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APPENDIX TO THE DEBATES IN THE FEDERAL CONVENTION. - James Madison, The Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution in the Convention held at Philadelphia in 1787, vol. 5 (Debates in Congress, Madison’s Notes, Misc. Letters) 
The Debates on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution in the Convention held at Philadelphia in 1787, with a Diary of the Debates of the Congress of the Confederation as reported by James Madison, revised and newly arranged by Jonathan Elliot. Complete in One Volume. Vol. V. Supplement to Elliot’s Debates (Philadelphia, 1836).
Part of: The Debates in the Several State Conventions of the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 5 vols.
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APPENDIX TO THE DEBATES IN THE FEDERAL CONVENTION.
See page 125.
Letter from James M. Varnum, of Rhode Island, to the President of the Convention, enclosing the subjoined Communication, from certain Citizens of Rhode Island, to the Federal Convention.
Note.—The following letter from Rhode Island to the Convention was intended to have been delivered by Gen. Varnum, who had, however, left Philadelphia before its arrival. On his return to Rhode Island, he wrote the letter enclosing it.
Newport,June 18, 1787.
The enclosed address, of which I presume your Excellency has received a duplicate, was returned to me, from New York, after my arrival in this state. I flattered myself that our legislature, which convened on Monday last, would have receded from the resolution therein referred to, and have complied with the recommendation of Congress in sending delegates to the Federal Convention. The upper House, or governor and council, embraced the measure; but it was negatived in the House of Assembly by a large majority, notwithstanding that the greatest exertions were made to support it.
Being disappointed in their expectations, the minority in the administration, and all the worthy citizens of this state whose minds are well informed, regretting the peculiarities of their situation, place their fullest confidence in the wisdom and moderation of the national council, and indulge the warmest hopes of being favorably considered in their deliberations. From these deliberations they anticipate a political system which must finally be adopted, and from which will result the safety, the honor, and the happiness, of the United States.
Permit me, sir, to observe, that the measures of our present legislature do not exhibit the real character of the state. They are equally reprobated and abhorred by gentlemen of the learned professions, by the whole mercantile body, and by most of the respectable farmers and mechanics. The majority of the administration is composed of a licentious number of men, destitute of education, and many of them void of principle. From anarchy and confusion they derive their temporary consequence; and this they endeavor to prolong by debauching the minds of the common people, whose attention is wholly directed to the abolition of debts, public and private. With these are associated the disaffected of every description, particularly those who were unfriendly during the war. Their paper money system, founded in oppression and fraud, they are determined to support at every hazard; and, rather than relinquish their favorite pursuit, they trample upon the most sacred obligations. As a proof of this, they refused to comply with a requisition of Congress for repealing all laws repugnant to the treaty of peace with Great Britain, and urged, as their principal reason, that it would be calling in question the propriety of their former measures.
These may be attributed partly to the extreme freedom of our constitution, and partly to the want of energy in the Federal Union; and it is greatly to be apprehended that they cannot speedily be removed, but by uncommon and very serious exertions. It is fortunate, however, that the wealth and resources of this state are chiefly in possession of the well-affected, and that they are entirely devoted to the public good.
I have the honor of being, sir,
|John Brown,||John Jinkes,|
|Joseph Nightingale,||Welcome Arnold,|
|Levi Hall,||William Russell,|
|Philip Allen,||Jeremiah Olney,|
|Paul Allen,||William Barton,|
|Jabez Bowen,||Thomas Lloyd Halsey,|
The Honorable the Chairman of the General Convention, Philadelphia.
See page 129.
Note of Mr. Madison to the Plan of Charles Pinckney, May 29, 1787.
The length of the document laid before the Convention, and other circumstances, having prevented the taking of a copy at the time, that which is inserted in the debates was taken from the paper furnished to the secretary of state, and contained in the Journal of the Convention, published in 1819; which, it being taken for granted that it was a true copy, was not then examined. The coincidence in several instances between that and the Constitution, as adopted, having attracted the notice of others, was at length suggested to mine. On comparing the paper with the Constitution in its final form, or in some of its stages, and with the propositions and speeches of Mr. Pinckney in the Convention, it was apparent that considerable error had crept into the paper, occasioned possibly by the loss of the document laid before the Convention, (neither that nor the resolution offered by Mr. Patterson being among the preserved papers,) and by a consequent resort for a copy to the rough draught, in which erasures and interlineations, following what passed in the Convention, might be confounded, in part at least, with the original text, and, after a lapse of more than thirty years, confounded also in the memory of the author.
