James Wilson repeated Mr. Gorhams admonition that we were not fit for one society if a simple majority cannot be trusted.
The entire clause would be reconsidered.
Governeur Morris opposed striking, "exception of Treaties of peace. Congress would be reluctant to make war with such a high hurdle to make peace. If a majority of the Senate were not allowed to make peace, they would resort to withholding funds. (Mr. Morris also brought up the northeast fisheries and the Mississippi River, a continuing source of contention among the States.)
Hugh Williamson reminded the convention that treaties were to be made where a majority of States may represent a minority of people. Eight men could be a majority of a quorum to make peace. There was no reason for SC or GA to make war in the southwest.
James Wilson and Elbridge Gerry again expressed concern of minority control. They also feared foreign influence. (I do not understand why the clause required two thirds of the Senators present, rather than all. If anything invited foreign influence, this was it.)
Roger Sherman motioned, and Mr. Morris seconded leaving the rights established by the Treaty of peace, to the Senate, & moved to annex a "proviso that no such rights shd. be ceded without the sanction of the Legislature.
James Madison observed that yes, it had been too easy to enact treaties, although nine States were required.
Mr. Kings motion to strike the "exception of Treaties of peace" from the general clause requiring two thirds of the Senate for making Treaties, passed 8-3.
James Wilson and Jonathan Dayton (NJ) moved to strike the two thirds requirement for making treaties. It failed 9-1.
John Rutlidge and Elbridge Gerry moved to require "no Treaty be made without the consent of 2/3 of all the members of the Senate."
The motion failed 8-3. (Just like that. No debate?)
Roger Sherman motioned, and Mr. Gerry seconded to require a simple majority of the entire Senate for treaty ratification.
Hugh Williamson did not support less security from a simple majority.
Mr. Shermans motion failed narrowly, 6-5.
James Madison motioned to require two thirds of all members for a Senate quorum.
Hugh Williamson and Elbridge Gerry motioned "that no Treaty should be made without previous notice to the members, & a reasonable time for their attending."
It failed 8-3.
The final clause as reported from the committee, But no Treaty shall be made without the consent of two thirds of the members present, passed 8-3.
(The next one is interesting.)
Elbridge Gerry motioned that no officer be appointed to positions outside of those created by the Constitution or by other law. It was defeated as unnecessary. (Too bad this one got away)
Next, the impeachment clause, 'He shall be removed from his office on impeachment by the House of Representatives, and conviction by the Senate, for Treason, or bribery.
George Mason motioned and Mr. Gerry seconded, why impeachment for treason and bribery only? Treason will not reach many significant offenses. What of attempts to subvert the Constitution? He moved to add, or maladministration after bribery.
James Madison thought the term so indistinct as to allow the Senate to boot almost any President when it desired.
Governeur Morris did not think it would be put into effect and short four year terms will preclude maladministration anyway.
Mr. Mason withdrew maladministration to substitute, other high crimes and misdemesnors against the State.
The question put by Mr. Mason passed 7-4.
James Madison objected to a trial by the Senate, especially for any act that could be called a misdemesnor. He would prefer trial at the Supreme Court.
Governeur Morris thought the Scotus too few in number, and since they were nominated by the Executive . . . In part because the Presidential term was only four years, he discounted any possibility of untoward or unnecessary convictions.
Charles Pinckney disapproved trial by the Senate. Should the President veto a bill cherished by both houses, they could combine and boot him from office.
Hugh Williamson thought too much lenity in favor of the President would result. (The Clinton mess proved a democrat Senate will never convict a democrat President.) Roger Sherman also opposed Scotus impeachment trials due to their nominations by the President.
On Mr. Madisons motion to remove, by the Senate, it failed 9-2.
The clause as amended, conviction for high crimes and misdemeanors passed, 10-1.
Conviction and removal from office for the Vice President and other civil officers on the same basis passed without opposition.
Next, All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives, and shall be subject to alterations and amendments by the Senate: no money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law."
The words, "and shall be subject to alterations and amendments by the Senate" were struck, and replaced with, "but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as in other bills, which passed without opposition.
On the first part of the clause, "All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of Representatives, passed 9-2.
Governeur Morris motioned to amend a previous clause agreed to, to read, The Senate of the U. S. shall have power to try all impeachments; but no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present; and every member shall be on oath," which passed 9-2
Elbridge Gerry motioned once again, "The Legislature shall have the sole right of establishing offices not herein provided for," which failed again, 8-3.
James McHenry (MD) motioned to add to a previous section, "He may convene both or either of the Houses on extraordinary occasions." This he added would also provide for the case of the Senate being in Session at the time of convening the Legislature.
James Wilson would not agree to it; to have one house alone in session without the other.
Mr. McHenrys motion passed 7-4.
A committee of style was appointed by ballot to arrange the agreed to Articles, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Hamilton, Mr. Govr. Morris, Mr. Madison and Mr. King.
(Governeur Morris was another, Whos he? of the Convention. He should be far better known. In addition to active participation throughout, he was recognized as leader of the Committee of Style, and largely credited with the careful elegance, and precision of our beloved Constitution.) Hugh Williamson motioned to first reconsider the number of members to the House of Representatives. Mr. Madison seconded.
Roger Sherman opposed; the topic had been well debated.
Alexander Hamilton (NY) strongly supported the motion. While in favor of vigorous government, he thought it should be based on a wide foundation of the people. He thought the House of Reps on too narrow a base as to be dangerous to the liberties of the people. The relationship between the Senate and President was far too close; a more populous House of Reps was needed.
Mr. Williamsons motion failed, 6-5.
A potential crisis that hung over the Convention, in fact, one of the reasons for the Convention itself was a pending treaty with Spain. The (John) Jay-Gardoqui Treaty would have traded commercial advantage to the Northern States in exchange for a 25 year closure of the Mississippi River, to the detriment of the South. The foreign policy of Spain v. the US was one of containment, and standing fast against agricultural interests of the South was one way to promote it.
Northern shipping by 1787 had been demoralized by war and economic depression for over ten years. American merchants not only did not have the protection of restrictive British Navigation laws and the Royal Navy, all British ports including the West Indies were closed to us. British ships, OTOH carried the agricultural exports of the South as well as those of NJ and CN. Our Confederation government did not have the power to regulate commerce nor enact Navigation Laws. Northern carrying interests by 1787 had become desperate.
Southern eyes instead turned westward. Settlers from all States were emigrating to lands that would become KY, TN, AL, MS. Their long term prosperity ultimately depended on ports to export their products. Spain had closed New Orleans to Americans only recently, in 1784, which accelerated the widespread economic depression.
The trigger that nearly dissolved the Confederation was a Congressional vote on August 30th 1786. On the vote of seven states, John Jay was instructed to give away rights to the Mississippi if he deemed it necessary to conclude the treaty. James Monroe, VA delegate to Congress, warned, Jay and his party are determined to pursue this business as far as possible, either as a means of throwing the western people and territory without the government of the US and keeping the weight of population and government here, or of dismembering the government itself for the purpose of a separate confederacy.
The economic situation was so awful that one half of the country had acquiesced to betray the other. It was in the shadow of this hostile background of distrust, our Framers sat down less than a year later to craft our Constitution. It was remarkable they met at all, and what they produced was just short of a Miracle.
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