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Documentary Milestones in Framing the U.S. Constitution

Resolutions of the Committee of the Whole House as Amended by the Convention

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The resolutions contained in the Report of the Committee of the Whole House were taken up by the Convention, and debated and amended once more. This process allowed the Convention move on from the debate on the general outline of the Virginia Plan in Committee, to then scrutinise the draft in more detail.

Throughout consideration of the Report the Convention made numerous changes, with the issue of representation proving the hardest to negotiate. The issue was referred to three separate committees, which was finally settled by the adoption of the Connecticut Compromise.

Description

The resolutions contained in the Report of the Committee of the Whole House were taken up by the Convention, and debated and amended once more. This process allowed the Convention move on from the debate on the general outline of the Virginia Plan in Committee, to then scrutinise the draft in more detail.

Throughout consideration of the Report the Convention made numerous changes, with the issue of representation proving the hardest to negotiate. The issue was referred to three separate committees, which was finally settled by the adoption of the Connecticut Compromise.

Content

1. Resolved that the government of the United States ought to consist of a Supreme Legislative, Judiciary, and Executive.

2. Resolved that the national Legislature ought to consist of Two Branches.

3. Resolved that the Members of the first branch of the Legislature ought to be elected by the People of the several States for the term of two years; to be of the age of 25 years at least; to be ineligible to and incapable of holding any Office under the authority of the United-States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the first branch) during the term of service.

4. Resolved that the Members of the second branch of the Legislature of the United States ought to be chosen by the individual Legislatures; to be of the age of thirty years at least; to hold their offices for a term of six years, one third to go out biennially; to receive a compensation for the devotion of their time to the public service; to be ineligible to, and incapable of holding any office under the authority of the United States (except those peculiarly belonging to the functions of the second branch) during the term for which they are elected, and for one year thereafter.

5. Resolved that each branch ought to possess the right of originating acts.

6. Resolved that the national Legislature ought to possess the legislative rights vested in Congress by the confederation — 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.

Resolved 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

7. Resolved that the right of suffrage in the first branch of the national Legislature ought not to be according to the rule established in the articles of confederation, but according to some equitable ratio of representation.

Resolved — That in the original formation of the Legislature of the United States the first Branch thereof shall consist of sixty five members — of which number

New Hampshire shall send ..... Three
Massachusetts .......................... Eight
Rhode Island ............................. One
Connecticut ............................... Five
New York ................................... Six
New Jersey ............................... Four
Pennsylvania ............................. Eight
Delaware ................................... One
Maryland .................................... Six
Virginia ....................................... Ten
North Carolina .......................... Five
South Carolina .......................... Five
Georgia ...................................... Three.

But as the present situation of the States may probably alter in the number of their inhabitants the Legislature of the United States shall be authorized from time to time to apportion the number of representatives: and in case any of the States shall hereafter be divided, or enlarged by addition of territory, or any two or more States united, or any New States created within the limits of the United States the Legislature of the United States shall possess authority to regulate the number of representatives: in any of the foregoing cases upon the principle of their number of inhabitants, according to the provisions hereafter mentioned, namely,

Provided always that representation ought to be proportioned according to direct Taxation; and in order to ascertain the alteration in the direct Taxation, which may be required from time to time by the changes in the relative circumstances of the States — Resolved that a Census be taken within six years from the first Meeting of the Legislature of the United States, and once within the term of every Ten years afterwards of all the inhabitants of the United States in the manner and according to the ratio recommended by Congress in their resolution of April 18. 1783 — and that the Legislature of the United States shall proportion the direct Taxation accordingly. That from the first meeting of the Legislature of the United States until a Census shall be taken, all monies for supplying the public Treasury by direct Taxation shall be raised from the several States according to the number of their representatives respectively in the first Branch.

Resolved That all Bills for raising or appropriating money, and for fixing the salaries of the Officers of the Government of the United States shall originate in the first Branch of the Legislature of the United States, and shall not be altered or amended by the second Branch — and that no money shall be drawn from the Public Treasury but in pursuance of appropriations to be originated by the first Branch.

8. Resolved That in the second Branch of the Legislature of the United States each State shall have an equal vote.

9. Resolved That a national Executive be instituted to consist of a Single Person; to be chosen by the national Legislature; for the term of seven years, to be ineligible a second time; with power to carry into effect the national laws; to appoint to offices in cases not otherwise provided for; to be removable on impeachment and conviction of malpractice or neglect of duty; to receive a fixed compensation for the devotion of his time to public service to be paid out of the national Treasury.

10. Resolved that the national Executive shall have a right to negative any legislative act, which shall not be afterwards passed unless by two third parts of each Branch of the national Legislature.

11. Resolved That a national Judiciary be established to consist of One supreme Tribunal, the Judges of which to be appointed by the second Branch of the National Legislature to hold their Offices during good behaviour; to receive, punctually, at stated times a fixed compensation for their services: in which no diminution shall be made so as to affect the persons actually in office at the time of such diminution.

12. Resolved That the national Legislature be empowered to appoint inferior Tribunals.

13. Resolved That the jurisdiction of the national Judiciary shall extend to cases arising under laws passed by the general Legislature, and to such other questions as involve the National peace and harmony.

14. Resolved That provision ought to be made for the admission of States lawfully arising within the limits of the United States, whether from a voluntary junction of government and territory, or otherwise with the consent of a number of voices in the national Legislature less than the whole.

16. Resolved That a republican form of Government shall be guaranteed to each State — and that each State shall be protected against foreign and domestic violence.

17. Resolved That provision ought to be made for the amendment of the articles of union, whensoever it shall seem necessary.

18. Resolved That the Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary Powers within the several States and of the national Government ought to be bound by oath to support the articles of Union.

19. Resolved that the amendments which shall be offered to the confederation by the Convention ought at a proper time or times after the approbation of Congress to be submitted to an assembly or assemblies of representatives, recommended by the several Legislatures, to be expressly chosen by the People to consider and decide thereon.

Resolved that the representation in the second Branch of the Legislature of the United States consist of Two Members from each State, who shall vote per capita.

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