There is in the paper a similarity in some cases, and an identity in others, with details, expressions, and definitions, the results of critical discussions and modification in the Convention, that could not have been anticipated.
Examples may be noticed in Article VIII. of the paper; which is remarkable also for the circumstance, that, whilst it specifies the functions of the President, no provision is contained in the paper for the election of such an officer, nor indeed for the appointment of any executive magistracy, notwithstanding the evident purpose of the author to provide an entire plan of a federal government.
Again, in several instances where the paper corresponds with the Constitution, it is at variance with the ideas of Mr. Pinckney, as decidedly expressed in his propositions, and in his arguments, the former in the Journal of the Convention, the latter in the report of its debates. Thus, in Article VIII. of the paper, provision is made for removing the President by impeachment, when it appears that, in the Convention, on the 20th of July, he was opposed to any impeachability of the executive magistrate. In Article III., it is required that all money bills shall originate in the first branch of the legislature; which he strenuously opposed on the 8th of August, and again on the 11th of August. In Article V., members of each House are made ineligible to, as well as incapable of holding, any office under the Union, &c., as was the case at one stage of the Constitution,—a disqualification highly disapproved and opposed by him on the 14th of August.
A still more conclusive evidence of error in the paper is seen in Article III., which provides, as the Constitution does, that the first branch of the legislature shall be chosen by the people of the several states; whilst it appears that, on the 6th of June, according to previous notice, too, a few days only after the draught was laid before the Convention, its author opposed that mode of choice, urging and proposing, in place of it, an election by the legislatures of the several states.
Project communicated by Mr. E. Randolph, July 10, as an accommodating Proposition to small States.
See page 317.
I. Resolved, That in the second branch each state have one vote in the following cases:
1. In granting exclusive rights to ports.
2. In subjecting vessels or seamen of the United States to tonnage duties, or other impositions.
3. In regulating the navigation of rivers.
4. In regulating the rights to be enjoyed by citizens of one state in the other states.
5. In questions arising in the guaranty of territory.
6. In declaring war, or taking measures for subduing a rebellion.
7. In regulating corn.
8. In establishing and regulating the post-office.
9. In the admission of new states into the Union.
10. In establishing rules for the government of the militia.
11. In raising a regular army.
12. In the appointment of the executive.
13. In fixing the seat of government.
That in all other cases the right of suffrage be proportioned according to an equitable rule of representation.
II. That, for the determination of certain important questions in the second branch, a greater number of votes than a mere majority be requisite.
III. That the people of each state ought to retain the perfect right of adopting, from time to time, such forms of republican government as to them may seem best, and of making all laws not contrary to the Articles of Union; subject to the supremacy of the general government in those instances only in which that supremacy shall be expressly declared by the Articles of the Union.
IV. That, although every negative given to the law of a particular state shall prevent its operation, any state may appeal to the national judiciary against a negative; and that such negative, if adjudged to be contrary to the powers granted by the Articles of the Union, shall be void.
V. That any individual, conceiving himself injured or oppressed by the partiality or injustice of a law of any particular state, may resort to the national judiciary, who may adjudge such law to be void, if found contrary to the principles of equity and justice.
Note to Speech of Mr. Madison of August 7, 1787, on the Right of Popular Suffrage.
See page 387.
As appointments for the general government here contemplated will, in part, be made by the state governments, all the citizens in states where the right of suffrage is not limited to the holders of property will have an indirect share of representation in the general government. But this does not satisfy the fundamental principle, that men cannot be justly bound by laws in making which they have no part. Persons and property being both essential objects of government, the most that either can claim is such a structure of it as will leave a reasonable security for the other. And the most obvious provision, of this double character, seems to be that of confining to the holders of property—the object deemed least secure in popular governments—the right of suffrage for one of the two legislative branches. This is not without example among us; as well as other constitutional modifications, favoring the influence of property in the government. But the United States have not reached the stage of society in which conflicting feelings of the class with, and the class without, property, have the operation natural to them in countries fully peopled. The most difficult of all political arrangements is that of so adjusting the claims of the two classes as to give security to each, and to promote the welfare of all. The federal principle, which enlarges the sphere of power without departing from the elective basis of it, and controls in various ways the propensity in small republics to rash measures, and the facility of forming and executing them, will be found the best expedient yet tried for solving the problem.
