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Journal of the Federal Convention June 19th 1787
Avalon Project ^ | James Madison

Posted on 06/19/2011 2:44:46 AM PDT by Jacquerie

Madison Speech. End of NJ/Patterson Plan. Randolph Plan as Amended.

In Committee of the Whole On the Propositions of Mr. Patterson [FN1]

The substitute offered yesterday by Mr. Dickenson being rejected by a vote now taken on it; Con. N. Y. N. J. Del. ay. [FN2] Mas. Pa. V. N. C. S. C. Geo. no. [FN3] Mayd. divided.

Mr. PATTERSON's plan was again at large before the Committee.

Mr. MADISON. Much stress had [FN4] been laid by some gentlemen on the want of power in the Convention to propose any other than a federal plan. To what had been answered by others, he would only add, that neither of the characteristics attached to a federal plan would support this objection. One characteristic, was that in a federal Government, the power was exercised not on the people individually; [FN5] but on the people collectively, on the States. Yet in some instances as in piracies, captures &c. the existing Confederacy, and in many instances, the amendments to it proposed by Mr. Patterson, must operate immediately on individuals. The other characteristic was that a federal Govt. derived its appointments not immediately from the people, but from the States which they respectively composed. Here too were facts on the other side. In two of the States, Connect. and Rh. Island, the delegates to Congs. were chosen, not by the Legislatures, but by the people at large; and the plan of Mr. P. intended no change in this particular.

It had been alledged [by Mr. Patterson], that the Confederation having been formed by unanimous consent, could be dissolved by unanimous Consent only. Does this doctrine result from the nature of compacts? does it arise from any particular stipulation in the articles of Confederation? If we consider the federal union as analogous to the fundamental compact by which individuals compose one Society, and which must in its theoretic origin at least, have been the unanimous act of the component members, it can not be said that no dissolution of the compact can be effected without unanimous consent. A breach of the fundamental principles of the compact by a part of the Society would certainly absolve the other part from their obligations to it. If the breach of any article by any of the parties, does not set the others at liberty, it is because, the contrary is implied in the compact itself, and particularly by that law of it, which gives an indifinite authority to the majority to bind the whole in all cases.

This latter circumstance shews that we are not to consider the federal Union as analogous to the social compact of individuals: for if it were so, a Majority would have a right to bind the rest, and even to form a new Constitution for the whole, which the Gentn. from N. Jersey would be among the last to admit. If we consider the federal Union as analogous not to the social compacts among individual men: but to the conventions among individual States. What is the doctrine resulting from these conventions? Clearly, according to the Expositors of the law of Nations, that a breach of any one article, by any one party, leaves all the other parties at liberty, to consider the whole convention as dissolved, unless they choose rather to compel the delinquent party to repair the breach. In some treaties indeed it is expressly stipulated that a violation of particular articles shall not have this consequence, and even that particular articles shall remain in force during war, which in general is [FN6] understood to dissolve all subsisting Treaties. But are there any exceptions of this sort to the Articles of confederation? So far from it that there is not even an express stipulation that force shall be used to compell an offending member of the Union to discharge its duty.

He observed that the violations of the federal articles had been numerous & notorious. Among the most notorious was an act of N. Jersey herself; by which she expressly refused to comply with a constitutional requisition of Congs. and yielded no farther to the expostulations of their deputies, than barely to rescind her vote of refusal without passing any positive act of compliance. He did not wish to draw any rigid inferences from these observations. He thought it proper however that the true nature of the existing confederacy should be investigated, and he was not anxious to strengthen the foundations on which it now stands. Proceeding to the consideration of Mr. Patterson's plan, he stated the object of a proper plan to be twofold. 1. [FN7] to preserve the Union. 2. [FN7] to provide a Governmt. that will remedy the evils felt by the States both in their united and individual capacities. Examine Mr. P.s plan, & say whether it promises satisfaction in these respects.

1. Will it prevent those violations of the law of nations & of Treaties which if not prevented must involve us in the calamities of foreign wars? The tendency of the States to these violations has been manifested in sundry instances. The files of Congs. contain complaints already, from almost every nation with which treaties have been formed. Hitherto indulgence has been shewn to us. This can not be the permanent disposition of foreign nations. A rupture with other powers is among the greatest of national calamities. It ought therefore to be effectually provided that no part of a nation shall have it in its power to bring them on the whole. The existing Confederacy does not sufficiently provide against this evil. The proposed amendment to it does not supply the omission. It leaves the will of the States as uncontrouled as ever.

2. Will it prevent encroachments on the federal authority? A tendency to such encroachments has been sufficiently exemplified, among ourselves, as well [FN8] in every other confederated republic antient and Modern. By the federal articles, transactions with the Indians appertain to Congs. Yet in several instances, the States have entered into treaties & wars with them. In like manner no two or more States can form among themselves any treaties &c. without the consent of Congs. Yet Virga. & Maryd. in one instance-Pena. & N. Jersey in another, have entered into compacts, without previous application or subsequent apology.

