Skip to comments.Journal of the Federal Convention August 9th 1787
Posted on 08/09/2011 2:44:28 AM PDT by Jacquerie
Article IV Sections 6-7. Article V. Article VI Section 1. Senate Vacancies. More Money Bills and Senate Suffrage. Immigration & Citizenship. Times, Places and Manners.
Art: IV. Sect. 6. [FN1], [FN2] Mr. RANDOLPH expressed his dissatisfaction at the disagreement yesterday to Sect. 5. concerning money bills, as endangering the success of the plan, and extremely objectionable in itself; and gave notice that he should move for a reconsideration of the vote.
Mr. WILLIAMSON said he had formed a like intention.
Mr. WILSON, gave notice that he shd. move to reconsider the vote, requiring seven instead of three years of Citizenship as a qualification of candidates for the House of Representatives.
Art. IV. Sect. 6 & 7. [FN1], [FN3] Agreed to nem. con.
Art. V. Sect I. [FN4], [FN5] taken up.
Mr. WILSON objected to vacancies in the Senate being supplied by the Executives of the States. It was unnecessary as the Legislatures will meet so frequently. It removes the appointment too far from the people; the Executives in most of the States being elected by the Legislatures. As he had always thought the appointment of the Executives [FN6] by the Legislative department wrong: so it was still more so that the Executive should elect into the Legislative department.
Mr. RANDOLPH thought it necessary in order to prevent inconvenient chasms in the Senate. In some States the Legislatures meet but once a year. As the Senate will have more power & consist of a smaller number than the other House, vacancies there will be of more consequence. The Executives might be safely trusted he thought with the appointment for so short a time.
Mr. ELSEWORTH. It is only said that the Executive may supply the [FN7] vacancies. When the Legislative meeting happens to be near, the power will not be exerted. As there will be but two members from a State vacancies may be of great moment.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. Senators may resign or not accept. This provision is therefore absolutely necessary.
On the question for striking out "vacancies shall be supplied by [FN8] Executives
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. ay. Md. divd. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo. no. [FN9]
Mr. WILLIAMSON moved to insert after "vacancies shall be supplied by the Executives," the following [FN10] words "unless other provision shall be made by the Legislature" [of the State].
Mr. ELSEWORTH. He was willing to trust the Legislature, or the Executive of a State, but not to give the former a discretion to refer appointments for the Senate to whom they pleased.
[FN11] Question on Mr. Williamson's motion N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN12]
Mr. MADISON in order to prevent doubts whether resignations, could be made by Senators, or whether they could refuse to accept, moved to strike out the words after "vacancies," & insert the words "happening by refusals to accept, resignations or otherwise may be supplied by the Legislature of the State in the representation of which such vacancies shall happen, or by the Executive thereof until the next meeting of the Legislature"
Mr. Govr. MORRIS this is absolutely necessary, otherwise, as members chosen into the Senate are disqualified from being appointed to any office by Sect. 9. of this art: it will be in the power of a Legislature by appointing a man a Senator agst. his consent to deprive the U. S. of his services.
The motion of Mr. Madison was agreed to nem. con.
Mr. RANDOLPH called for division of the Section, so as to leave a distinct question on the last words "each member shall have one vote." He wished this last sentence to be postponed until the reconsideration should have taken place on Sect. 5. Art. IV. concerning money bills. If that section should not be reinstated his plan would be to vary the representation in the Senate.
Mr. STRONG concurred in Mr. Randolphs ideas on this point
Mr. READ did not consider the section as to money bills of any advantage to the larger States and had voted for striking it out as being viewed in the same light by the larger States. If it was considered by them as of any value, and as a condition of the equality of votes in the Senate, he had no objection to its being re-instated.
Mr. WILSON - Mr. ELSEWORTH & Mr. MADISON urged that it was of no advantage to the larger States, and that it might be a dangerous source of contention between the two Houses. All the principal powers of the Natl. Legislature had some relation to money.
Docr. FRANKLIN, considered the two clauses, the origination of money bills, and the equality of votes in the Senate, as essentially connected by the compromise which had been agreed to.
