Tuesday July 17, 1787

IN CONVENTION

Mr. GOVERNR. MORRIS moved to reconsider the whole Resolution agreed to yesterday concerning the constitution of the
2 branches of the Legislature. His object was to bring the House to a consideration in the abstract of the powers necessary to
be vested in the general Government. It had been said, Let us know how the Government is to be modeled, and then we can
determine what powers can be properly given to it.

He thought the most eligible course was, first to determine on the necessary powers, and then so to modify the Government
as that it might be justly and properly enabled to administer them. He feared if we proceeded to a consideration of the powers,
whilst the vote of yesterday including an equality of the States in the 2nd branch, remained in force, a reference to it, either
mental or expressed, would mix itself with the merits of every question concerning the powers.

- this motion was not seconded. [It was probably approved by several members, who either despaired of success, or were
apprehensive that the attempt would inflame the jealousies of the smaller States.]

The 6th. Resolution in the Report of the Committee of the Whole relating to the powers, which had been postponed in order
to consider the 7th and 8th relating to the constitution of the National Legislature, was now resumed.

Mr. SHERMAN observed that it would be difficult to draw the line between the powers of the General Legislatures, and
those to be left with the States; that he did not like the definition contained in the Resolution, and proposed in place of the
words "of  individual Legislation", line 4 inclusive, to insert "to make laws binding on the people of the United States in all
cases which may concern the common interests of the Union; but not to interfere with the Government of the individual
States in any matters of internal police which respect the Government of such States only, and wherein the general welfare of
the United States is not concerned."

Mr. WILSON 2nd the amendment as better expressing the general principle.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS opposed it. The internal police, as it would be called and understood by the States ought to be infringed
in many cases, as in the case of paper money and other tricks by which citizens of other States may be affected.

Mr. SHERMAN, in explanation of his idea read an enumeration of powers, including the power of levying taxes on trade, but
not the power of direct taxation.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS remarked the omission, and inferred that for the deficiencies of taxes on consumption, it must have
been the meaning of Mr. Sherman, that the General Government should recur to quotas and requisitions, which are
subversive of the idea of Government.

Mr. SHERMAN acknowledged that his enumeration did not include direct taxation. Some provision he supposed must be
made for supplying the deficiency of other taxation, but he had not formed any.

On question of Mr. Sherman's motion, it passed in the negative.
Massachusetts, no. Connecticut, aye. New Jersey, no. Pennsylvania, no. Delaware, no. Maryland, aye. Virginia ,no. North
Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

Mr. BEDFORD moved that the 2nd member of Resolution six be so altered as to read "and moreover to legislate in all cases
for the general interests of the Union, and also in those to which the States are separately incompetent," or in which the
harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual Legislation."

Mr. Govr. MORRIS 2nds the motion.

Mr. RANDOLPH. This is a formidable idea indeed. It involves the power of violating all the laws and constitutions of the
States, and of intermeddling with their police. The last member of the sentence is also superfluous, being included in the first.

Mr. BEDFORD. It is not more extensive or formidable than the clause as it stands: no State being separately competent to
legislate for the general interest of the Union.

On question for agreeing to Mr. Bedford's motion, it passed in the affirmative.
Massachusetts, aye. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, aye. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, aye. Maryland, aye. Virginia, no. North
Carolina, aye. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

On the sentence as amended, it passed in the affirmative.

Massachusetts, aye. Connecticut, aye. New Jersey, aye. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, aye. Maryland, aye. Virginia, aye.
North Carolina, aye. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

The next. "To negative all laws passed by the several States contravening in the opinion of the National Legislature the articles
of Union, or any treaties subsisting under the authority of the Union".

Mr. Govr. MORRIS opposed this power as likely to be terrible to the States, and not necessary, if sufficient Legislative
authority should be given to the General Government.

Mr. SHERMAN thought it unnecessary, as the Courts of the States would not consider as valid any law contravening the
Authority of the Union, and which the legislature would wish to be negatived.

Mr. L. MARTIN considered the power as improper and inadmissible. Shall all the laws of the States be sent up to the General
Legislature before they shall be permitted to operate?

Mr. MADISON considered the negative on the laws of the States as essential to the efficacy and security of the General
Govt. The necessity of a general Government proceeds from the propensity of the States to pursue their particular interests in
opposition to the general interest. This propensity will continue to disturb the system, unless effectually controlled. Nothing
short of a negative on their laws will control it.