No State again can of right raise troops in time of peace without the like consent. Of all cases of the league, this seems to require the most scrupulous observance. Has not Massts, notwithstanding, the most powerful member of the Union, already raised a body of troops? Is she not now augmenting them, without having even deigned to apprise Congs. of Her intention? In fine-Have we not seen the public land dealt out to Cont. to bribe her acquiescence in the decree constitutionally awarded agst. her claim on the territory of Pena.? for no other possible motive can account for the policy of Congs. in that measure? -If we recur to the examples of other confederacies, we shall find in all of them the same tendency of the parts to encroach on the authority of the whole.

He then reviewed the Amphyctionic & Achaean confederacies among the antients, and the Helvetic, Germanic & Belgic among the moderns, tracing their analogy to the U. States-in the constitution and extent of their federal authorities-in the tendency of the particular members to usurp on these authorities; and to bring confusion & ruin on the whole. -He observed that the plan of Mr. Pat-son besides omitting a controul over the States as a general defence of the federal prerogatives was particularly defective in two of its provisions. 1. [FN9] Its ratification was not to be by the people at large, but by the legislatures. It could not therefore render the Acts of Congs. in pursuance of their powers, even legally paramount to the Acts of the States. 2. [FN10] It gave to the federal Tribunal an appellate jurisdiction only-even in the criminal cases enumerated, The necessity of any such provision supposed a danger of undue acquittals [FN11] in the State tribunals. Of what avail cd. [FN12] an appellate tribunal be, after an acquittal? Besides in most if not all of the States, the Executives have by their respective Constitutions the right of pardg. How could this be taken from them by a legislative [FN13] ratification only?

3. Will it prevent trespasses of the States on each other? Of this enough has been already seen. He instanced Acts of Virga. & Maryland which give [FN14] a preference to their own Citizens in cases where the Citizens of other States are entitled to equality of privileges by the Articles of Confederation. He considered the emissions of paper money & other kindred measures as also aggressions. The States relatively to one an other being each of them either Debtor or Creditor; The creditor States must suffer unjustly from every emission by the debtor States. We have seen retaliating acts on this subject which threatened danger not to the harmony only, but the tranquility of the Union. The plan of Mr. Paterson, not giving even a negative on the acts of the States, left them as much at liberty as ever to execute their unrighteous projects agst. each other.

4. Will it secure the internal tranquility of the States themselves? The insurrections in Massts. admonished all the States of the danger to which they were exposed. Yet the plan of Mr. P. contained no provisions for supplying the defect of the Confederation on this point. According to the Republican theory indeed, Right & power being both vested in the majority, are held to be synonimous. According to act & experience, a minority may in an appeal to force be an overmatch for the majority. 1. [FN15] If the minority happen to include all such as possess the skill & habits of military life, with such as possess the great pecuniary resources, one third may conquer the remaining two thirds. 2. [FN16] one third of those who participate in the choice of rulers may be rendered a majority by the accession of those whose poverty disqualifies them from a suffrage, & who for obvious reasons may [FN17] be more ready to join the standard of sedition than that of the [FN18] established Government. 3. [FN19] where slavery exists, the Republican Theory becomes still more fallacious.

5. Will it secure a good internal legislation & administration to the particular States? In developing the evils which vitiate the political system of the U.S. it is proper to take into view those which prevail within the States individually as well as those which affect them collectively: Since the former indirectly affect the whole; and there is great reason to believe that the pressure of them had a full share in the motives which produced the present Convention. Under this head he enumerated and animadverted on 1. [FN20] the multiplicity of the laws passed by the several States. 2. [FN20] the mutability of their laws. 3. [FN20] the injustice of them. 4. [FN21] the impotence of them: observing that Mr. Patterson's plan contained no remedy for this dreadful class of evils, and could not therefore be received as an adequate provision for the exigences of the Community.

6. Will it secure the Union agst. the influence of foreign powers over its members. He pretended not to say that any such influence had yet been tried: but it was naturally to be expected that occasions would produce it. As lessons which claimed particular attention, he cited the intrigues practised among the Amphyctionic Confederates first by the Kings of Persia, and afterwards fatally by Philip of Macedon: among the Achaeans, first by Macedon & afterwards no less fatally by Rome: among the Swiss by Austria, France & the lesser neighbouring powers: among the members of the Germanic Body by France, England, Spain & Russia-: and in the Belgic Republic, by all the great neighbouring powers. The plan of Mr. Patterson, not giving to the general Councils any negative on the will of the particular States, left the door open for the like pernicious machinations among ourselves.

7. He begged the smaller States which were most attached to Mr. Pattersons plan to consider the situation in which it would leave them. In the first place they would continue to bear the whole expence of maintaining their Delegates in Congress. It ought not to be said that if they were willing to bear this burden, no others had a right to complain. As far as it led the small States to forbear keeping up a representation, by which the public business was delayed, it was evidently a matter of common concern. An examination of the minutes of Congress would satisfy every one that the public business had been frequently delayed by this cause; and that the States most frequently unrepresented in Congs. were not the larger States.