Col. MASON said this was not the time for discussing this point. When the originating of money bills shall be reconsidered, he thought it could be demonstrated that it was of essential importance to restrain the right to the House of Representatives, the immediate choice of the people.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. The State of N. C. had agreed to an equality in the Senate, merely in consideration that money bills should be confined to the other House: and he was surprised to see the Smaller States forsaking the condition on which they had received their equality.
[FN13] Question on the Section I. [FN14] down to the last sentence
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. no [FN15] Del. ay. Md. ay. Virga ay N. C. no. S. C. divd. Geo. ay. [FN16]
Mr. RANDOLPH moved that the last sentence "each member shall have one vote." be postponed
It was observed that this could not be necessary; as in case the section as to originating [FN17] bills should not be reinstated, and a revision of the Constitution should ensue, it wd. still be proper that the members should vote per Capita. A postponement of the preceding sentence allowing to each State 2 members wd. have been more proper
Mr. MASON, did not mean to propose a change of this mode of voting per capita in any event. But as there might be other modes proposed, he saw no impropriety in postponing the sentence. Each State may have two members, and yet may have unequal votes. He said that unless the exclusive [FN18] orginating of money bills should be restored to the House of Representatives, he should, not from obstinacy, but duty and conscience, oppose throughout the equality of Representation in the Senate.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. Such declarations were he supposed, addressed to the smaller States in order to alarm them for their equality in the Senate, and induce them agst. their judgments, to concur in restoring the section concerning money bills. He would declare in his turn that as he saw no prospect of amending the Constitution of the Senate & considered the section relating to money bills as intrinsically bad, he would adhere to the section establishing the equality at all events.
Mr. WILSON. It seems to have been supposed by some that the section concerning money bills is desirable to the large States. The fact was that two of those States [Pa. & Va.] had uniformly voted agst. it without reference to any other part of the system.
Mr. RANDOLPH, urged as Col. Mason had done that the sentence under consideration was connected with that relating to Money bills, and might possibly be affected by the result of the motion for reconsidering the latter. That the postponement was therefore not improper.
[FN19] Question for postponing "each member shall have one vote."
N. H. divd. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. no. Geo. no. [FN20]
The words were then agreed to as part of the section.
Mr. RANDOLPH then gave notice that he should move to reconsider this whole Sect: 1. Art. V. as connected with the 5. Sect. art. IV. as to which he had already given such notice.
Art. V. Sect. 2d. [FN21], [FN22] taken up.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to insert after the words "immediately after," the following "they shall be assembled in consequence of-" which was agreed to nem. con. as was then the whole Sect. 2. [FN23] Art: V. Sect. 3. [FN21], [FN24] taken up.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to insert 14 instead of 4 years citizenship as a qualification for Senators: urging the danger of admitting strangers into our public Councils. Mr. PINKNEY 2 ds him
Mr. ELSEWORTH. was opposed to the motion as discouraging meritorious aliens from emigrating to this Country.
Mr. PINKNEY. As the Senate is to have the power of making treaties & managing our foreign affairs, there is peculiar danger and impropriety in opening its door to those who have foreign attachments. He quoted the jealousy of the Athenians on this subject who made it death for any stranger to intrude his voice into their Legislative proceedings.
Col. MASON highly approved of the policy of the motion. Were it not that many non natives of this Country had acquired great merit [FN25] during the revolution, he should be for restraining the eligibility into the Senate, to natives.
Mr. MADISON, was not averse to some restrictions on this subject; but could never agree to the proposed amendment. He thought any restriction however in the Constitution unnecessary, and improper. unnecessary; because the Natl. Legislre. is to have the right of regulating naturalization, and can by virtue thereof fix different periods of residence as conditions of enjoying different privileges of Citizenship: Improper; because it will give a tincture of illiberality to the Constitution: because it will put it out of the power of the Nat1 Legislature even by special acts of naturalization to confer the full rank of Citizens on meritorious strangers & because it will discourage the most desireable class of people from emigrating to the U. S. Should the proposed Constitution have the intended effect of giving stability & reputation to our Govts. great numbers of respectable Europeans: men who love liberty and wish to partake its blessings, will be ready to transfer their fortunes hither. All such would feel the mortification of being marked with suspicious incapacitations though they sd. not covet the public honors He was not apprehensive that any dangerous number of strangers would be appointed by the State Legislatures, if they were left at liberty to do so: nor that foreign powers would made use of strangers as instruments for their purposes. Their bribes would be expended on men whose circumstances would rather stifle than excite jealousy & watchfulness in the public.