They can pass laws which will accomplish their injurious objects before they can be repealed by the General Legislature, or
be set aside by the National Tribunals. Confidence can not be put in the State Tribunals as guardians of the National authority
and interests. In all the States these are more or less dependent on the Legislatures. In Georgia they are appointed annually by
the Legislature. In Rhode Island the Judges who refused to execute an unconstitutional law were displaced, and others
substituted, by the Legislature who would be willing instruments of the wicked and arbitrary plans of their masters.

A power of negativing the improper laws of the States is at once the most mild and certain means of preserving the harmony
of the system. Its utility is sufficiently displayed in the British System. Nothing could maintain the harmony and subordination
of the various parts of the empire, but the prerogative by which the Crown, stifles in the birth every Act of every part tending
to discord or encroachment. It is true the prerogative is sometimes misapplied through ignorance or a partiality to one
particular part of the empire; but we have not the same reason to fear such misapplications in our System. As to the sending
all laws up to the National Legislature: that might be rendered unnecessary by some emanation of the power into the States, so
far at least, as to give a temporary effect to laws of immediate necessity.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS was more and more opposed to the negative. The proposal of it would disgust all the States. A law that
ought to be negatived will be set aside in the Judiciary department, and if that security should fail; may be repealed by a
National law.

Mr. SHERMAN. Such a power involves a wrong principle, to wit, that a law of a State contrary to the articles of the Union,
would if not negatived, be valid and operative.

Mr. PINKNEY urged the necessity of the Negative. On the question for agreeing to the power of negativing laws of States
etc., it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, aye. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, no. Pennsylvania, no. Delaware, no. Maryland, no. Virginia, aye. North
Carolina, aye. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

Mr. LUTHER MARTIN moved the following resolution "that the Legislative acts of the United States made by virtue and in
pursuance of the articles of Union, and all Treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States shall be the
supreme law of the respective States, as far as those acts or treaties shall relate to the said States, or their Citizens and
inhabitants, and that the Judiciaries of the several States shall be bound thereby in their decisions, any thing in the respective
laws of the individual States to the contrary notwithstanding" which was agreed to nem con.

9th Resolution, "that National Executive consist of a single person." Agreed to nem con.
"To be chosen by the National Legislature."

Mr. GOVERNR. MORRIS was pointedly against his being so chosen. He will be the mere creature of the Legislature if
appointed and impeachable by that body. He ought to be elected by the people at large, by the freeholders of the Country.
That difficulties attend this mode, he admits. But they have been found superbly in New York and in Connecticut and would,
he believed be found so, in the case of an Executive for the United States. If the people should elect, they will never fail to
prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak, of continental reputation. If the
Legislature elect, it will be the work of intrigue, of cabal, and of faction; it will be like the election of a pope by a conclave of
cardinals; real merit will rarely be the title to the appointment. He moved to strike out "National Legislature" and insert "citizens
of United States."

Mr. SHERMAN thought that the sense of the Nation would be better expressed by the Legislature, than by the people at
large. The latter will never be sufficiently informed of characters, and besides will never give a majority of votes to any one
man. They will generally vote for some man in their own State, and the largest State will have the best chance for the
appointment. If the choice be made by the Legislature, a majority of voices may be made necessary to constitute an election.

Mr. WILSON. Two arguments have been urged against an election of the Executive Magistrate by the people. 1. the example
of Poland where an Election of the supreme Magistrate is attended with the most dangerous commotions. The cases he
observed were totally dissimilar. The Polish nobles have resources and dependents which enable them to appear in force, and
to threaten the Republic as well as each other. In the next place the electors all assemble in one place, which would not be the
case with us. The 2nd argument. is that a majority of the people would never concur. It might be answered that the
concurrence of a majority of people is not a necessary principle of election, nor required as such in any of the States.

But allowing the objection all its force, it may be obviated by the expedient used in Massachusetts where the Legislature by
majority of voices, decide in case a majority of people do not concur in favor of one of the candidates. This would restrain
the choice to a good nomination at least, and prevent in a great degree intrigue and cabal. A particular objection with him
against an absolute election by the Legislature was that the Executive in that case would be too dependent to stand the
mediator between the intrigues and sinister views of the Representatives and the general liberties and interests of the people.
Mr. PINKNEY did not expect this question would again have been brought forward. An Election by the people being liable to
the most obvious and striking objections. They will be led by a few active and designing men. The most populous States by
combining in favor of the same individual will be able to carry their points. The National Legislature being most immediately
interested in the laws made by themselves, will be most attentive to the choice of a fit man to carry them properly into
execution.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS. It is said that in case of an election by the people the populous States will combine and elect whom
they please. Just the reverse. The people of such States cannot combine. If their be any combination it must be among their
representatives in the Legislature. It is said the people will be led by a few designing men. This might happen in a small
district. It can never happen throughout the continent.

