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James Madison (VA) and Charles Pinckney (SC) submitted an extensive list of additional powers and duties. The Convention sent them to the Committee of Detail.

George Mason (VA) hoped to empower the National Government to regulate the militia. No one trusted standing armies, so an “effectually prepared” (regulated) militia would serve the public defense.

(Under Article VI of the Articles of Confederation, “. . . every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.)

Knowing the States blew off their responsibilities under Article VI of the Articles of Confederation, Mr. Mason would place the responsibility with the National Government. He moved to add to the propositions offered, “a power to regulate the militia.”

Elbridge Gerry (MA) motioned to add public “securities” and letters of marque which were not, in his opinion, within the powers of war.

John Rutlidge (SC) (A member of the Committee of Detail. He obviously knew legislative assemblies very well) moved to prevent funds dedicated to payment of the public debt not be diverted to other purposes. (Imagine if this concept had been applied to Social Security, gas, and cigarette taxes?)

George Mason (VA) also viewed perpetual tax revenue as subversive to the liberty of any country. (So back in the bad old the 18th century, the attitude of government was to tax for specific, appropriated objects. Today’s pols have long gotten away with fleecing the citizens for as much as they think they can get away with.) In Great Britain, taxes were apparently sunsetted.

John Rutlidge (SC) moved to appoint a Grand Committee to consider the National Government’s assumption of the States’ Revolutionary War debt. This was a reasonable measure since the National Government would deny the states their most lucrative revenue source.

Rufus King (MA) and Charles Pinckney (SC) seconded Mr. Rutlidge.

George Mason (VA) motioned the committee prepare a clause that restrained perpetual revenue. It was agreed to without opposition.

Roger Sherman (CN) supported National Government assumption of State debt, but would not do it through the Constitution.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) and Charles Pinckney (SC) differed with Mr. Sherman.

Rufus King (MA) responded that creditors were a formidable force in the States. They recently stood against Congressional control of imposts because it removed a reliable source of revenue. He wasn’t sure it was practical for the National Government to assume the debts, but it was worthwhile for a committee to look into it.

Mr. Rutlidge’s motion to form a Grand Committee composed of one delegate per State to consider assumption of State war debt, it passed 6-4-1.

The Grand Committee was appointed by ballot of the honorable Mr. Langdon, Mr. King, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Clymer, Mr. Dickinson, Mr. Mc Henry, Mr. Mason, Mr. Williamson, Mr. C. C. Pinckney, and Mr. Baldwin.

Elbridge Gerry (MA)’s motion regarding public securities, for stages on post-roads, and for letters of marque & reprisal passed without opposition.

Rufus King (MA) proposed that all unlocated lands of particular States should be given up if their debts were to be assumed. Mr. Williamson concurred. (The status of territory south of the Ohio and east of the Mississippi wouldn’t be clear until a treaty was signed with Spain. The Northwest Ordinance addressed the area north of the Ohio.)

John Rutlidge (SC) remarked on the length of the proceedings and anxiety both in and out of the Convention. He motioned to begin precisely at 10 AM (except Sundays) and adjourn at 4 PM on the order of the President. It passed 9-2.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) proposed a council to advise the President.

Charles Pinckney (SC) (Assumed, I think, a council similar to the one which advised the King of England.) would let the issue lie for the time being. Let the President chose his advisors.

Elbridge Gerry (MA) opposed letting heads of departments have anything to do with Legislation. He singled out the Chief Justice.

John Dickinson (DE) proposed that Congress approve or appoint the great officers. This and Mr. Ellsworth’s proposal were postponed.

Clause 15 of the 1st Section of Article VII, “To raise armies,” was next.

Nathaniel Gorham (MA) motioned to add “and support,” after “armies.” It was agreed to without opposition, as was the amended clause.

Elbridge Gerry (MA) said the people would not approve of standing armies. He alluded to the absence of the NY delegation and activities of Governor Clinton. An army in peacetime was dangerous, he would not support an unlimited number. He proposed it be limited to two or three thousand.

“To provide and maintain a Navy” replaced “to build and equip fleets,” in clause 16.

It was motioned and passed to add "To make rules for the Government and regulation of the land & naval forces,"

Luther Marin and Elbridge Gerry (MA) motioned, "provided that in time of peace the army shall not consist of more than ___ thousand men."

General Pinckney (SC) asked if no troops were to be raised until we were attacked.

Mr. Gerry was concerned for instance, with States establishing military governments.

Hugh Williamson (NC) agreed with an earlier comment by Mr. Mason that a limit on appropriations was the best guard.

John Langdon (NH) trusted the people’s reps much more than Mr. Gerry.(Sidebar: John Langdon and fellow NH delegate Nicholas Gilman arrived in late July. While NH assigned delegates, the Legislature refused to fund their trip. Mr. Langdon paid the expenses of both men from his personal funds. Without his sacrifice, NH would have been the third State to miss all or most of the Convention.)