Mr. BUTLER was decidely opposed to the admission of foreigners without a long residence in the Country. They bring with them, not only attachments to other Countries; but ideas of Govt.so distinct from ours that in every point of view they are dangerous. He acknowledged that if he himself had been called into public life within a short time after his coming to America, his foreign habits opinions & attachments would have rendered him an improper agent in public affairs. He mentioned the great strictness observed in Great Britain on this subject.
Docr. FRANKLIN was not agst. a reasonable time, but should be very sorry to see any thing like illiberality inserted in the Constitution. The people in Europe are friendly to this Country. Even in the Country with which we have been lately at war, we have now & had during the war, a great many friends not only among the people at large but in both houses of Parliament. In every other Country in Europe all the people are our friends. We found in the course of the Revolution that many strangers served us faithfully- and that many natives took part agst. their Country. When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence & affection.
Mr. RANDOLPH did not know but it might be problematical whether emigrations to this Country were on the whole useful or not: but be could never agree to the motion for disabling them for 14 years to participate in the public honours. He reminded the Convention of the language held by our patriots during the Revolution, and the principles laid down in all our American Constitutions. Many foreigners may have fixed their fortunes among us under the faith of these invitations. All persons under this description, with all others who would be affected by such a regulation, would enlist themselves under the banners of hostility to the proposed System. He would go as far as seven years, but no farther.
Mr. WILSON said he rose with feelings which were perhaps peculiar; mentioning the circumstance of his not being a native, and the possibility, if the ideas of some gentlemen should be pursued, of his being incapacitated from holding a place under the very Constitution, which he had shared in the trust of making. He remarked the illiberal complexion which the motion would give to the System, & the effect which a good system would have in inviting meritorious foreigners among us, and the discouragement & mortification they must feel from the degrading discrimination, now proposed. He had himself experienced this mortification. On his removal into Maryland, he found himself, from defect of residence, under certain legal incapacities which never ceased to produce chagrin, though he assuredly did not desire & would not have accepted the offices to which they related. To be appointed to a place may be matter of indifference. To be incapable of being appointed, is a circumstance grating and mortifying.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS. The lesson we are taught is that we should be governed as much by our reason, and as little by our feelings as possible. What is the language of Reason on this subject? That we should not be polite at the expence of prudence. There was a moderation in all things. It is said that some tribes of Indians, carried their hospitality so far as to offer to strangers their wives & daughters. Was this a proper model for us? He would admit them to his house, he would invite them to his table, would provide for them confortable lodgings; but would not carry the complaisance so far as, to bed them with his wife. He would let them worship at the same altar, but did not choose to make Priests of them. He ran over the privileges which emigrants would enjoy among us, though they should be deprived of that of being eligible to the great offices of Government; observing that they exceeded the privileges allowed to foreigners in any part of the world; and that as every Society from a great nation down to a club had the right of declaring the conditions on which new members should be admitted, there could be no room for complaint. As to those philosophical gentlemen, those Citizens of the World as they call themselves, He owned he did not wish to see any of them in our public Councils. He would not trust them. The men who can shake off their attachments to their own Country can never love any other. These attachments are the wholesome prejudices which uphold all Governments, Admit a Frenchman into your Senate, and he will study to increase the commerce of France: an Englishman, [FN26] he will feel an equal biass in favor of that of England. It has been said that The Legislatures will not chuse foreigners, at least improper ones. There was no knowing what Legislatures would do. Some appointments made by them, proved that every thing ought to be apprehended from the cabals practised on such occasions. He mentioned the case of a foreigner who left this State in disgrace, and worked himself into an appointment from another to Congress.
[FN27] Question on the motion of Mr. Govr. MORRIS to insert 14 in place of 4 years
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN28]
On 13 years, moved Mr. Govr. Morris [FN29]
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
On 10 years moved by Genl. PINKNEY [FN30]
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. ay. Geo. ay.
