The members of the House of Representatives shall be chosen every second year, by the people of the several States comprehended within this Union. The qualifications of the electors shall be the same, from time to time, as those of the electors in the several States, of the most numerous branch of their own legislatures.
John Mercer (MD) did not like the plan and did not think it could succeed.
(Mr. Mercer showed up late to the Convention and left early. He supposedly made a list of members he thought had been for an American King. Fellow Marylander, Mr. Carroll was on the list. Mr. Carroll had to fight the charges next year, 1788 as he stood for election to the first Constitutional Congress. Mercer eventually denied the list and Carroll went to Congress.)
Nathaniel Gorham (MA) said non-freeholders in Philadelphia, New York and Boston voted responsibly. The franchise was widespread. It would be dangerous to ratification to abridge it.
John Mercer (MD) had no problem with non-freeholder voting as long as they chose from a list of candidates created by the State Legislatures. (I suspect he was not missed when he left early.)
Article IV Section 1 passed unanimously. (The Committee of Detail did well.) Next, Article IV Section 2, Every member of the House of Representatives shall be of the age of twenty five years at least; shall have been a citizen in the United States for at least three years before his election; and shall be, at the time of his election, a resident of the State in which he shall be chosen.
George Mason (VA) thought the door was a little too wide open for immigrants and adventurers to make laws for us. Three years was too few to learn our traditions. He feared Great Britain would send tools with money to buy elections for insidious purposes. He motioned for seven years of citizenship.
Governeur Morris (PA) seconded and the motion carried by all with the exception of CN.
Roger Sherman (CN) moved to strike resident and insert inhabitant.
James Madison (VA) seconded; both terms were vague. Similarly vague residency requirements caused problems in VA where the issue usually went the way of the most liked.
James Wilson (PA) preferred inhabitant.
Governeur Morris (PA) opposed both and would require only a freehold. In New York such disputes were decided by the will of the majority. The people would rarely choose a non-resident to represent them.
John Rutlidge (SC) once again came up with a solution. He proffered and moved seven years v. three and leave the word resident alone. It would ensure that an immigrant to SC from MA would have time to learn the locality.
Judge George Read (DE) commented and James Wilson (PA) agreed that we were to become one people.
James Madison (VA) wondered what of representation in new Western States.
John Mercer (MD) babbled about creating greater alienation among the States. Violent disputes erupted in MD over residency requirements.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) thought seven years far too long. He thought one year sufficient, three would be acceptable.
John Dickinson (DE) muddied the waters further with a motion to substitute inhabitant actually resident for ----- year.
James Wilson (PA) saw a possible problem with reelection if a Representative spent too much time at the seat of Government.
John Mercer (MD) said it would exclude men who temporarily moved elsewhere and returned to their home State.
George Mason (VA) viewed seven years as too long, but valued the principle. Absent a residency requirement, he expected rich men to worm their way into districts they know nothing about.
On the question to postpone in order to consider Mr. Dickinsons motion, it failed 8-3.
Inhabitant replaced resident unanimously.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) and George Mason (VA) moved to insert one year.
Hugh Williamson (NC) preferred the Report as it stood.
Pierce Butler (SC) and John Rutlidge (SC) moved three years v. one year.
On the question of three years, it failed 9-2.
On the question of one year, it failed 6-4.
Article IV Section 2 as amended (US citizen for seven years prior) passed without opposition.
Article IV Section 3 The House of Representatives shall, at its first formation, and until the number of citizens and inhabitants shall be taken in the manner herein after described, consist of sixty five Members, of whom three shall be chosen in New-Hampshire, eight in Massachusetts, one in Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, five in Connecticut, six in New-York, four in New-Jersey, eight in Pennsylvania, one in Delaware, six in Maryland, ten in Virginia, five in North- Carolina, five in South-Carolina, and three in Georgia, was taken up.
Both General and Charles Pinckney (SC) asked for six reps for SC. No chance.
Article IV Section 3 passed 7-4.
Next was Article IV Section 4, As the proportions of numbers in different States will alter from time to time; as some of the States may hereafter be divided; as others may be enlarged by addition of territory; as two or more States may be united; as new States will be erected within the limits of the United States, the Legislature shall, in each of these cases, regulate the number of representatives by the number of inhabitants, according to the provisions herein after made, at the rate of one for every forty thousand..
Hugh Williamson (NC) moved to strike "according to the provisions hereinafter after made" and to insert the words "according "to the rule hereafter to be provided for direct taxation. It passed 9-2.
Rufus King (MA) queried what the vote just taken would have on representation concerning slaves.
(After the large/small state compromise, it appears the complex issue of slavery/representation/taxes once again caused turmoil)
If I read him correctly, Mr. King opposed the 3/5 compromise, but went along with it in the expectation of a similar give from the Southern States. Selling the compromise in MA would be a difficult enough task. He asked what were the great objects of the National Government, and then answered his question with, 1. Defense against foreign invasion. 2. Defense against internal sedition. States from one section will be required to spend money and manpower to defend other sections. Shouldnt all contribute taxes toward the common defense? If so, the non-slave States are getting a raw deal. Not only could slaves be imported freely and without taxation, but the slaves output, i.e. Southern agricultural exports could not be taxed as well. (Article VII Section 4 No tax or duty shall be laid by the Legislature on articles exported from any State; nor on the migration or importation of such persons as the several States shall think proper to admit; nor shall such migration or importation be prohibited.)