In the election of a Governor of New York, it sometimes is the case in particular spots, that the activity and intrigues of little
partisans are successful, but the general voice of the State is never influenced by such artifices. It is said the multitude will be
uninformed. It is true they would be uninformed of what passed in the Legislative Conclave, if the election were to be made
there; but they will not be uninformed of those great and illustrious characters which have merited their esteem and
confidence.

If the Executive be chosen by the Natl. Legislature, he will not be independent on it, and if not independent, usurpation and
tyranny on the part of the Legislature will be the consequence. This was the case in England in the last Century. It has been
the case in Holland, where their Senates have engrossed all power. It has been the case every where. He was surprised that an
election by the people at large should ever have been likened to the polish election of the first Magistrate. An election by the
Legislature will bear a real likeness to the election by the Diet of Poland. The great must be the electors in both cases, and the
corruption and cabal which are known to characterize the one would soon find their way into the other. Appointments made
by numerous bodies, are always worse than those made by single responsible individuals, or by the people at large.

Col. MASON. It is curious to remark the different language held at different times. At one moment we are told that the
Legislature is entitled to thorough confidence, and to indefinite power. At another, that it will be governed by intrigue and
corruption, and cannot be trusted at all. But not to dwell on this inconsistency he would observe that a Government which is
to last ought at least to be practicable. Would this be the case if the proposed election should be left to the people at large. He
conceived it would be as unnatural to refer the choice of a proper character for chief Magistrate to the people, as it would, to
refer a trial of colors to a blind man. The extent of the Country renders it impossible that the people can have the requisite
capacity to judge of the respective pretensions of the Candidates.

Mr. WILSON could not see the contrariety stated [by Col. Mason] The Legislature might deserve confidence in some
respects, and distrust in others. In acts which were to affect them and their constituents precisely alike, confidence was due.
In others jealousy was warranted. The appointment to great offices, where the Legislature might feel many motives, not
common to the public confidence was surely misplaced. This branch of business it was notorious was most corruptly
managed of any that had been committed to legislative bodies.

Mr. WILLIAMSON conceived that there was the same difference between an election in this case, by the people and by the
legislature, as between an appointment by lot, and by choice. There are at present distinguished characters, who are known
perhaps to almost every man. This will not always be the case. The people will be sure to vote for some man in their own
State, and the largest State will be sure to succeed. This will not be Virginia however. Her slaves will have no suffrage. As the
Salary of the Executive will be fixed, and he will not be eligible a 2nd time, there will not be such a dependence on the
Legislature as has been imagined.

Question on an election by the people instead of the Legislature; which passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, no. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, no. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, no. Maryland, no. Virginia, no. North
Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

Mr. L. MARTIN moved that the Executive be chosen by Electors appointed by the several Legislatures of the individual
States.

Mr. BROOME 2nd On the Question, it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, no. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, no. Pennsylvania, no. Delaware, aye. Maryland, aye. Virginia, no. North
Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

On the question on the words "to be chosen by the National Legislature" it passed unanimously in the affirmative.

"For the term of seven years" -postponed nem con on motion of Mr. Houston and Gov. Morris. "to carry into execution the
national laws" -agreed to nem con. "to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for."- agreed to nem con. "to be
ineligible a second time" -Mr. HOUSTON moved to strike out this clause.

Mr. SHERMAN 2nds the motion.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS espoused the motion. The ineligibility proposed by the clause as it stood tended to destroy the great
motive to good behavior, the hope of being rewarded by a reappointment. It was saying to him, make hay while the sun
shines.

On the question for striking out as moved by Mr. Houston, it passed in the affirmative

Massachusetts, aye. Connecticut, aye. New Jersey, aye. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, no. Maryland, aye. Virginia, no. North
Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, aye.

"For the term of 7 years" resumed:

Mr. BROOM was for a shorter term since the Executive Magistrate was now to be re-eligible. Had he remained ineligible a
2nd time, he should have preferred a longer term.

Dr. Mc.CLURG moved to strike out 7 years, and insert "during good behavior." By striking out the words declaring him not
re-eligible, he was put into a situation that would keep him dependent for ever on the Legislature; and he conceived the
independence of the Executive to be equally essential with that of the Judiciary department.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS 2ded. the motion. He expressed great pleasure in hearing it. This was the way to get a good
Government. His fear that so valuable an ingredient would not be attained had led him to take the part he had done. He was
indifferent how the Executive should be chosen, provided he held his place by this tenure.