Dr. FRANKLIN reminded the Convention that it did not follow from an omission to insert the restriction in the Constitution that the persons in question wd. be actually chosen into the Legislature.
Mr. RUTLIDGE. 7 years of Citizenship have been required for the House of Representatives. Surely a longer term is requisite for the Senate, which will have more power.
Mr. WILLIAMSON. It is more necessary to guard the Senate in this case than the other House. Bribery & cabal can be more easily practised in the choice of the Senate which is to be made by the Legislatures composed of a few men, than of the House of Represents. who will be chosen by the people.
Mr. RANDOLPH will agree to 9 years with the expectation that it will be reduced to seven if Mr. Wilson's motion to reconsider the vote fixing 7 years for the House of Representatives should produce a reduction of that period.
On a [FN31] question for 9 years.
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no. Del. ay. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. divd. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [FN32]
The term "Resident" was struck out, & "inhabitant" inserted nem. con.
Art. V Sect. 3, as amended [FN33] agreed to nem. con. Sect. 4. [FN34] agreed to nem. con. [FN35]
Art. VI. sect. I. [FN34], [FN36] taken up.
Mr. MADISON & Mr. Govr. MORRIS moved to strike out "each House" & to insert "the House of Representatives"; the right of the Legislatures to regulate the times & places &c in the election of Senators being involved in the right of appointing them, which was disagreed to.
[FN37] Division of the question being called, [FN38] it was taken on the first part down to "but their provisions concerning &c"
The first part was agreed to nem. con.
Mr. PINKNEY & Mr. RUTLIDGE moved to strike out the remaining part viz but their provisions concerning them may at any time be altered by the Legislature of the United States." The States they contended could & must be relied on in such cases.
Mr. GHORUM. It would be as improper [FN39] take this power from the Natl Legislature, as to Restrain the British Parliament from regulating the circumstances of elections, leaving this business to the Counties themselves.
Mr. MADISON. The necessity of a Genl. govt. supposes that the State Legislatures will sometimes fail or refuse to consult the common interest at the expence of their local conveniency [FN40] or prejudices. The policy of referring the appointment of the House of Representatives to the people and not to the Legislatures of the States, supposes that the result will be somewhat influenced by the mode. This view of the question seems to decide that the Legislatures of the States ought not to have the uncontrouled right of regulating the times places & manner of holding elections. These were words of great latitude. It was impossible to foresee all the abuses that might be made of the discretionary power. Whether the electors should vote by ballot or viva voce, should assemble at this place or that place; should be divided into districts or all meet at one place, shd. all vote for all the representatives; or all in a district vote for a number allotted to the district; these & many other points would depend on the Legislatures, and might materially affect the appointments.
Whenever the State Legislatures had a favorite measure to carry, they would take care so to mould their regulations as to favor the candidates they wished to succeed. Besides, the inequality of the Representation in the Legislatures of particular States, would produce a like inequality in their representation in the Natl. Legislature, as it was presumable that the Counties having the power in the former case would secure it to themselves in the latter. What danger could there be in giving a controuling power to the Natl. Legislature? Of whom was it to consist? 1. [FN41] of a Senate to be chosen by the State Legislatures. If the latter therefore could be trusted, their representatives could not be dangerous. 2. [FN41] of Representatives elected by the same people who elect the State Legislatures; surely then if confidence is due to the latter, it must be due to the former. It seemed as improper in principle, though it might be less inconvenient in practice, to give to the State Legislatures this great authority over the election of the Representatives of the people in the Genl. Legislature, as it would be to give to the latter a like power over the election of their Representatives in the State Legislatures.
Mr. KING. If this power be not given to the Natl. Legislature, their right of judging of the returns of their members may be frustrated. No probability has been suggested of its being abused by them. Altho this scheme of erecting the Genl. Govt. on the authority of the State Legislatures has been fatal to the federal establishment, it would seem as if many gentlemen, still foster the dangerous idea.
