors shall meet in their respective States at the time appointed, at one place, and shall proceed to vote by ballot for a President, who shall not be one of their own number, unless the Legislature, upon experiment, should hereafter direct otherwise. They shall cause two lists to be made of the name or names of the person or persons voted for, which they, or the major part of them, shall sign and certify. They shall then proceed each to nominate individually, openly, in the presence of the others, two persons, as for second electors; and out of the persons who shall have the four highest numbers of nominations, they shall afterwards, by ballot, by plurality of votes, choose two who shall be the second electors, to each of whom shall be delivered one of the lists before mentioned. These second electors shall not be any of the persons voted for as President. A copy of the same list, signed and certified in like manner, shall be transmitted by the first electors, to the seat of the government of the United States, under a sealed cover, directed to the President of the Assembly, which, after the meeting of the second electors shall be opened, for the inspection of the two Houses of the Legislature.
- Sec. 4. These second electors shall meet precisely on the day appointed, and not on another day, at one place. The chief-justice of the Supreme Court, or if there be no chief-justice, the judge junior in office, in such court, or if there be no one judge junior in office, some other judge of that court, by the choice of the rest of the judges, or of a majority of them, shall attend at the same place, and shall preside at the meeting, but shall have no vote. Two thirds of the whole number of the electors shall constitute a sufficient meeting for the execution of their trust. At this meeting, the list delivered to the respective electors shall be produced and inspected, and if there be any person who has a majority of the whole number of the votes given by the first electors, he shall be the President of the United States. But if there be no such person, the second electors so met shall proceed to vote by ballot for one of the persons, named in the lists, who shall have the three highest numbers of the votes of the first electors; and if upon the first or any succeeding ballot, on the day of the meeting, either of those persons shall have a number of votes equal to a majority of the whole number of second electors chosen, he shall be the President; but if no such choice be made on the day appointed for the meeting, either by reason of the non-attendance of the second electors, or their not agreeing, or any other matter, the person having the greatest number of votes of the first electors shall be the President.
- Sec. 5. If it should happen that the chief-justice or some other judge of the Supreme Court should not attend in due time, the second electors shall proceed to the execution of their trust without him.
- Sec. 6. If the judges should neglect to cause the notice required by the first Section of this Article to be given within the time therein limited, they may, nevertheless, cause it to be afterwards given; but their neglect, if wilful, is hereby declared to be an offence, for which they may be impeached, and if convicted they shall be punished as in other cases of conviction on impeachment.
- Sec. 7. The Legislature shall, by permanent laws, provide such further regulations as may be necessary for the more orderly election of the President, not contravening the provisions herein contained.
- Sec. 8. The President, before he shall enter upon the execution of his office, shall take an oath or affirmation faithfully to execute the same, and to the utmost of his judgment and power to protect the rights of the people and preserve the Constitution inviolate. This oath or affirmation shall be administered by the President of the Senate, for the time being, in the presence of both Houses of the Legislature.
- Sec. 9. The Senate and the Assembly shall always convene in session on the day appointed for the meeting of the second electors, and shall continue sitting till the President take the oath or affirmation of office. He shall hold his office during good behavior, removable only by conviction upon an impeachment for some crime or misdemeanor.
- Sec. 10. The President, at the beginning of every meeting of the Legislature, as soon as they shall be ready to proceed to business, shall convene them together at the place where the Senate shall sit, and shall communicate to them all such matters as may be necessary for their information, or as may require their consideration. He may, by message, during the session, communicate all other matters which may appear to him proper. He may, whenever in his opinion the public business shall require it, convene the Senate and Assembly, or either of them, and may prorogue them for a time, not exceeding forty days at one prorogation; and if they should disagree about their adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper. He shall have a right to negative all bills, resolutions, or acts of the two Houses of the Legislature about to be passed into laws. He shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. He shall be the Commander-in-Chief of the army and navy of the United States and of the militia within the several States, and shall have the direction of war, when commenced; but he shall not take the actual command in the field of an army without the consent of the Senate and Assembly. All treaties, conventions, and agreements with foreign nations shall be made by him, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. He shall have the appointment of the principal or chief officer of each of the departments of war, naval affairs, finances, and foreign affairs; and shall have the nomination, and, by and with the consent of the Senate, the appointment of all other officers to be appointed under the authority of the United States, except such for whom different provision is made by this Constitution; and provided, that this shall not be construed to prevent the Legislature from appointing, by name, in their laws, persons to special and particular trusts created in such laws; nor shall be construed to prevent principals in office, merely ministerial, from constituting deputies. In the recess of the Senate he may fill vacancies in offices, by appointments, to continue in force until the end of the next session of the Senate; and he shall commission all officers. He shall have power to pardon all offences except treason, for which he may grant reprieves until the opinion of the Senate and Assembly can be had, and with their concurrence may pardon the same.