He reminded the convention of another consequence of leaving on a small State the burden of maintaining a Representation in Congs. During a considerable period of the War, one of the Representatives of Delaware, in whom alone before the signing of the Confederation the entire vote of that State and after that event one half of its vote, frequently resided, was a Citizen & Resident of Pena. and held an office in his own State incompatible with an appointment from it to Conga. During another period, the same State was represented by three delegates two of whom were citizens of Penna. and the third a Citizen of New Jersey. These expedients must have been intended to avoid the burden of supporting delegates from their own State. But whatever might have been ye. cause, was not in effect the vote of one State doubled, and the influence of another increased by it? In the 2d. place The coercion, on which the efficacy of the plan depends, can never be exerted but on themselves. The larger States will be impregnable, the smaller only can feel the vengeance of it. He illustrated the position by the history of the Amphyctionic Confederates: and the ban of the German Empire. It was the cobweb wch. could entangle the weak, but would be the sport of the strong.

8. He begged them to consider the situation in which they would remain in case their pertinacious adherence to an inadmissible plan, should prevent the adoption of any plan. The contemplation of such an event was painful; but it would be prudent to submit to the task of examining it at a distance, that the means of escaping it might be the more readily embraced. Let the Union of the States be dissolved, and one of two consequences must happen. Either the States must remain individually independent & sovereign; or two or more Confederacies must be formed among them. In the first event would the small States be more secure agst. the ambition & power of their larger neighbours, than they would be under a general Government pervading with equal energy every part of the Empire, and having an equal interest in protecting every part agst. every other part? In the second, can the smaller expect that their larger neighbours would confederate with them on the principle of the present confederacy, which gives to each member, an equal suffrage; or that they would exact less severe concessions from the smaller States, than are proposed in the scheme of Mr. Randolph?

The great difficulty lies in the affair of Representation; and if this could be adjusted, all others would be surmountable. It was admitted by both the gentlemen from N. Jersey [Mr. Brearly and Mr. Patterson] that it would not be just to allow Virga. which was 16 times as large as Delaware an equal vote only. Their language was that it would not be safe for Delaware to allow Virga. 16 times as many votes. The expedient proposed by them was that all the States should be thrown into one mass and a new partition be made into 13 equal parts. Would such a scheme be practicable? The dissimilarities existing in the rules of property, as well as in the manners, habits and prejudices of the [FN22] different States, amounted to a prohibition of the attempt. It had been found impossible for the power of one of the most absolute princes in Europe [K. of France] directed by the wisdom of one of the most enlightened and patriotic Ministers [Mr. Neckar] that any age has produced to equalize in some points only the different usages & regulations of the different provinces.

But admitting a general amalgamation and repartition of the States to be practicable, and the danger apprehended by the smaller States from a proportional representation to be real; would not a particular and voluntary coalition of these with their neighbours, be less inconvenient to the whole community, and equally effectual for their own safety. If N. Jersey or Delaware conceived that an advantage would accrue to them from an equalization of the States, in which case they would necessaryly form a junction with their neighbours, why might not this end be attained by leaving them at liberty by the Constitution to form such a junction whenever they pleased? And why should they wish to obtrude a like arrangement on all the States, when it was, to say the least, extremely difficult, would be obnoxious to many of the States, and when neither the inconveniency, [FN23] nor the benefit of the expedient to themselves, would be lessened, by confining it to themselves. -The prospect of many new States to the Westward was another consideration of importance. If they should come into the Union at all, they would come when they contained but few inhabitants. If they shd. be entitled to vote according to their proportions of inhabitants, all would be right & safe. Let them have an equal vote, and a more objectionable minority than ever might give law to the whole.

On a question for postponing generally the 1st. proposition of Mr. Patterson's plan, it was agreed to: N. Y. & N J. only being no-

On the question moved by Mr. King whether the Committee should rise & Mr. Randolphs propositions be re-reported without alteration, which was in fact a question whether Mr. R's should be adhered to as preferable to those of Mr. Patterson:

Massts. ay. Cont ay. N. Y. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. divd. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN24]

Insert here from Printed Journal p. 13 [FN25] copy of the Resolns. of Mr. R. as altered in the Come. and reported to the House [FN26]

[State of the resolutions submitted to the consideration of the House by the honorable Mr. Randolph, as altered, amended, and agreed to, in a Committee of the whole House.

1. Resolved that it is the opinion of this Committee that a national government ought to be established consisting of a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.

2. Resolved. that the national Legislature ought to consist of Two Branches.

3 Resolved that the members of the first branch of the national Legislature ought to be elected by the People of the several States for the term of Three years. to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service to be paid out of the National- Treasury. to be ineligible to any Office established by a particular State or under the authority of the United-States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch) during the term of service, and under the national government for the space of one year after it's expiration.

4 Resolved. that the members of the second Branch of the national Legislature ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures. to be of the age of thirty years at least. to hold their offices for a term sufficient to ensure their independency, namely seven years. to receive fixed stipends, by which they may be compensated for the devotion of their time to public service-to be paid out of the National Treasury to be ineligible to any office established by a particular State, or under the authority of the United States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch) during the term of service, and under the national government, for the space of one year after it's expiration.

5. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.

