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Mr. Brearly made another partial report from the Committee of Eleven.

The first clause of Section 1 Article 7 was amended to read, “The Legislature shall have power to lay and collect taxes duties imposts & excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence & general welfare, of the US, and passed without opposition.

“And with the Indian Tribes,” was added to the next clause, so as to read, “To regulate commerce with foreign nations; and among the Several States; and with the Indian Tribes.”

Debate on the third clause was postponed, in order to take up the fourth, which was totally rewritten and expanded. It created four year Presidential terms, the office of Vice President and his duties in the Senate, what we know as the electoral college, based on Congressional representation.

Nathaniel Gorham did not support the second place finisher as Vice President, without referral to the Senate. As it stood, an obscure man with few votes could become Vice.

Roger Sherman said one purpose was allow for multiple, but shorter terms. Another was to make the election (mostly) independent of the Legislature. As for obscure characters, the five highest vote getters will be a sufficient guard against it.

James Madison predicted the nomination of candidates would be directed by the Large States, and the Senate would end up electing Presidents.

Governeur Morris concurred with, and further supported the remarks of Mr. Madison.

Governor Randolph and Charles Pinckney wanted to know why the mode of election was changed. (Unless I missed an amendment, Article X Section 1 provided for Congressional elections of the President before the Committee of Eleven rewrote it.)

Governeur Morris responded for the Committee of Eleven. (I will not elaborate on his reasoning. Even in Mr. Madison’s truncated notes, Mr. Morris gave clear and compelling reasons to get rid of Congressional, and move toward the States for Executive electors. He addressed corruption, and why the Senate should serve as jury for impeachments rather than the Supreme Court.)

George Mason congratulated the Committee for their work. The one real problem was that for most elections, the Senate would end up electing the President.

Pierce Butler thought the new mode better than election by the entire Congress.

Charles Pinckney objected because, as a practical matter the election would end up in the Senate, where few would know the candidates very well. He did not support multiple Presidential terms, nor election by the same body that could judge his guilt.

Hugh Williamson thought the Senate should be restricted to the two highest on the list. Otherwise, the danger of cabal over subsequent terms was great.

Governeur Morris noted the principal advantage of removing the opportunity for cabal. As for the danger in subsequent terms that could be taken care of.

Abraham Baldwin (GA) reasoned the election would actually not end up in the Senate as often as feared.

James Wilson noted the division the question caused in the Convention and surmised what it would cause among the public. He was not sold on any single solution offered so far. It did however, remove any restriction on the facet of multiple terms of office. A better solution may be to include the entire Congress as electors and to a smaller number of candidates.

Governor Edmund Randolph preferred the pre-committee mode of Presidential election. (Election by Congress for a single seven year term) He wondered why the fall back election was to be by the Senate, considering it was closely allied to the States.

Governeur Morris so much as stated that fewer men (in the smaller Senate) would be able to influence the President. (It was not often that Mr. Morris was caught flat footed on the other side of logic. Our Framers, as a group missed nothing.)

Further consideration was postponed, the delegates were given copies of the Report.

(This was the second time a privately printed copy of resolutions were provided to members. Friend and foe alike to the new system kept their oaths to secrecy. These were honorable men.)

The Convention sent to the Committee of Eleven a motion to “report a plan for defraying the expenses of the Convention." (Remember the Convention did not have funds to hire a chaplain, nor did it even consider hiring a court recorder.)

Charles Pinckney and Governeur Morris motioned a clause, "that each House should be judge of the privilege of its own members.” Edmund Randolph and James Madison asked for a postponement on the question.

Mr. Morris did not see any need for postponement, the question was clear.

James Wilson thought it was not necessary.

(I am not at sure what was meant by “privilege,” in this case.)

James Madison cleared things up. Congress already had the power to judge the elections, returns and qualifications of members, and free speech was guaranteed on the floor. It could expel members and discipline them for disorderly behavior. Any additional liberties should be determined by law. Executive privileges should also be determined.


1 posted on 09/04/2011 2:54:20 AM PDT by Jacquerie
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To: Lady Jag; Ev Reeman; familyof5; NewMediaJournal; pallis; Kartographer; SuperLuminal; unixfox; ...
Constitutional Convention Ping!

Today the electoral college system was introduced. How the heck did the Committee of Eleven come up with this convoluted method to elect a President? It was almost by process of elimination. The convention had previously considered and rejected Executive appointment/election by Congress, State Governors and the people. Corruption and backroom deal making were feared in the first two methods. Also, the concept of separation of powers was fast developing and a President could hardly be independent if he was beholding to Congress for his job. As for the third, there was no telling the sort of character the people would install. No, our Framers would limit direct democracy to the House of Reps. Yet in the forefront of their minds they had to come up with a system that could pass inspection and be ratified by State conventions of the people. What better way to help placate the people’s fears than to assign to their States the task of electing the President?

The decision then on how to elect Presidential electors was up to State legislatures. More democratic leaning New England States could introduce popular elector elections if they wished, while aristocratic Southern States could and did have their legislatures determine who would elect the President.

Oh, and the simple commerce clause passed today without discussion.

2 posted on 09/04/2011 3:01:59 AM PDT by Jacquerie (You cannot love your country if you do not love the Declaration and Constitution. Mark Levin.)
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