Second Note to Speech of Mr. Madison of August 7, 1787.
These observations (see Debates in the Convention of 1787, August 7) do not convey the speaker’s more full and matured view of the subject, which is subjoined. He felt too much at the time the example of Virginia.
The right of suffrage is a fundamental article in republican constitutions. The regulation of it is, at the same time, a task of peculiar delicacy. Allow the right exclusively to property, and the rights of persons may be oppressed. The feudal polity alone sufficiently proves it. Extend it equally to all, and the rights of property, or the claims of justice, may be overruled by a majority without property, or interested in measures of injustice. Of this, abundant proof is afforded by other popular governments: and is not without examples in our own, particularly in the laws impairing the obligation of contracts.
In civilized communities, property, as well as personal rights, is an essential object of the laws, which encourage industry by securing the enjoyment of its fruits,—that industry from which property results, and that enjoyment which consists, not merely in its immediate use, but in its posthumous destination to objects of choice and of kindred or affection.
In a just and a free government, therefore, the rights both of property and of persons ought to be effectually guarded. Will the former be so in case of a universal and equal suffrage? Will the latter be so in case of a suffrage confined to the holders of property?
As the holders of property have at stake all the other rights common to those without property, they may be the more restrained from infringing, as well as the less tempted to infringe, the rights of the latter. It is nevertheless certain that there are various ways in which the rich may oppress the poor; in which property may oppress liberty; and that the world is filled with examples. It is necessary that the poor should have a defence against the danger.
On the other hand, the danger to the holders of property cannot be disguised, if they be underfended against a majority without property. Bodies of men are not less awayed by interest than individuals, and are less controlled by the dread of reproach and the other motives felt by individuals. Hence the liability of the rights of property, and of the impartiality of laws affecting it, to be violated by legislative majorities having an interest, real or supposed, in the injustice: hence agrarian laws, and other levelling schemes: hence the cancelling or evading of debts, and other violations of contracts. We must not shut our eyes to the nature of man, nor to the light of experience. Who would rely on a fair decision from three individuals, if two had an interest in the case opposed to the rights of the third? Make the number as great as you please, the impartiality will not be increased, nor any further security against injustice be obtained, than what may result from the greater difficulty of uniting the willa of a greater number. In all governments there is a power which is capable of oppressive exercise. In monarchies and aristocracies, oppression proceeds from a want of sympathy and responsibility in the government towards the people. In popular governments, the danger lies in an undue sympathy among individuals composing a majority, and a want of responsibility in the majority to the minority. The characteristic excellence of the political system of the United States arises from a distribution and organization of its powers, which, at the same time that they secure the dependence of the government on the will of the nation, provide better guards than are found in any other popular government against interested combinations of a majority against the rights of a minority.
The United States have a precious advantage, also, in the actual distribution of property, particularly the landed property, and in the universal hope of acquiring property. This latter peculiarity is among the happiest contrasts in their situation to that of the old world, where no anticipated change in this respect can generally inspire a like sympathy with the rights of property. There may be at present a majority of the nation who are even freeholders, or the heirs or aspirants to freeholds, and the day may not be very near when such will cease to make up a majority of the community. But they cannot always so continue. With every admissible subdivision of the arable lands, a populousness not greater than that of England or France will reduce the holders to a minority. And whenever the majority shall be without landed or other equivalent property, and without the means or hope of acquiring it, what is to secure the rights of property against the danger from an equality and universality of suffrage, vesting complete power over property in hands without a share in it—not to speak of a danger in the mean time from a dependence of an increasing number on the wealth of a few? In other countries this dependence results—in some from the relations between landlords and tenants, in others both from that source and from the relations between wealthy capitalists and indigent laborers. In the United States, the occurrence must happen from the last source; from the connection between the great capitalists in manufactures and commerce, and the numbers employed by them. Nor will accumulations of capital for a certain time be precluded by our laws of descent and of distribution; such being the enterprise inspired by free institutions, that great wealth in the hands of individuals and associations may not be unfrequent. But it may be observed, that the opportunities may be diminished, and the permanency defeated, by the equalizing tendency of our laws.