6. Resolved. that the national Legislature ought to be empowered to enjoy the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confederation-and moreover to legislate in all cases to which the separate States are incompetent: or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation. to negative all laws passed by the several States contravening, in the opinion of the national Legislature, the articles of union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the union.

7. Resolved. that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation: but according to some equitable ratio of representation- namely, in proportion to the whole number of white and other free citizens and inhabitants of every age, sex, and condition including those bound to servitude for a term of years, and three fifths of all other persons not comprehended in the foregoing description, except Indians, not paying taxes in each State.

8 Resolved. that the right of suffrage in the second branch of the national Legislature ought to be according to the rule established for the first.

9 Resolved. that a national Executive be instituted to consist of a single person. to be chosen by the National Legislature. for the term of seven years. with power to carry into execution the national Laws, to appoint to Offices in cases not otherwise provided for to be ineligible a second time, and to be removable on impeachment and conviction of mal practice or neglect of duty. to receive a fixed stipend, by which he may be compensated for the devotion of his time to public service to be paid out of the national Treasury.

10 Resolved. that the national executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act: which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each branch of the national Legislature.

11 Resolved. that a national Judiciary be established to consist of One Supreme Tribunal. The Judges of which to be appointed by the second Branch of the National Legislature. to hold their offices during good behaviour to receive, punctually, at stated times, a fixed compensation for their services: in which no encrease or diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such encrease or diminution.

12 Resolved. That the national Legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.

13 Resolved. that the jurisdiction of the national Judiciary shall extend to cases which respect the collection of the national revenue: impeachments of any national officers: and questions which involve the national peace and harmony.

14. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the admission of States, lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise, with the consent of a number of voices in the national Legislature less than the whole.

15. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the continuance of Congress and their authorities until a given day after the reform of the articles of Union shall be adopted; and for the completion of all their engagements.

16. Resolved that a republican constitution, and its existing laws, ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United States.

17. Resolved. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of Union, whensoever it shall seem necessary.

18 Resolved. that the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary powers within the several States ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union.

19 Resolved. that the amendments which shall be offered to the confederation by the Convention, ought at a proper time or times, after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the People to consider and decide thereon.

(Of [FN27] Mr. Randolph's plan as reported from the Committee) [FN28]. the 1. propos: "that a Natl. Govt. ought to be established consisting &c." being taken up in the House. [FN29]

Mr. WILSON observed that by a Natl. Govt. he did not mean one that would swallow up the State Govts. as seemed to be wished by some gentlemen. He was tenacious of the idea of preserving the latter. He thought, contrary to the opinion of [Col. Hamilton] that they might not only subsist but subsist on friendly terms with the former. They were absolutely necessary for certain purposes which the former could not reach. All large Governments must be subdivided into lesser jurisdictions. As Examples he mentioned Persia, Rome, and particularly the divisions & subdivisions of England by Alfred.

Col. HAMILTON coincided with the proposition as it stood in the Report. He had not been understood yesterday. By an abolition of the States, he meant that no boundary could be drawn between the National & State Legislatures; that the former must therefore have indefinite authority. If it were limited at all, the rivalship of the States would gradually subvert it. Even as Corporations the extent of some of them as Va. Massts. &c. would be formidable. As States, he thought they ought to be abolished. But he admitted the necessity of leaving in them, subordinate jurisdictions. The examples of Persia & the Roman Empire, cited by [Mr. Wilson] were he thought in favor of his doctrine: the great powers delegated to the Satraps & proconsuls, having frequently produced revolts, and schemes of independence.

Mr. KING, wished as every thing depended on this proposition, that no objections might be improperly indulged agst. the phraseology of it. He conceived that the import of the terms "States" "Sovereignty" "national" "federal," had been often used & applied in the discussions inaccurately & delusively. The States were not "Sovereigns" in the sense contended for by some. They did not possess the peculiar features of sovereignty, they could not make war, nor peace, nor alliances nor treaties. Considering them as political Beings, they were dumb, for they could not speak to any foreign Sovereign whatever. They were deaf, for they could not hear any propositions from such Sovereign. They had not even the organs or faculties of defence or offence, for they could not of themselves raise troops, or equip vessels, for war. On the other side, if the Union of the States comprizes the idea of a confederation, it comprizes that also of consolidation. A Union of the States is a Union of the men composing them, from whence a national character results to the whole.

Congs. can act alone without the States-they can act & their acts will be binding agst. the Instructions of the States. If they declare war: war is de jure declared-captures made in pursuance of it are lawful-No acts of the States can vary the situation, or prevent the judicial consequences. If the States therefore retained some portion of their sovereignty, they had certainly divested themselves of essential portions of it. If they formed a confederacy in some respects-they formed a Nation in others-The Convention could clearly deliberate on & propose any alterations that Congs. could have done under ye. federal articles, and could not Congs. propose by virtue of the last article, a change in any article whatever: and as well that relating to the equality of suffrage, as any other. He made these remarks to obviate some scruples which had been expressed. He doubted much the practicability of annihilating the States; but thought that much of their power ought to be taken from them.