Mr. Govr. MORRIS- observed that the States might make false returns and then make no provisions for new elections Mr. SHERMAN did not know but it might be best to retain the clause, though he had himself sufficient confidence in the State Legislatures. The motion of Mr. P. and Mr. R. did not prevail- The word "respectively" was inserted after the word "State" On the motion of Mr. Read the word "their" was struck out, & "regulations in such cases" inserted in place of "provisions concerning them." the clause then reading-" but regulations in each of the foregoing cases may at any time, be made or altered by the Legislature of the U.S" This was meant to give the Natl. Legislature a power not only to alter the provisions of the States, but to make regulations in case the States should fail or refuse altogether.
Art. VI. Sect. 1. as thus amended was agreed to nem. con.
FN1 See ante.
FN2 The words "was taken up" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN3 The word "were" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN4 See ante.
FN5 The words "was then" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN6 The word "Executives" is in the singular in the transcript.
FN7 The word "the" is omitted in the transcript.
FN8 The word "the" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN9 In the transcript the vote reads: "Pennsylvania, aye-1; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, no-8; Maryland, divided."
FN10 The word "following" is omitted in the transcript.
FN11 The words "On the" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN12 In the transcript the vote reads: "Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-4; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, no-6."
FN13 The words "On the" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN14 The words "first section" are substituted for "Section 1" in the transcript.
FN15 In the printed Journal Pensylvania. ay.
FN16 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, aye-7; Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, [FN*] North Carolina, no-3; South Carolina, divided."
FN17 The word "money" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN18 The words "right of" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN19 The words "On the" are here inserted in the transcript. FN20 In the transcript the vote reads: Virginia, North Carolina, aye-2; Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, South Carolina, Georgia, no-8; New Hampshire, divided."
FN21 See p. -.
FN22 The words "was then" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN23 The figure "2" is omitted in the transcript.
FN24 The words "was then" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN25 The word "credit" is substituted in the transcript for "merit."
FN26 The word "and" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN27 The words "On the" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN28 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, New Jersey, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-4; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, no-7."
FN29 In the transcript this sentence reads as follows: "On the question for thirteen years, moved by Mr. Gouverneur Morris, it was negatived, as above." The vote by States is omitted.
FN30 The phrase "the votes were the same," is here inserted in the transcript, and the vote by States is omitted.
FN31 In the transcript the word "a" is stricken out and "the" is written above it.
FN32 In the transcript the vote reads: "New Hampshire, New Jersey, Delaware, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, aye-6; Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, no-4; North Carolina, devided."
FN33 The words "was then" are here inserted in the transcript
FN34 See ante.
FN35 In the transcript this sentence reads as follows: "Article 5, Sect. 4 was agreed to nem. con."
FN36 The words "was then" are here inserted in the transcript.
FN37 The words "A" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN38 The word "for" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN39 The word "to" is here inserted in the transcript.
FN40 The word "conveniency" is changed to "convenience" in the transcript.
FN41 The figures "1" and "2" are changed to "First" and "Secondly" in the transcript.
James Wilson (PA) informed the Convention he would motion to reconsider Article IV Section 2 dealing with a minimum seven years of citizenship to be elected to the House.
Article IV Section 6, The House of Representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. It shall choose its Speaker and other officers, passed without opposition.
Article IV Section 7, Vacancies in the House of Representatives shall be supplied by writs of election from the executive authority of the State in the representation from which it [FN4] shall happen, passed without opposition.
Next up, the compromise that nearly derailed the Convention, Article V Section 1, The Senate of the United States shall be chosen by the Legislatures of the several States. Each Legislature shall choose two members. Vacancies may be supplied by the Executive until the next meeting of the Legislature. Each member shall have one vote.
James Wilson (PA) objected to State Governor appointments to fill vacant Senate seats. (Interesting historic note that most Governors at the time were appointed by the State Legislatures) Senators were removed enough from the people as it was; to add another filter was wrong.
Governor Edmund Randolph thought Governors (Like himself) could be trusted to fill Senate vacancies. State Legislatures were out of session much of the year, and as the Senate was a smaller body, any absence would have more effect.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) saw no problem because when State Legislative sessions were near, the Governor would not bother to appoint a replacement.
Hugh Williamson (NC) thought the provision absolutely necessary.
On the question for striking "vacancies shall be supplied by Executives, it was defeated 8-1.
Hugh Williamson (NC) moved to insert after "vacancies shall be supplied by the Executives," the following words, "unless other provision shall be made by the Legislature" (of the State).
