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Fringe Meetings at the U.S. Consitutional Convention

Record of an Unofficial Meeting - 17 July 1787

i3099

After the end of the session on 16 July, Madison notes down a unofficial meeting which took place on the morning of 17 July 1787, before the start of that day's session.

Fringe Meetings at the U.S. Consitutional Convention

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Description

After the end of the session on 16 July, Madison notes down a unofficial meeting which took place on the morning of 17 July 1787, before the start of that day's session.

Content

On the morning following before the hour of the Convention a number of the members from the larger States, by common agreement met for the purpose of consulting on the proper steps to be taken in consequence of the vote in favor of an equal Representation in the 2d. branch, and the apparent inflexibility of the smaller States on that point — Several members from the latter States also attended. The time was wasted in vague conversation on the subject, without any specific proposition or agreement. It appeared indeed that the opinions of the members who disliked the equality of votes differed so much as to the importance of that point, and as to the policy of risking a failure of any general act of the Convention by inflexibly opposing it. Several of them supposing that no good Governnt could or would be built on that foundation, and that as a division of the Convention into two opinions was unavoidable it would be better that the side comprising the principal States, and a majority of the people of America, should propose a scheme of Govt. to the States, than that a scheme should be proposed on the other side, would have concurred in a firm opposition to the smaller States, and in a separate recommendation, if eventually necessary. Others seemed inclined to yield to the smaller States, and to concur in such an Act however imperfect & exceptionable, as might be agreed on by the Convention as a body, tho’ decided by a bare majority of States and by a minority of the people of the U. States. It is probable that the result of this consultation satisfied the smaller States that they had nothing to apprehend from a Union of the larger, in any plan whatever agst. the equality of votes in the 2d. branch.

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Copyright information

Madison's Notes (Max Farrand, 1911)