Mr. MARTIN, said he considered that the separation from G. B. placed the 13 States in a state of Nature towards each other; that they would have remained in that state till this time, but for the confederation; that they entered into the confederation on the footing of equality; that they met now to to amend it on the same footing; and that he could never accede to a plan that would introduce an inequality and lay 10 States at the mercy of Va. Massts. and Penna.

Mr. WILSON, could not admit the doctrine that when the Colonies became independent of G. Britain, they became independent also of each other. He read the declaration of Independence, observing thereon that the United Colonies were declared to be free & independent States; and inferring that they were independent, not individually but Unitedly and that they were confederated as they were independent, States.

Col. HAMILTON, assented to the doctrine of Mr. Wilson. He denied the doctrine that the States were thrown into a State of Nature He was not yet prepared to admit the doctrine that the Confederacy, could be dissolved by partial infractions of it. He admitted that the States met now on an equal footing but could see no inference from that against concerting a change of the system in this particular. He took this occasion of observing for the purpose of appeasing the fears of the small States, that two circumstances would render them secure under a National Govt. in which they might lose the equality of rank they now held: one was the local situation of the 3 largest States Virga. Masts. & Pa. They were separated from each other by distance of place, and equally so, by all the peculiarities which distinguish the interests of one State from those of another. No combination therefore could be dreaded. In the second place, as there was a gradation in the States from Va. the largest down to Delaware the smallest, it would always happen that ambitious combinations among a few States might & wd. be counteracted by defensive combinations of greater extent among the rest. No combination has been seen among [FN30] large Counties merely as such, agst. lesser Counties. The more close the Union of the States, and the more compleat the authority of the whole: the less opportunity will be allowed [FN31] the stronger States to injure the weaker.


FN1 The word "The" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN2 The figure "4" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN3 The figure "6" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN4 The word "has" is substituted in the transcript for "had."

FN5 The transcript italicizes the word "individually."

FN6 The words "in general is" are transposed to read "is in general" in the transcript.

FN7 The figures "1" and "2" are changed to "first" and "secondly" in the transcript.

FN8 The word "as" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN9 The figure "1" is changed to "In the first place" in the transcript.

FN10 The figure "2" is changed to "and in the second place" in the transcript.

FN11 The transcript uses the word "acquittals" in the singular.

FN12 The word "would" is substituted in the transcript for "cd"

FN13 The word "legislative" is not italicized in the transcript.

FN14 The word "gave" is substituted in the transcript for "give."

FN15 The figure "1" is changed to "in the first place" in the transcript.

FN16 The figure "2" is changed to "in the second place" in the transcript.

FN17 The word "must" is substituted in the transcript for "may".

FN18 The word "the" is omitted in the transcript.

FN19 The figure "3" is changed to "and in the third place."

FN20 The figures "1," "2" and "3" are changed to "first," "secondly," and "thirdly" in the transcript.

FN21 The figure "4" is changed to "and fourthly" in the transcript.

FN22 The word "the" is crossed out in the transcript.

FN23 The word "inconveniency" is changed to "inconvenience" in the transcript.

FN24 In the transcript the vote reads: "Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-7; New York, New Jersey, Delaware, no-3; Maryland divided."

FN25 Found at page 134 instead of page 13, and here printed from the original manuscript deposited in the Department of State by President Washington.

FN26 Madison's direction concerning Mr. Randolph's Resolutions and the Resolutions themselves are omitted in the transcript.

FN27 The word "of" is omitted in the transcript.

FN28 The words "June 13 being before the house" are here inserted in the transcript.

FN29 The words "in the House" are omitted in the transcript.

FN30 The word "the" is here inserted in the transcript.

FN31 The word "to" is here inserted in the transcript

TOPICS: Government; Reference
KEYWORDS: constitution; convention; framers; freeperbookclub; madison
(After Mr. Hamilton’s speech yesterday, one has to wonder what dinner conversation was like last night.)

Committee of the Whole. Patterson Plan continued.

James Madison (VA) pointed out that Mr. Patterson’s plan had elements outside of the strict federalism some believed were required in any recommendation by the convention. (What followed was probably Madison’s best speech of the Convention)

As for unanimous consent to dissolve that which had been created by unanimous consent, that logic did not hold when applied to treaties, or “compacts between states.” The states regularly ignored specific clauses in the Articles. It was an existing compact in name only. NJ went so far as to specifically via law, deny a tax requisition from Congress. He thought an examination of the nature of confederacies would be helpful, for it would show them to be poor foundations to build upon.

A proper plan would: 1. Preserve the Union. 2. Remedy the evils both felt and caused by the states.

(Mr. Madison was a member of Congress 1781-1783. According to him, the Patterson Plan did nothing to prevent the states from upsetting treaties with foreign powers. Calamities would result.)

States would continue to assume powers assigned to Congress under the Articles. States had no authority to make treaties with Indian tribes or enter into compacts on their own, yet VA/MD and PA/NJ did so. MA has raised troops. What happened was endemic to confederacies; the parts will encroach on the whole.

Next, there followed a review of ancient and modern confederacies. All kept to form; confusion and ruin were brought on by members. Inadequate control over members was a serious defect in the Patterson Plan.