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) trusted either the Legislatures or Governors as long as the Legislature did not refer appointments to the Governor.
Hugh Williamsons motion failed 6-4.
James Madison (VA) motioned to strike out the words after vacancies, and insert the words "happening by refusals to accept, resignations or otherwise may be supplied by the Legislature of the State in the representation of which such vacancies shall happen, or by the Executive thereof until the next meeting of the Legislature." (Clunky wording, but it allows for resignations)
Governeur Morris (PA) said it was necessary because a State Legislature could keep a man needed for some other National service by appointing him Senator.
Mr. Madisons motion carried without opposition.
Governor Edmund Randolph wished to separate out the last sentence, Each member shall have one vote, from consideration until Article IV Section 5 (money bills) was settled.
Caleb Strong (MA) concurred with Mr. Randolph.
Judge George Read (DE) once again did not see the value of Article IV Section 5 to the large states, but if it was important to them, he had no problem reinstating it.
James Wilson (PA), Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) and James Madison (VA) argued it was no advantage at all to the larger states and actually a point of contention.
(When Mr. Franklin spoke, it meant the deliberations were getting warm.)
Benjamin Franklin (PA) reminded the Convention that Money Bills and equality of State suffrage in the Senate were the sides to a compromise previously agreed upon
George Mason (VA) wished to remain focused on the Senate. Debate on the money bill section will again reveal the importance of originating them in the peoples house.
Hugh Williamson (NC) chastised the Small States for reneging the compromise.
On the question of Article V Section 1 as amended, sans the last sentence, it passed 8-2-1.
Governor Edmund Randolph motioned to postpone the last sentence, Each member shall have one vote.
George Mason (VA) did not mean to question per capita voting in the Senate. However, unless the sole power of originating money bills in the House was restored, he must oppose equality of State suffrage in the Senate.
Governeur Morris (PA) would support equality in the Senate regardless of the Conventions decision regarding money bills.
James Wilson (PA) viewed the Large State votes as confirming the irrelevance of where money bills originated.
Governor Edmund Randolph reiterated the connection between per capita Senate votes and money bills. Voting on the last sentence of Article V Section 1 should be postponed.
On Mr. Randolphs question to postpone, it failed 8-2-1.
The words were then agreed to as part of the Section.
Governor Edmund Randolph gave notice he would bring up the two Articles again.
Section 2 of Article V was next:
The Senators shall be chosen for six years; but immediately after the first election they shall be divided, by lot, into three classes, as nearly as may be, numbered one, two and three. The seats of the members of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year, so that a third part of the members may be chosen every second year.
Governeur Morris (PA) motioned, and it was accepted to add after immediately, the words, they shall be assembled in consequence of. Section 2 of Article V passed as amended.
The Convention then considered Article V Section 3:
Every member of the Senate shall be of the age of thirty years at least; shall have been a citizen in the United States for at least four years before his election; and shall be, at the time of his election, a resident of the State for which he shall be chosen.
Governeur Morris (PA) was still concerned with foreign agent infiltration of our councils. He motioned to require fourteen years of citizenship versus four.
Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) opposed it as discouraging meritorious alien immigration.
Charles Pinckney (SC) said, There is peculiar danger and impropriety in opening its door to those who have foreign attachments. (He also pulled an analogy from ancient Greece.)
George Mason (VA) supported the motion. Were it not for the service of foreigners in the revolution, he would have restricted the Senate to those native born.
James Madison (VA) addressed the general topic of citizenship. Congress would have the power to make Naturalization laws. (No one will convince me the XIV Amendment transferred the power to decide who becomes a citizen to someone who stumbles across our border and gives birth.) All citizens should be otherwise eligible to the Senate with no stigma of suspicion. Mr. Madison expected an influx of talented, liberty loving European immigrants once the government was settled in and providing much needed stability. He softly ridiculed the notion that State Legislatures would appoint dangerous strangers.
Pierce Butler (SC) brought up his own background as an example of why a long term of residence was appropriate. It takes time to become an American, to discard old ideas and adopt new ones. It would have been improper for him to serve in public life shortly after his arrival.