No free country has ever been without parties, which are a natural offspring of freedom. An obvious and permanent division of every people is into the owners of the soil and the other inhabitants. In a certain sense, the country may be said to belong to the former. If each landholder has an exclusive property in his share, the body of landholders have an exclusive property in the whole. As the soil becomes subdivided, and actually cultivated by the owners, this view of the subject derives force from the principle of natural law which vests in individuals an exclusive right to the portions of ground with which they have incorporated their labor and improvements. Whatever may be the rights of others, derived from their birth in the country, from their interest in the highways and other tracts left open for common use, as well as in the national edifices and monuments, from their share in the public defence, and from their concurrent support of the government, it would seem unreasonable to extend the right so far as to give them, when become the majority, a power of legislation over the landed property without the consent of the proprietors. Some shield against the invasion of their rights would not be out of place in a just and provident system of government. The principle of such an arrangement has prevailed in all governments where peculiar privileges or interests, held by a part, were to be secured against violation, and in the various associations where pecuniary or other property forms the stake. In the former case, a defensive right has been allowed; and if the arrangement be wrong, it is not in the defence, but in the kind of privilege to be defended. In the latter case, the shares of suffrage allotted to individuals have been, with acknowledged justice, apportioned more or less to their respective interests in the common stock.
These reflections suggest the expediency of such a modification of government as would give security to the part of the society having most at stake, and being most exposed to danger. These modifications present themselves.
1. Confining the right of suffrage to freeholders, and to such as hold an equivalent property, convertible of course into freeholds. The objection to this regulation is obvious. It violates the vital principle of free government, that those who are to be bound by laws ought to have a voice in making them. And the violation would be more strikingly unjust as the law-makers become the minority. The regulation would be as unpropitious, also, as it would be unjust. It would engage the numerical and physical force in a constant struggle against the public authority, unless kept down by a standing army fatal to all parties.
2. Confining the right of suffrage for one branch to the holders of property, and for the other branch to those without property. This arrangement, which would give a mutual defence where there might be mutual danger of encroachment, has an aspect of equality and fairness. But it would not be in fact either equal or fair, because the rights to be defended would be unequal, being on one side those of property as well as of persons, and on the other those of persons only. The temptation, also, to encroach, though in a certain degree mutual, would be felt more strongly on one side than on the other. It would be more likely to beget an abuse of the legislative negative, in extorting concessions at the expense of property, than the reverse. The division of the state into two classes, with distinct and independent organs of power, and without any intermingled agency whatever, might lead to contests and antipathies not dissimilar to those between the patricians and plebeians at Rome.
3. Confining the right of electing one branch of the legislature to freeholders, and admitting all others to a common right with holders of property in electing the other branch. This would give a defensive power to the holders of property, and to the class also without property, when becoming a majority of electors, without depriving them in the mean time of a participation in the public councils. If the holders of property would thus have a twofold share of representation, they would have at the same time a twofold stake in it—the rights of property as well as of persons, the twofold object of political institutions. And if no exact and safe equilibrium can be introduced, it is more reasonable that a preponderating weight should be allowed to the greater interest than to the lesser. Experience alone can decide how far the practice in this case would accord with the theory. Such a distribution of the right of suffrage was tried in New York, and has been abandoned,—whether from experienced evils, or party calculations, may possibly be a question. It is still on trial in North Carolina,—with what practical indications, is not known. It is certain that the trial, to be satisfactory, ought to be continued for no inconsiderable period; until, in fact, the non-freeholders should be the majority.
4. Should experience or public opinion require an equal and universal suffrage for each branch of the government, such as prevails generally in the United States, a resource favorable to the right of the landed and other property, when its possessors become the minority, may be found in an enlargement of the election districts for one branch of the legislature, and a prolongation of its period of service. Large districts are manifestly favorable to the election of persons of general respectability, and of probable attachment to the rights of property, over competitors depending on the personal solicitation practicable on a contracted theatre. And, although an ambitious candidate, of personal distinction, might occasionally recommend himself to popular choice by espousing a popular though unjust object, it might rarely happen to many districts at the same time. The tendency of a longer period of service would be to render the body more stable in its policy, and more capable of stemming popular currents taking a wrong direction, till reason and justice could regain their ascendency.