Another was that ratification of Patterson’s Plan would be by state legislatures, whereas the state legislatures were elected by the people. In this regard, the Acts of the states were legally paramount to those of Congress.

The Judiciary had only appellate jurisdiction, even in criminal cases. He thought undue acquittals in state courts necessitated this provision. Yet was it realistic that an acquitted man would face another trial, this time at the federal level? Besides, in most states, the governor has the power to pardon.

What of equal rights among citizens of the several states? Article IV of the Articles entitled citizens of one state to equal enjoyment of other state’s “privileges and immunities.” Despite this, VA and MD gave preference to their citizens over citizens of other states. Paper money was another transgression. It could lead to conflict between the states. (Is there any wonder why the convention considered Congressional veto over state laws?)

Would the Patterson Plan secure peace within the states? Shays’ Rebellion? I do not sufficiently follow Madison’s subsequent treatment of republics. If I understand, in his theory of republican government, the majority in all situations have legitimate, unquestionable powers and rights over the minority. Yet, experience has proven otherwise.

Mr. Madison thought a well designed national government would promote better State Laws, as opposed to the Articles.

Madison then implied foreign machinations with individual states. Further outside influence was expected.

He accused the small states in general of occasionally not providing salary for their members of Congress, which resulted in non-attendance and occasional lack of quorums to conduct business. In one situation, a delegate ostensibly from DE was actually a citizen and office holder in PA. Later on, DE was represented by another citizen of PA and two from NJ.

Armed force will never be implemented against larger states, but possibly only on the smaller.

Consider the consequences of refusing to consider a plan outside of the Articles. Perhaps dissolution of the union and formation of smaller, two or more member state confederacies. Would small states be welcomed on an equal basis with larger neighbors? Madison played hardball here.

Once the problem of representation was reconciled, solutions to other issues would fall into place. Mr. Brearly and Mr. Patterson of NJ allowed it unjust to give VA and DE one vote each. They also found it dangerous to give VA 16 times as many votes as DE. Their solution was to toss the states into one mass and divide into thirteen equal parts. Madison goes on at length as to why this idea would not work.

(C. D Bowen in Miracle at Philadelphia described Madison’s speech as “shredding the NJ plan.” “Would the New Jersey Plan prevent the states from trespassing upon each other, as debtor states had done by issuing paper money in retaliation against creditor states? Would it prevent internal state turmoils such as MA had experienced in Shays’s Rebellion? Would it protect the Union against the influence of foreign powers? Had the small states considered the expense of the NJ Plan, by which each state must pay its entire delegation to Congress? Could a nation survive under a compact which did not bind the whole? Had the small states stopped to think where they would be if their stubborn adherence to the NJ Plan prevented any plan? The small states would be worse off.)

The first proposition of Mr. Patterson’s plan, “1. Resd. that the articles of Confederation ought to be so revised, corrected & enlarged, as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government, & the preservation of the Union,” was postponed with NJ and NY in dissent.

Randolph’s Plan as amended was re-reported 7-3-1. This act was interpreted as negating further debate on the Patterson Plan. The big three plus CN and the deep Southern States held firm. The no votes were NY, NJ, DE. MD was divided.

(Mr. Madison’s speech had the intended effect. Further consideration of adjustments to the Articles was not going to happen. Again I ask, could history have been different if the Small States submitted a plan to improve the Articles at the opening of the Convention rather than three weeks later as a hasty alternative? It appears that by mid June, the possibility of a national government was not so shocking.)

[The nineteen resolutions of the amended Randolph Plan followed]

(In summary, the government would consist of a Supreme Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary. Two Branch Legislature. Three year terms for Congressmen, elected by the people. State Legislatures to elect Senators for seven year terms. Restrictions on post legislative employment. Each house may originate acts. Congressional power as under the Articles plus all situations in which the individual state may be incompetent or disrupt the harmony of the union. Congress may negative all State Laws. Representation in both houses to be by a rule of proportional representation. A single Executive, who may veto bills subject to a 2/3 override. One Supreme Tribunal appointed by the Senate. Congress may establish inferior courts. Jurisdiction over tax issues, officers of the US and questions involving national peace and harmony. New States. Smooth transition between the existing and new governments. Republican State governments. Constitutional amendments. Oaths of allegiance. Representatives of the people to ratify in each State.)

James Wilson (PA) refused to accede to destruction of the states as proposed by Mr. Hamilton. On the contrary he thought them necessary.

Alexander Hamilton (NY) so much as said he had been misunderstood. By abolition of the states, he meant supremacy of the general government over the states. (Okay, so he meant elimination of the states in all but name.) If the national government did not have supremacy, the States would eventually overwhelm it.

Rufus King (MA) thought the terms "States, Sovereignty, national, federal," had been loosely and inaccurately used. He detailed why the states were not sovereign. The term, ”Union” could mean a confederation or consolidation. A Union of the States is a union of the men of the states. Congress can declare war without permission from the states. Much power should be removed from the states.

Luther Martin (MD) succinctly summarized the situation. Upon separation from Great Britain, the states were thrown into a state of nature. [I like the Lochean allusion] The states entered the Confederation on an equal footing; it would be amended on an equal footing, all remaining ten states would never lay at the mercy of VA, MA, PA.