Mr. BROOME highly approved the motion. It obviated all his difficulties.

Mr. SHERMAN considered such a tenure as by no means safe or admissible. As the Executive Magistrate is now re-eligible,
he will be on good behavior as far as will be necessary. If he behaves well he will be continued; if otherwise, displaced, on a
succeeding election.

Mr. MADISON. If it be essential to the preservation of liberty that the Legislature, Executive, and Judiciary powers be
separate, it is essential to a maintenance of the separation, that they should be independent of each other. The Executive could
not be independent of the Legislature, if dependent on the pleasure of that branch for a reappointment. Why was it determined
that the Judges should not hold their places by such a tenure? Because they might be tempted to cultivate the Legislature, by
an undue complaisance, and thus render the Legislature the virtual expositor, as well the maker of the laws.

In like manner a dependence of the Executive on the Legislature, would render it the Executor as well as the maker of laws;
and then according to the observation of Montesquieu, tyrannical laws may be made that they may be executed in a tyrannical
manner. There was an analogy between the Executive and Judiciary departments in several respects. The latter executed the
laws in certain cases as the former did in others. The former expounded and applied them for certain purposes, as the latter
did for others.

The difference between them seemed to consist chiefly in two circumstances; 1. the collective interest and security were
much more in the power belonging to the Executive than to the Judiciary department. 2. In the administration of the former
much greater latitude is left to opinion and discretion than in the administration of the latter. But if the 2nd consideration
proves that it will be more difficult to establish a rule sufficiently precise for trying the Executive than the Judges, and forms
an objection to the same tenure of office, both considerations prove that it might be more dangerous to suffer a union
between the Executive and Legislative powers, than between the Judiciary and Legislative powers.

He conceived it to be absolutely necessary to a well constituted Republic that the two first should be kept distinct and
independent of each other. Whether the plan proposed by the motion was a proper one was another question, as it depended
on the practicability of instituting a tribunal for impeachments as certain and as adequate in the one case as in the other. On
the other hand, respect for the mover entitled his proposition to a fair hearing and discussion, until a less objectionable
expedient should be applied for guarding against a dangerous union of the Legislative and Executive departments.

Col. MASON. This motion was made some time ago, and negatived by a very large majority. He trusted that it would be
again negatived. It Would be impossible to define the misbehavior in such a manner as to subject it to a proper trial; and
perhaps still more impossible to compel so high an offender holding his office by such a tenure to submit to a trial. He
considered an Executive during good behavior as a softer name only for an Executive for life. And that the next would be an
easy step to hereditary Monarchy. If the motion should finally succeed, he might himself live to see such a Revolution. If he
did not, it was probable his children or grand children would. He trusted there were few men in that House who wished for it.
No state he was sure had so far revolted from Republican principles as to have the least bias in its favor.

Mr. MADISON was not apprehensive of being thought to favor any step towards monarchy. The real object with him was to
prevent its introduction. Experience had proved a tendency in our governments to throw all power into the Legislative vortex.
The Executives of the States are in general little more than ciphers; the legislatures omnipotent. If no effectual check be
devised for restraining the instability and encroachments of the latter, a revolution of some kind or other would be inevitable.
The preservation of Republican Government therefore required some expedient for the purpose, but required evidently at the
same time that in devising it, the genuine principles of that form should be kept in view.

Mr. Govr. MORRIS was as little a friend to monarchy as any gentleman. He concurred in the opinion that the way to keep
out monarchical Government was to establish such a Republican Government. as Would make the people happy and prevent a
desire of change.

Dr. Mc CLURG was not so much afraid of the shadow of monarchy as to be unwilling to approach it; nor so wedded to
Republican Government as not to be sensible of the tyrannies that had been and may be exercised under that form. It was an
essential object with him to make the Executive independent of the Legislature; and the only mode left for effecting it, after
the vote destroying his ineligibility a second time, was to appoint him during good behavior.
On the question for inserting "during good behavior" in place of 7 years [with a re-eligibility] it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, no. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, aye. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, aye. Maryland, no. Virginia, aye. North
Carolina, no. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

On the motion for inserting "to strike out seven years" it passed in the negative.

Massachusetts, aye. Connecticut, no. New Jersey, no. Pennsylvania, aye. Delaware, aye. Maryland, no. Virginia, no. North
Carolina, aye. South Carolina, no. Georgia, no.

It was now unanimously agreed that the vote which had struck out the words "to be ineligible a second time" should be
reconsidered to-morrow.

Adjourned.
Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention
By James Madison
July 17, 1787
The Illinois Conservative