- Sec. 11. He shall receive a fixed compensation for his services, to be paid to him at stated times, and not to be increased or diminished during his continuance in office.
- Sec. 12. If he depart out of the United States without the consent of the Senate and Assembly, he shall thereby abdicate his office.
- Sec. 13. He may be impeached for any crime or misdemeanor by the two Houses of the Legislature, two thirds of each House concurring; and if convicted, shall be removed from office. He may be afterward tried and punished in the ordinary course of law. His impeachment shall operate as a suspension from office until the determination thereof.
- Sec. 14. The President of the Senate shall be Vice-President of the United States. On the death, resignation, impeachment, removal from office, or absence from the United States of the President thereof, the Vice-President shall exercise all the powers by this Constitution vested in the President, until another shall be appointed, or until he shall return within the United States, if his absence was with the consent of the Senate and Assembly.
- Sec. 1. There shall be a chief-justice of the Supreme Court, and he with the other judges thereof, shall hold their offices during good behavior, removable only by conviction on impeachment for some crime or misdemeanor. Each judge shall have a competent salary, to be paid to him at stated times, and not to be diminished during his continuance in office.
The Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction in all causes in which the United States shall be a party; in all controversies between the United States and a particular State, or between two or more States, except such as relate to a claim of territory between the United States and one or more States, which shall be determined in the mode prescribed in the 6th Article; in all cases affecting foreign ministers, consuls, and agents; and an appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, in all cases which shall concern the citizens of foreign nations, in all questions between the citizens of different States, and in all others in which the fundamental rights of this Constitution are involved, subject to such exceptions as are herein contained, and to such regulations as the Legislature shall provide.
The judges of all courts which may be constituted by the Legislature shall also hold their places during good behavior, removable only by conviction on impeachment for some crime or misdemeanor; and shall have competent salaries, to be paid at stated times, and not to be diminished during their continuance in officé but nothing herein contained shall be construed to prevent the Legislature from abolishing such courts themselves.
All crimes, except upon impeachment, shall be tried by a jury of twelve men; and if they shall have been committed within any State, shall be tried within such State. And all civil causes arising under this Constitution of the like kind with those which have been heretofore triable by jury in the respective States, shall in like manner be tried by jury, unless in special cases the Legislature shall think proper to make different provision, to which provision the concurrence of two thirds of both Houses shall be necessary.
Impeachments of the President and Vice-President of the United States, members of the Senate, the Governors and Presidents of the several States, the principal or chief officers of the departments enumerated in the 10th Section of the 4th Article, ambassadors, and other like public ministers, the judges of the Supreme Court, generals and admirals of the navy, shall be tried by a court to consist of the judges of the Supreme Court, and the chief-justice, or first or senior judge of the Superior Court of law in each State, of whom twelve shall constitute a court. A majority of the judges present may convict. All other persons shall be tried on impeachment, by a Court to consist of the judges of the Supreme Court, and six Senators drawn by lot; a majority of whom may convict. Impeachments shall clearly specify the particular offence for which the party accused is to be tried; and judgment on conviction upon the trial thereof shall be either a removal from office singly, or removal from office and disqualification for holding any future office or place of trust. But no judgment on impeachment shall prevent prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law, provided that no judge concerned in such conviction shall sit as judge on the second trial. The Legislature may remove the disabilities incurred by conviction on impeachment.
Controversies about the right of territory between the United States and particular States shall be determined by a court to be constituted in manner following: The State or States claiming in opposition to the United States, as parties, shall nominate a number of persons equal to double the number of the judges of the Supreme Court, for the time being, of whom none shall be citizens by birth of the States which are parties, nor inhabitants thereof, when nominated, and of whom not more than two shall have their actual residence in one State. Out of the persons so nominated the Senate shall elect one half, who, together with the judges of the Supreme Court, shall form the court. Two thirds of the whole number may hear and determine the controversy by plurality of voices. The States concerned may, at their option, claim a decision by the Supreme Court only. All the members of the court hereby instituted shall, prior to the hearing of the cause, take an oath impartially, and according to the best of their judgments and consciences, to hear and determine the controversy.