Mr. King would compromise no more. Northern States would never approve. He could not agree to unlimited importation of slaves, which would then be represented in the House of Representatives, especially when coupled with non taxation of the product of their labor, agricultural exports. Either slaves should not be represented, or exports should be taxable.
Roger Sherman (CN) took on a more amiable tone. While he regarded the slave trade as iniquitous, the 3/5 rule had been settled. Taxation could be addressed later, and did not affect the current Article under discussion, Article IV Section 4.
James Madison (VA) objected to the 1:40,000 rule. The House of Reps would become huge as the nation expanded.
Nathaniel Gorham (MA) so much as told Mr. Madison, Why worry? The US wont be around long enough to worry about a crowded House.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) said if the nation lasts, the provision could be changed by the amendment process.
Roger Sherman (CN) and James Madison (VA) motioned to insert, not exceeding, before the words 1 for every 40,000. It passed without opposition.
Governeur Morris (PA) moved to insert free before the word inhabitants, (effectively killing the 3/5 Compromise) then let lose a broadside against slavery. He would never concur in upholding nefarious, accursed Slavery. Mr. Morris then compared the prosperity and happiness of non-Slave States with those which had the institution. (Excellent speech.)
Were Slaves men or Property? If men, let them vote; if not, count them as property. The homes in Philadelphia alone are worth more than all of the wretched Slaves in SC. It boiled down to this:
A Southerner sails to Africa, steals men from their families, damns them to cruel labor, and his reward is more representation in a Government dedicated to Unalienable Rights.
(So 3/5 of slaves applied toward representation, but had no actual voting rights. Their votes went to their Masters.) Morris criticized this as an Aristocracy. What will be the Northern States compensation for accepting slavery and both skewed representation and taxation? They get to march their militia to defend the lives of Masters when Slaves rebel. They will pay unlimited excise and import taxes. Oh, and direct taxation proportioned to representation will not happen; it will be too difficult. No, imposts and excises will be the National Governments money sources.
(Very prescient of Mr. Morris, for outside of wars, the National government would do without direct taxation and live on excises and imposts until the 16th Amendment. As opposed to the more urban North, the rural, semi-feudal South would pay little in imposts and excises. To further prohibit taxes on exports and slaves would largely relieve the South of taxation. Mr. Rutledge and Governor Randolph of the Committee of Detail protected Southern interests very well.)
Jonathan Dayton (NJ) seconded Mr. Morris.
Roger Sherman (CN) (Made comments I am unsure of. Direct taxation and representation in the House depended on the number of freeman and 3/5 of slaves.)
Charles Pinckney (SC) (blew some smoke)
James Wilson (PA) thought the motion premature.
The motion to insert free before inhabitants in Article IV Section 4 was defeated 10-1.
John Dickinson (DE) motioned to add, provided each state shall have one representative at least, which was agreed to without opposition.
Article IV Section 4 was ratified as amended without opposition.
Article IV Section 5, All bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of the officers of Government, shall originate in the House of Representatives, and shall not be altered or amended by the Senate. No money shall be drawn from the Public Treasury, but in pursuance of appropriations that shall originate in the House of Representatives. was up next.
Charles Pinckney (SC) moved to strike the section entirely. There was no advantage to limiting the power to the House. Why not trust the Senate?
Nathaniel Gorham (MA) would allow the Senate to amend, but not originate money bills.
Governeur Morris (PA) explained why it was more appropriate for the Senate to originate money bills.
George Mason (VA) said the issue had been discussed and decided. It was part of a compromise (Equal State suffrage in the Senate). To grant another great power to the Senate was ill advised. It smacked of Aristocracy. Do not put the purse strings into its hands.
John Mercer (MD) considered origination of money bills to be a great advantage that rendered equality of votes in the Senate of no consequence.
Pierce Butler (SC) viewed the matter as previously settled.
James Wilson (PA) opposed the motion regardless of the compromise.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) did not see the great value of the clause but recognized that others did and would therefore support it.
James Madison (VA) was for striking the clause. (He opposed the original compromise of equal Senate suffrage.)
On a vote of 7-4, Section 5 of Article IV was struck.
The Framers started with a suggested Congressman/citizen ratio of 1:40,000.
About 100 years ago, when our population was near 95 million, Congress increased the number of reps to 435, the number we have today. At a population of 312 million, the current ratio of reps to citizens is about 1:700,000. IMHO, our House of Reps should have several thousand members, getting the ratio up to around 1:50,000.
Not only would it increase the probability of having a rep that reflected your values, it would avoid the vast majority of messy court battles over reapportionment and silly so-called voting rights. San Francisco could send a few freaks to Congress, north FL would send some good ol boys, and Houston could multiply the likes of darling Sheila Jackson Lee several times over.
Now Im not saying this is likely, for it is not. Few Congressmen would willingly give up so much power. All Im saying is my suggestion would get us closer to the Representative Republic our Framers envisioned.