5. Should even such a modification as the last be deemed inadmissible, and universal suffrage, and very short periods of election, within contracted spheres, be required for each branch of the government, the security for the holders of property, when the minority, can only be derived from the ordinary influence possessed by property, and the superior information incident to its holders; from the popular sense or justice, enlightened and enlarged by a diffusive education; and from the difficulty of combining and effectuating unjust purposes throughout an extensive country,—a difficulty essentially distinguishing the United States, and even most of the individual states, from the small communities, where a mistaken interest, or contagious passion, could readily unite a majority of the whole, under a factious leader, in trampling on the rights of the minor party.
Under every view of the subject, it seems indispensable that the mass of citizens should not be without a voice in making the laws which they are to obey, and in choosing the magistrates who are to administer them. And if the only alternative be between an equal and universal right of suffrage for each branch of the government and a confinement of the entire right to a part of the citizens, it is better that those having the greater interest at stake—namely, that of property and persons both—should be deprived of half their share in the government, than that those having the lesser interest—that of personal rights only—should be deprived of the whole.
Third Note on the same Subject, during the Virginia Convention for amending the Constitution of the State, 1829—30.
The right of suffrage being of vital importance, and approving an extension of it to housekeepers and heads of families, I will suggest a few considerations which govern my judgment on the subject.
Were the Constitution on hand to be adapted to the present circumstances of our country, without taking into view the changes which time is rapidly producing, an unlimited extension of the right would probably vary little the character of our public councils or measures. But, as we are to prepare a system of government for a period which it is hoped will be a long one, we must look to the prospective changes in the condition and composition of the society on which it is to act.
It is a law of nature, now well understood, that the earth, under a civilized cultivation, is capable of yielding subsistence for a large surplus of consumers beyond those having an immediate interest in the soil; a surplus which must increase with the increasing improvements in agriculture, and the labor-saving arts applied to it. And it is a lot of humanity, that of this surplus a large proportion is necessarily reduced, by a competition for employment, to wages which afford them the bare necessaries of life. The proportion being without property, or the hope of acquiring it, cannot be expected to sympathize sufficiently with its rights, to be safe depositaries of power over them.
What is to be done with this unfavored class of the community? If it be, on one hand, unsafe to admit them to a full share of political power, it must be recollected, on the other, that it cannot be expedient to rest a republican government on a portion of society having a numerical and physical force excluded from and liable to be turned against it, and which would lead to a standing military force, dangerous to all parties, and to liberty itself.
This view of the subject makes it proper to embrace, in the partnership of power, every description of citizens having a sufficient stake in the public order and the stable administration of the laws; and particularly the housekeeper and heads of families; most of whom, “having given hostages to fortune,” will have given them to their country also.
This portion of the community, added to those who, although not possessed of a share of the soil, are deeply interested in other species of property, and both of them added to the territorial proprietors, who in a certain sense may be regarded as the owners of the country itself, form the safest basis of free government. To the security for such a government, afforded by these combined numbers, may be further added the political and moral influence emanating from the actual possession of authority, and a just and beneficial exercise of it.
It would be happy if a state of society could be found or framed, in which an equal voice in making the laws might be allowed to every individual bound to obey them. But this is a theory which, like most theories, confessedly requires limitations and modifications. And the only question to be decided, in this as in other cases, turns on the particular degree of departure, in practice, required by the essence and object of the theory itself.
It must not be supposed that a crowded state of population, of which we have no example, and which we know only by the image reflected from examples elsewhere, is too remote to claim attention.
The ratio of increase in the United States shows that the present
|12 millions will,||in||25 years,||be||24 millions.|
|24 millions will,||50 years,||48 millions.|
|48 millions will,||75 years,||96 millions.|
|96 millions will,||100 years,||192 millions.|
There may be a gradual decrease of the rate of increase; but it will be small as long as the agriculture shall yield its abundance. Great Britain has doubled her population in the last 50 years, notwithstanding its amount in proportion to its territory at the commencement of that period; and Ireland is a much stronger proof of the effect of an increasing product of food in multiplying the consumers.