Benjamin Franklin (PA) supported a reasonable length of citizenship requirement. We had many European friends in private and public life even in England during the war. Open our arms to them.
Governor Edmund Randolph would agree to seven years. Recall the language of our Revolution and principles embodied in our American Constitutions.
James Wilson (PA) said he would have been unable to help write the Constitution he now served under had such a restriction been in place in his State. (It is remarkable how many of our Founders/Framers were of foreign birth. More than a few represented states they were not born in. What other country so welcomed strangers for so long?)
Governeur Morris (PA) appealed to reason and not emotion. We should be polite, but not to the extent of imprudence. Foreigners were welcomed here as in no other country, but there was no reason to grant them entry to high governmental positions; they had no room to complain. The men who can shake off loyalty to one country can never love any other. There was no knowing what State Legislatures could do.
Mr. Morris question to substitute fourteen years for four years of citizenship prior to appointment to the Senate, was defeated 7-4.
On thirteen years instead, it failed 7-4 as well.
Benjamin Franklin (PA) asked why worry about something so unlikely to occur?
John Rutlidge (SC) reminded all, of the seven year requirement for Representatives and the Senate would have more power.
Hugh Williamson (NC) thought prudence was necessary for a small body of men chosen by a small body of men in the States.
Governor Edmund Randolph would accede to nine years if Mr. Wilsons motion to reduce the House requirement to something less than seven years. (Hmm, what motion by Mr. Wilson did he refer to? Perhaps the two agreed to action outside of the convention; meetings between members were common after hours.)
The question to substitute nine years for four years passed, 6-4-1.
The term resident, was struck, an inhabitant, was substituted and the amended Section 3 of Article V passed without opposition.
Section 4 of Article V was agreed to without opposition.
Debate on Article VI began.
Article VI Section 1. The times and places and manner of holding the elections of the members of each House shall be prescribed by the Legislature of each State; but their provisions concerning them may, at any time be altered by the Legislature of the United States.
James Madison (VA) and Governeur Morris (PA) motioned the House of Representatives of each State dictate The times and places . . . The motion failed 10-1.
The first clause of Article VI Section 1 passed without opposition.
Charles Pinckney (SC) and John Rutlidge (SC) moved to strike the last clause entirely. They would keep Congress out of the business of electing their members entirely. (This would IMHO have kept Scotus out of the business as well. Scotus for instance came up with one man, one vote baloney and imposed it on the states. Would there have been a Voting Rights Act, which I for one regard as a second, (albeit political) Reconstruction imposed on the South?)
Nathaniel Gorham (MA) reflected once again our British heritage and reminded the convention that Parliament regulated the circumstances of elections.
James Madison (VA) so much as said that given recent experience, the States could not be trusted with unlimited ability to run Congressional elections. Give States blanket authority and there is no telling the abuses they will come up with.
(Well, Mr. Madison was well acquainted with VA state politics. In the back of his mind, and left entirely unstated, I suspect he feared the States would not hold elections, do as they often did under the Articles, and not send members to Congress.)
Rufus King (MA) by argument agreed with Mr. Madison. No one suspected the National Legislature of possible abuse. (Motor Voter, Third Party Registrations, Same Day Registration, ACORN) Mr. King expressed surprise at the delegates who would trust the source of the common troubles, the States.
Governeur Morris (PA) suggested, perhaps there would be no elections.
Roger Sherman (CN) would retain the clause, though he had sufficient confidence in the States.
The motion of Mr. Pinckney and Mr. Rutlidge did not pass. The last clause was wordsmithed to allow the National Government to alter State election law, or make regulations in case States should fail or refuse altogether.
Article VI Section 1 as amended passed without opposition.
Constitutional Convention Ping!
T’anks— This posting has become a daily habitual read. I’ve learned more of Goveneur Morris than I ever learned in public school. And the more I learn of the Convention the less I see of its guiding principles in Congress today.I especially relate to Mr.Morris on “Citizens of the World” Like him I does not trust ‘em . But It seems they have krept into the higher places while we slept.
As for today's Congress, well . . . nothing in the Constitution could prevent or account for a party that promotes an ideology hostile to the Constitution they swore to defend.
A good day for the Convention.
Thanks for your work, Jacquerie!
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