James Wilson (PA) did not accept Mr. Martin’s state of nature comment. He referred to the Declaration of Independence.

Alexander Hamilton (NY) Did not buy the argument that violations of the Articles dissolved the Confederacy. Yes, the states met now on an equal footing, but that did not prevent a change in the system of representation. He did not think the smaller states needed to fear proportional representation because of the distance separating the large states and their distinct interests from one another. “No combination could be dreaded.”

(While somewhat conciliatory after defeating the Patterson/NJ Plan, the Large/Southern State coalition built further on the foundation of proportional representation. It was of course, to no avail. As long as proportional representation was in the resolves, the Small States had to defend the Confederacy of equal representation.)

1 posted on 06/19/2011 2:44:52 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...

Long post today. If nothing else, check out the 19 Resolves.

Our Constitution is taking form.

2 posted on 06/19/2011 2:51:30 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie


3 posted on 06/19/2011 5:38:27 AM PDT by Repeal The 17th (Proud to be a (small) monthly donor.)
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To: Jacquerie
If we consider the federal Union as analogous not to the social compacts among individual men: but to the conventions among individual States. What is the doctrine resulting from these conventions?

Absent an “express stipulation” can any union of states compel an “offending member” to discharge its duty? Does the absence of an “express stipulation” permit the dissolution of a confederation? Or. Does the absence of an “express stipulation” prohibit the dissolution of a confederation because no protocol is provided for its dissolution?

Hint: Why is the legislative branch of the Union called “Congress” and not some other more commonly used term?

Thanks for the ping.

4 posted on 06/19/2011 12:54:39 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: Jacquerie
If we consider the federal Union as analogous not to the social compacts among individual men: but to the conventions among individual States. What is the doctrine resulting from these conventions?

Absent an “express stipulation” can any union of states compel an “offending member” to discharge its duty? Does the absence of an “express stipulation” permit the dissolution of a confederation? Or. Does the absence of an “express stipulation” prohibit the dissolution of a confederation because no protocol is provided for its dissolution?

Hint: Why is the legislative branch of the Union called “Congress” and not some other more commonly used term?

Thanks for the ping.

5 posted on 06/19/2011 12:55:00 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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I seem to have the remarkable ability to post multiple msgs. without benefit of a server.


6 posted on 06/19/2011 1:08:47 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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No biggie.

7 posted on 06/19/2011 1:57:27 PM PDT by Jacquerie
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Well, Madison certainly viewed the Confederacy as a series of treaties. There was no provision of course to compel compliance, a shortcoming Mr. Patterson sort of hoped to correct. The Confederation as government existed only in the minds of its supporters or those who feared the alternative. Dissolution of it began the moment it was ratified. Still, it was a necessary precursor to the Constitution.

Great point re Congress, a meeting of equals.

8 posted on 06/19/2011 2:22:52 PM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie
There was no provision of course to compel compliance, a shortcoming Mr. Patterson sort of hoped to correct.

One of the primary reasons for calling the Convention, we must think. Still the colonies, now independent states, were reluctant to surrender any rights or privileges. Almost as though their instructions amounted to, “You fix it, but don’t do anything.” Still wanting to have their cake and eat it too.

Some knew better (the Virginia delegation, Hamilton, maybe Wilson, Gorham, Gerry, some others), even though they might not see eye to eye on the solution. Long, hot summer.

Great point re Congress, a meeting of equals.

It would be lost on a lot of folks, but not our FReepers. They are a knowledgeable bunch.

9 posted on 06/19/2011 4:01:08 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; betty boop; metmom; xzins; spirited irish; P-Marlowe

A FReeper beep of a Constitutional Convention series, perhaps of some interest.

10 posted on 06/19/2011 5:54:53 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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Some past freeper conversations on Constitutional Conventions(as I remember) indicated “it” could BE held to enact hanky panky.. TO THE Constitution..

11 posted on 06/19/2011 8:06:18 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole...)
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To: hosepipe

Follow the series and see for yourself. Hanky panky is a normal part of existence in 0bamaland.

12 posted on 06/19/2011 9:14:43 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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To: hosepipe

Follow the series and see for yourself. Hanky panky is a normal part of existence in 0bamaland.

13 posted on 06/19/2011 9:14:50 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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Along your line, I can’t quite remember a great quote from the VA ratifying debates, in a retort to Henry, that he wanted the impossible, all sovereignty to the states yet with adequate powers assigned to a confederate government.

14 posted on 06/20/2011 2:17:31 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie
I can’t quite remember a great quote from the VA ratifying debates, in a retort to Henry, that he wanted the impossible, all sovereignty to the states yet with adequate powers assigned to a confederate government.

I think there was just such an exchange during the Convention (in fact, likely more than one), but I based my remarks on my reading of Farrand’s Records, which is a record of the Convention debates and associated documents. It is, I believe, superior to Elliot’s Records and can be found at a Library of Congress website. Just enter A Century of Lawmaking in your search engine of choice, and click on Farrand’s Records, all three volumes. Look around while you are at the site. There is a great more to be found.

