Portrait of Jonathan Elliot

The State of New York declares that the people may “reassume” their delegated powers at any time they choose (1788)

Found in: The Debates in the Several State Conventions vol. 1

September 17th is Constitution Day in the United States and to celebrate this fact we have chosen a passage from the Ratification of the Constitution made by the State of New York on July 26, 1788. First, there is the opening statement and then clause 3. The full quote contains the first 12 clauses:

Politics & Liberty

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

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