How far this view of the subject will be affected by the republican laws of descent and distribution, in equalizing the property of the citizens, and in reducing to the minimum mutual surpluses for mutual supplies, cannot be inferred from any direct and adequate experiment. One result would seem to be a deficiency of the capital for the expensive establishments which facilitate labor and cheapen its products, on one hand, and, on the other, of the capacity to purchase the costly and ornamental articles consumed by the wealthy alone, who must cease to be idlers and become laborers; another, the increased mass of laborers added to the production of necessaries, by the withdrawal, for this object, of a part of those now employed in producing luxuries, and the addition to the laborers from the class of present consumers of luxuries. To the effect of these changes, intellectual, moral, and social, the institutions and laws of the country must be adapted, and it will require for the task all the wisdom of the wisest patriots.
Supposing the estimate of the growing population of the United States to be nearly correct, and the extent of their territory to be eight or nine hundred millions of acres, and one fourth of it to consist of inarable surface; there will, in a century or little more, be nearly as crowded a population in the United States as in Great Britain or France; and if the present constitution, [of Virginia,] with all its flaws, has lasted more than half a century, it is not an unreasonable hope that an amended one will last more than a century.
If these observations be just, every mind will be able to develop and apply them.
Copy of a Paper communicated to James Madison by Col. Hamilton, about the close of the Convention in Philadelphia, 1787, which, he said, delineated the Constitution which he would have wished to be proposed by the Convention. He had stated the principles of it in the course of the deliberations.
In a letter to Mr. Pickering, dated Sept. 16, 1803, (see Pitkin’s History, Vol. 2, p. 259—60) Col. Hamilton was under the erroneous impression that this paper limited the duration of the presidential term to three years. This instance of the fallibility of Col. Hamilton’s memory, as well as his erroneous distribution of the numbers of the “Federalists,” among the different writers for that work, it has been the lot of Mr. Madison to rectify; and it became incumbent, in the present instance, from the contents of the plan having been seen by others, (previously as well as subsequently to the publication of Col. Hamilton’s letter,) that it, also, should be published.
The people of the United States of America do ordain and establish this Constitution for the government of themselves and their posterity:—
Article I.—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.
Art. II.—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 elections of representatives, apportioning them in each state, from time to time, as nearly as may be to the number of persons described in the fourth section of the seventh 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 their 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 the other officers; shall judge of the qualifications and elections of its own members; 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 moneys 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.
Art. III.—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 first 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 officer of a senator, his place shall be supplied by a new election in the district from which he came. Upon each election there shall be not 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 new arrangement) to which the constituent parts were entitled according to the change of situation, having regard to the number of persons described in the fourth section of the seventh 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 or 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 possess 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.
Art. IV.—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 not be 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, 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. The 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 senior in office in such court, or, if there be no one judge senior 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 lists 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 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 their 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 place during good be havior,* removable only by conviction upon 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 officers of each of the departments of war, naval affairs, finance, 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 offices 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 nor 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 afterwards 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, or 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.
Art. V.—Sec. 1. There shall be a chief justice of the Supreme Court, who, together with the other judges thereof, shall hold the office 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 sixth 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 office; 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.
Sec. 2. 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 tenth section of the fourth 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 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.
Art. VI.—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.
Art. VII.—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 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 to him 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 on 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.
Art. VIII.—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 to 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.
Art. IX.—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 by 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 states, 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 guaranty 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.
Art. X.—This Constitution shall be submitted to the consideration of conventions in the several states, the members whereof shall be chosen by the people of such states, respectively, under the direction of their respective legislatures. Each convention which shall ratify the same, shall appoint the first representatives and senators from such state according to the rule prescribed in the—section of the—article. The representatives so appointed shall continue in office for one year only. Each convention so ratifying shall give notice thereof to the Congress of the United States, transmitting at the same time a list of the representatives and senators chosen. When the Constitution shall have been duly ratified, Congress shall give notice of a day and place for the meeting of the senators and representatives from the several states; and when these, or a majority of them, shall have assembled according to such notice, they shall by joint ballot, by plurality of votes, elect a President of the United States; and the Constitution thus organized shall be carried into effect.
[* ]The signing was omitted through inadvertence, but the letter was from Gen. Varnum.
[* ]This paragraph was in the letter enclosed by Gen. Varnum, but not in the duplicate alluded to by his letter.
[* ]Query,—to provide for distant states.
[* ]See editorial note at the beginning of this plan.