- Sec. 1. The Legislature of the United States shall have power to pass all laws which they shall judge necessary to the common defence and safety, and to the general welfare of the Union. But no bill, resolution, or act of the Senate and Assembly shall have the force of a law until it shall have received the assent of the President, or of the Vice-President when exercising the powers of the President; and if such assent shall not have been given within ten days after such bill, resolution, or other act shall have been presented for that purpose, the same shall not be a law. No bill, resolution, or other act not assented to shall be revived in the same session of the Legislature. The mode of signifying such assent shall be by signing the bill, act or resolution, and returning it so signed to either house of the Legislature.
- Sec. 2. The enacting style of all laws shall be: “Be it enacted by the people of the United States of America.”
- Sec. 3. No bill of attainder shall be passed, nor any ex-post-facto law; nor shall any title of nobility be granted by the United States, or by either of them; nor shall any person holding an office or place of trust under the United States, without the permission of the Legislature, accept any present, emolument, office, or title from a foreign prince or state. Nor shall any religious sect or denomination, or religious test for any office or place, be ever established by law.
- Sec. 4. Taxes on lands, houses, and other real estate and capitation taxes, shall be proportioned in each State by the whole number of free persons, except Indians not taxed, and by three fifths of all other persons.
- Sec. 5. The two Houses of the Legislature may by joint ballot appoint a Treasurer of the United States. Neither House (in the session of both Houses) without the consent of the other shall adjourn for more than three days at a time. The Senators and Representatives in attending, going to and coming from the session of their respective Houses shall be privileged from arrest except for crimes and breaches of the peace. The place of meeting shall always be at the seat of government, which shall be fixed by law.
- Sec. 6. The laws of the United States and the treaties which have been made under the articles of the Confederation, and which shall be made under this Constitution, shall be the supreme law of the land, and shall be so construed by the courts of the several States.
- Sec. 7. The Legislature shall convene at least once in each year, which, unless otherwise provided for by law, shall be the first Monday in December.
- Sec. 8. The members of the two Houses of the Legislature shall receive a reasonable compensation for their services, to be paid out of the treasury of the United States, and ascertained by law. The law for making such provision shall be passed, with the concurrence of the first Assembly, and shall extend to succeeding Assemblies; and no succeeding Assembly shall concur in an alteration of such provision so as to increase its own compensation; but there shall be always a law in existence for making such provision.
- Sec. 1. The Governor or President of each State shall be appointed under the authority of the United States, and shall have a right to negative all laws about to be passed in the State of which he shall be Governor or President, subject to such qualifications and regulations as the Legislature of the United States shall prescribe. He shall in other respects have the same powers only which the Constitution of the State does or shall allow its Governor or President, except as to the appointment of officers of the militia.
- Sec. 2. Each Governor or President of a State shall hold his office until a successor be actually appointed, unless he die or resign or be removed from office by conviction on impeachment. There shall be no appointment of such Governor or President in the recess of the Senate.
The Governors and Presidents of the several States at the time of the ratification of this Constitution, shall continue in office in the same manner and with the same powers as if they had been appointed pursuant to the first Section of this Article.
The officers of the militia in the several States may be appointed under the authority of the United States, the Legislature whereof may authorize the Governors or Presidents of States to make such appointments, with such restrictions as they shall think proper.
- Sec. 1. No person shall be eligible to the office of President of the United States unless he be now a citizen of one of the States, or hereafter be born a citizen of the United States.
- Sec. 2. No person shall be eligible as a Senator or Representative unless at the time of his election he be a citizen and inhabitant of the State in which he is chosen; provided that he shall not be deemed to be disqualified by a temporary absence from the State.
- Sec. 3. No person entitled by this Constitution to elect or to be elected President of the United States, or a Senator or Representative in the Legislature thereof, shall be disqualified but by the conviction of some offence for which the law shall have previously ordained the punishment of disqualification. But the Legislature may be law provide that persons holding offices under the United States, or either of them, shall not be eligible to a place in the Assembly or Senate, and shall be, during their continuance in office, suspended from sitting in the Senate.
- Sec. 4. No person having an office or place of trust under the United States shall, without permission of the Legislature, accept any present, emolument, office, or title from any foreign prince or State.
- Sec. 5. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to the rights, privileges, and immunities of citizens in every other State; and full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of another.
- Sec. 6. Fugitives from justice from one State who shall be found in another, shall be delivered up on the application of the State from which they fled.
