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New York's Application for a Convention of States (6 May 1789)

by NAWilliford

Cite as: NAWilliford, ‘New York's Application for a Convention of States (6 May 1789)’ in Bill of Rights 2018 Editors' Commentary, Quill Project at Pembroke College (Oxford, 2019), item 242.

Content

On 5 May 1789, Richard Bland Lee submitted Virginia's application for a Convention of States to amend the Constitution. That application initiated a debate among members as to the correct procedure to follow upon the submission of such applications and the efficacy of proposing amendments at all at that stage. Ultimately, the House arrived at a compromise of entering Virginia's resolution in the Journal of the House and tabling the application (U.S. House Journal. 1789. 1st Congress, 1st sess., 5 May 1789; Annals of Congress, 1st Cong., 1st sess., 258-61). The following day, John Laurance of New York submitted a strongly-worded resolution from that state's assembly similarly requesting a convention to take up amendments. With the procedure adopted the previous day in place, this application did not elicit a similar debate. Rather, the application simply was read, entered in the journal, and ordered to be filed (Gazette of the United States, edition of 9 May 1789, 31; U.S. House Journal. 1789. 1st Cong., 1st sess., 6 May 1789; Annals of Congress, 1st Cong., 1st sess., 282).

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