Jonathan Dayton (NJ) noted that preparations for war are typically made during times of peace.

The motion of Mr. Martin and Mr. Gerry to limit the size of a standing army was defeated without opposition.

George Mason (VA) motioned to add, in the interest of national uniformity, "to make laws for the regulation and discipline of the militia of the several States reserving to the States the appointment of the officers."

General Pinckney (SC) supported Mr. Mason. The irregularity of militia forces in the last war was a serious problem. The States would never maintain militia discipline.

Judge Oliver Ellsworth (CN) would not go quite as far as Mr. Mason. He would have State militias under National, uniform rules when in actual service of the US or when States fail to provide for same. Still, the whole authority of the States should not be taken away.

Roger Sherman (CN) seconded Mr. Ellsworth.

John Dickinson (DE), as everyone else, regarded this clause as of immense importance. The States should never give up all authority over the Militia.

Pierce Butler (SC) urged complete National control over the Militias. (Was his opinion affected by the large slave population of SC?)

George Mason (VA) withdrew his motion and substituted, “to make laws for regulating and disciplining the militia, not exceeding one tenth part in any one year, and reserving the appointment of officers to the States."

General Pinckney (SC) renewed Mr. Mason’s original motion. To split the militia would be an “incurable evil.” He trusted the National Government in this regard.

John Langdon (NH) seconded General Pinckney (SC)’s renewal. There was no reason to be more afraid of either the State or National Governments. He was apprehensive of different authorities over the Militias.

James Madison (VA) alluded to the deployment of State militias during the war, in which States often withheld them from common service when the British Army was distant. For this reason, regulation of it naturally tended to the National Government.

Charles Pinckney (SC) thought the States would see the necessity of relinquishing most of their power over their militia. Recent history showed their relative ineffectiveness and Mr. Pinckney supported a real, standing, military force. He alluded to Shays Rebellion as an example of the need.

Roger Sherman (CN) pointed out the obvious that States may need their militias to combat invasion or insurrections or to enforce their laws.

Elbridge Gerry (MA), in a powerful statement, said this (militias) was the last point to be surrendered. (He would not, at the last, sign the Constitution) He did not have the confidence other men had in the evolving National Government.

George Mason (VA) gave great weight to Mr. Sherman’s observations and moved an exception to his motion, "of such part of the Militia as might be required by the States for their own use."

Judge George Read (DE) thought officers of the State militias should be appointed by the Executives.

The Convention committed the motions of George Mason (VA) and General Pinckney (SC) to the Grand Committee by a vote of 8-2-1.


1 posted on 08/18/2011 1:57:07 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

Here are some 1823 Commerce Clause notes of the events of August 18th (edited for brevity) from John Taylor, Clerk of the District Court for the District of Columbia.

“It was proposed to empower the legislature of the United States, . . . to establish institutions, rewards, and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures."

“The propositions of August the 18th, seem to have been the last considerable struggle for a national government; but the residue of the journal is so concise and imperfect, that their rejection is only discoverable by a reference to the Constitution, in which not a single one of them is to be found.”

“Their rejection was a necessary consequence of substituting a federal for the national government zealously contended for, from the 29th of May to the 14th of September. It was obvious that powers to . . . bestow rewards and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, would certainly swallow up a federal, and introduce a national government. . . The same soothing but insidious argument is now addressed to the intelligence of the publick, to justify an exercise of the very powers which the intelligence of the convention withheld from a federal government.”

“Yet, whatever may have been their temporary effect, it is obvious that the enlightened framers of the constitution considered the condition of publick good, as an enlargement and not a restriction of power; and that it would defeat all the limitations of the constitution, by which a federal government could be formed or sustained. It was a pretext which would fit every encroachment or usurpation; and no powers could be more indefinite and sovereign than those of granting exclusive privileges, bestowing rewards and immunities upon the three comprehensive interests of society, agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, and patronising capitalists, paupers, knowledge, and ignorance. Such a nest of powers, though exhibited as sleeping in the bed of publick good, bore so strong a resemblance to the old bed of justice in France, which was the repository of evil as well as good, that they were all rejected. It was evident that they would be sufficient to re-hatch the strangled national form of government; and the convention having finally preferred the federal form, thought that no good to the publick could result from such powers, which would recompense it for the evils it would sustain from the subversion of that form.”

“The convention saw, that if Congress could exercise such powers, for the publick good, it might, upon the same ground, usurp any powers whatsoever, and in rejecting the propositions, decided between investing that body with a general or a limited federal authority. Hence the power to regulate commerce was not intended to revive the rejected proposition to empower Congress to bestow rewards upon agriculture, commerce, and manufactures.”

So, the Framers considered and rejected essentially unlimited powers over agriculture, manufactures and commerce. If I know this, why didn’t Supreme Court justices back to FDR know as well?

2 posted on 08/18/2011 2:01:54 AM PDT by Jacquerie (The Journolist Media. Sword and Shield of the democrat party.)
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