- Sec. 7. No new State shall be erected within the limits of another, or by the junction of two or more, without the concurrent consent of the Legislatures of the United States and of the States concerned. The Legislature of the United States may admit new States into the Union.
- Sec. 8. The United States are hereby declared to be bound to guarantee to each State a republican form of government, and to protect each State as well against domestic violence as foreign invasion.
- Sec. 9. All treaties, contracts, and engagements of the United States of America, under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, shall have equal validity under this Constitution.
- Sec. 10. No State shall enter into a treaty, alliance, or contract with another, or with a foreign power, without the consent of the United States.
- Sec. 11. The members of the Legislature of the United States, and of each State, and all officers, executive and judicial, of the one and of the other, shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution of the United States.
- Sec. 12. This Constitution may receive such alterations and amendments as may be proposed by the Legislature of the United States, with the concurrence of two thirds of the members of both Houses and ratified by the Legislatures of, or by conventions of deputies chosen by the people in, two thirds of the States composing the Union.
[Article X., which relates to the mode of submitting the Constitution, is omitted as totally unimportant.]
BRIEF OF SPEECH ON SUBMITTING HIS PLAN OF CONSTITUTION
- I Importance of the occasion.
- II A solid plan, without regard to temporary opinions.
- III If an ineffectual plan be again proposed, it will beget despair, and no government will grow out of consent.
- IV There seem to be but three lines of conduct:
- I A league offensive, treaty of commerce, and apportionment of the public debt.
- II An amendment of the present Confederation, by adding such powers as the public mind seems nearest being matured to grant.
- III The forming a new government to pervade the whole, with decisive powers; in short, with complete sovereignty.
Last seems to be the prevailing sentiment.
- I Its practicability to be examined.
- Immense extent unfavorable to representation.
- Vast expense.
- Double sets of officers.
- Difficulty of judging of local circumstances.
- Distance has a physical effect on men's minds.
- Difficulty of drawing proper characters from home.
- Execution of laws, feeble at a distance from government—particularly in the collection of revenue.
- I Objections to the present Confederation.
- Intrusts the great interests of the nation to hands incapable of managing them.
- All matters in which foreigners are concerned.
- The care of the public peace—debts.
- Power of treaty, without power of execution.
- Common defence, without power to raise troops—have a fleet—raise money.
- Power to contract debts, without the power to pay.
- These great interests of the State must be well managed, or the public prosperity must be the victim.
- Legislates upon communities.
- Where the Legislatures are to act, they will deliberate.
- To ask money, not to collect it, and by an unjust measure.
- No sanction!!
- Amendment of Confederation according to present ideas.
- I Difficult, because not agreed upon any thing. Ex.—Impost.
To ascertain the practicability of this, let us examine the principles of civil obedience.
Supports of Government
- I Interest to support it.
- II Opinion of utility and necessity.
- III Habitual sense of obligation.
- IV Force.
- V Influence.
- I Interest—particular and general interests.
- Esprit de corps.
- Vox populi, vox Dei.
- II Opinion of utility and necessity.
- First will decrease with the growth of the States.
- This does not apply to Federal Government.
- This may dissolve, and yet the order of the community continue.
- Anarchy not a necessary consequence.
- IIIHabitual sense of obligation.
- This results from administration of private justice.
- Demand of service or money odious.
- IVForce—of two kinds.
- Coercion of laws—Coercion of arms.
- First does not exist—and the last useless.
- Attempt to use it, a war between the States.
- Foreign aid.
- Delinquency not confined to one.
- 1 From municipal jurisdiction.
- 2 Appointment of officers.
- 3 Military jurisdiction.
- 4Fiscal jurisdiction.All these now reside in (the) particular States.Their governments are the chief sources of honor and emolument.
To effect any thing, passions must be turned toward the General Government.
Present Confederation cannot be amended, unless the most important powers be given to Congress, constituted as they are.
This would be liable to all (the) objections against any form of general government, with the addition of the want of checks.
Perpetual effort in each member.
Influence of individuals in office to excite jealousy and clamor—State leaders.
Demosthenes says—Athens seventy-three years—Lacedæmon twenty-seven—The bans after battle of Leuctra.
Phocians—consecrated ground—Philip, etc.
Charlemagne and his successors.
Electors now seven, excluding others.
To strengthen the Federal Government, powers too great must be given to a single hand.
League offensive and defensive, etc.