Another site of interest is The Constitution Society, containing over 150 documents of interest, including:
The Debates in the Several Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, Jonathan Elliot (1836) — A collection of documents, including proceedings of the ratifying state conventions, among which can be found:

The following relates to our discussion:
Saturday, June 7, 1788
Mr. Corbin speaking:
“The honorable gentleman [Mr. Henry] has objected to the Constitution, on the old worn-out idea that a republican government is best calculated for a small territory. If a republic, sir, cannot be accommodated to an extensive country, let me ask, How small must a country be to suit the genius of republicanism? In what particular extent of country can a republican government exist? If contracted into as small a compass as you please, it must labor under many disadvantages. Too small an extent will render a republic weak, vulnerable, and contemptible. Liberty, in such a petty state, must be on a precarious footing; its existence must depend on the philanthropy and good nature of its neighbors. Too large an extent, it is said, will produce confusion and tyranny. What has been so often deprecated will be removed by this plan. The extent of the United States cannot render this government oppressive. The powers of the general government are only of a general nature, and their object is to protect, defend, and strengthen the United States; but the internal administration of government is left to the state legislatures, who exclusively retain such powers as will give the states the advantages of small republics, without the danger commonly attendant on the weakness of such governments.”

Mr. Corbin continues, offering some points about the meanings of ‘federal’ and ‘confederate,’ demonstrating some of their similarities and their differences.

“There are controversies even about the name of this government. It is denominated by some a federal, by others a consolidated government. The definition given of it by my honorable friend (Mr. Madison) is, in my opinion, accurate. Let me, however, call it by another name — a representative federal republic, as contradistinguished from a confederacy. The former is more wisely constructed than the latter; it places the remedy in the hands which feel the disorder: the other places the remedy in those hands which cause the disorder. The evils that are most complained of in such governments (and with justice) are faction, dissension, and consequent subjection of the minority to the caprice and arbitrary decisions of the majority, who, instead of consulting the interest of the whole community collectively, attend sometimes to partial and local advantages. To avoid this evil is perhaps the great desideratum of republican wisdom; it may be termed the philosopher's stone. Yet, sir, this evil will be avoided by this Constitution: faction will be removed by the system now under consideration, because all the causes which are generally productive of faction are removed. This evil does not take its flight entirely; for were jealousies and divisions entirely at an end, it might produce such lethargy as would ultimately terminate in the destruction of liberty, to the preservation of which, watchfulness is absolutely necessary. It is transferred from the state legislatures to Congress, where it will be more easily controlled. Faction will decrease in proportion to the diminution of counsellors. It is much easier to control it in small than in large bodies. Our state legislature consists of upwards of one hundred and sixty, which is a greater number than Congress will consist of at first. Will not more concord and unanimity exist in one than in thirteen such bodies? Faction will more probably decrease, or be entirely removed, if the interest of a nation be entirely concentrated, than if entirely diversified. If thirteen men agree, there will be no faction. Yet if opposite, and of heterogeneous dispositions, it is impossible that a majority of such clashing minds can ever concur to oppress the minority. It is impossible that this government, which will make us one people, will have a tendency to assimilate our situations, and is admirably calculated to produce harmony and unanimity, can ever admit of an oppressive combination by one part of the Union against the other.”

This is probably not precisely what you had in mind, but it fits, I believe, the general scheme of your thesis.

15 posted on 06/20/2011 3:57:46 PM PDT by YHAOS (you betcha!)
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Yes, I refer to Max Farrand's work each day. It is from there I read the notes of Yates, King, Wilson . . . and add them to my daily posts when they differ from Madison. I do not claim to be a terrific editor of my own work, but do the best I can.

No kidding about the wealth of information available online.

My notes from the VA Ratifying Convention on 7 June mostly gloss over Henry's reference to Montesquieu as to the necessity of small republics. Madison came up with the solution, which was just the opposite of course; make ‘em large to diffuse the natural problem of factions. In large part, Madison and Corbin were right, (okay, aside from the notable exception of slavery)the wide expanse of our continental republic did allay factional problems. It is a matter of historic record that the progressive movement did not catch on until decades after the closing of the frontier, when our republic stopped expanding, and means of communications expanded.

So today, with increasingly rapid communications, many states are tending toward increasing democracy in the form of referenda and constitutional amendments posted to the public. My state of FL, while better off than many, suffers from a mixed up Constitution of barely conforming parts. Amendments are placed before voters as single initiatives without concern as to how they may affect the rest of the document. So, in a way we are back where we were in 1787, suffering from excess democracy.

My favorite quote from Mr. Corbin that day,

“I never yet have heard any gentleman [Henry] so wild and frantic in his opposition as to avow an attachment to partial confederacies.”

I often wonder how different our Constitution would be if Mr. Henry had done his duty and attended the Federal Convention. Imagine if he had a hand in shaping it rather than fighting it.

16 posted on 06/20/2011 5:34:18 PM PDT by Jacquerie
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Thanks for the ping!

17 posted on 06/20/2011 8:52:27 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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