Particular governments must exert themselves, etc.
But liable to usual vicissi(tudes.)
Internal peace affected.
Proximity of situation—natural enemies.
Partial confederacies from unequal extent.
Power inspires ambition.
Weakness begets jealousy.
Objn.—Genius of republics pacific.
Answer. Jealousy of commerce as well as jealousy of power begets war.
England as many popular as royal wars.
Lewis the XIV.—Austria—Bourbons—William and Anne.
Wars depend upon trifling circumstances.
Where—Duchess of Marlborough's glove.
Distractions set afloat vicious humors.
Standing armies by dissensions.
Monarchy in Southern States.
[ww] Federal rights—Fisheries.
Loss of advantages.
Foreign nations would not respect our rights nor grant us reciprocity.
Would reduce us to a passive commerce.
Fisheries—navigation of the lakes—Mississippi—Fleet.
The General Government must, in this case, not only have a strong soul, but strong organs by which that soul is to operate.
Here I shall give my sentiments of the best form of government—not as a thing attainable by us, but as a model which we ought to approach as near as possible.
British constitution best form.
Society naturally divides itself into two political divisions—the few and the many, who have distinct interests.
If government in the hands of the few, they will tyrannize over the many.
If (in) the hands of the many, they will tyrannize over the few. It ought to be in the hands of both; and they should be separated.
This separation must be permanent.
Representation alone will not do.
Demagogues will generally prevail.
And if separated, they will need a mutual check.
This check is a monarch.
Each principle ought to exist in full force, or it will not answer its end.
The democracy must be derived immediately from the people.
The aristocracy ought to be entirely separated; their power should be permanent, and they should have the caritas liberorum.
They should be so circumstanced that they can have no interest in a change—as to have an effectual weight in the Constitution.
Their duration should be the earnest of wisdom and stability.
’T is essential there should be a permanent will in a community.
Vox populi, vox Dei.
Source of government—the unreasonableness of the people—separate interests—debtors and creditors, etc.
There ought to be a principle in government capable of resisting the popular current.
No periodical duration will come up to this.
This will always imply hopes and fears.
Creature and Creator.
Popular assemblies governed by a few individuals.
These individuals, seeing their dissolution approach, will sacrifice.
The principle of representation will influence.
The most popular branch will acquire an influence over the other.
The other may check in ordinary cases, in which there is no strong public passion; but it will not in cases where there is—the cases in which such a principle is most necessary.
- [ww] Suppose duration seven years, and rotation.
- One seventh will have only one year to serve.
- One seventh—two years.
- One seventh—three years.
- One seventh—four years.
A majority will look to a dissolution in four years by instalments.
The monarch must have proportional strength. He ought to be hereditary, and to have so much power, that it will not be his interest to risk much to acquire more.
The advantage of a monarch is this—he is above corruption—he must always intend, in respect to foreign nations, the true interest and glory of the people.
Republics liable to foreign corruption and intrigue—Holland—Athens.
Effect of the British government.
A vigorous execution of the laws, and a vigorous defence of the people, will result.
Better chance for a good administration.
It is said a republican government does not admit a vigorous execution.
It is therefore bad; for the goodness of a government consists in a vigorous execution.
The principle chiefly intended to be established is this—that there must be a permanent will.
Gentlemen say we need to be rescued from the democracy. But what the means proposed?
A democratic Assembly is to be checked by a democratic Senate, and both these by a democratic chief magistrate.
The end will not be answered—the means will not be equal to the object.
It will, therefore, be feeble and inefficient.
- I Impossible to secure the union by any modification of Federal Government.
- II League, offensive and defensive, full of certain evils and greater dangers.
- III General Government, very difficult, if not impracticable, liable to various objections.
What is to be done?
Answer. Balance inconveniences and dangers, and choose that which seems to have the fewest objections.
Expense admits of this answer. The expense of the State governments will be proportionably diminished.
Interference of officers not so great, because the objects of the General Government and the particular ones will not be the same—Finance—Administration of private justice. Energy will not be wanting in essential points, because the administration of private justice will be carried home to men's doors by the particular governments.
And the revenues may be collected from imposts, excises, etc. If necessary to go further, the General Government may make use of the particular governments.
The attendance of members near the seat of government may be had in the lower branch.
And the upper branch may be so constructed as to induce the attendance of members from any part.
But this proves that the government must be so constituted as to offer strong motives.
In short, to interest all the passions of individuals.
And turn them into that channel.