Constitutional Convention. Remarks on
Amending the Constitution
[Philadelphia, September 10, 1787]
Mr. Hamilton 2ded. the motion, but he said with a different view from Mr. Gerry.1 He did not object to the consequence stated by Mr. Gerry. There was no greater evil in subjecting the people of the U.S. to the major voice than the people of a particular State. It had been wished by many and was much to have been desired that an easier mode for introducing amendments had been provided by the articles of Confederation It was equally desireable now that an easy mode should be established for supplying defects which will probably appear in the New System The mode proposed was not adequate. The State Legislatures will not apply for alterations but with a view to increase their own powers. The National Legislature will be the first to perceive and will be the most sensible to the necessity of amendments, and ought also to be empowered, whenever two thirds of each branch should concur to call a Convention. There could be no danger in giving this power, as the people would finally decide in the case.
Hunt and Scott, Debates description begins Gaillard Hunt and James Brown Scott, eds., The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Which Framed the Constitution of the United States of America. Reported by James Madison (New York, 1920). description ends , 539.
1. Elbridge Gerry’s motion recommended a change in the proposed article relating to the amendment of the Constitution. The proposed article stated that “On the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the States in the Union, for an amendment of this Constitution, the Legislature of the U.S. shall call a Convention for that purpose.” In support of his motion Gerry said that the Constitution was “to be paramount to the State Constitutions. It follows, hence, from this article that two thirds of the States may obtain a Convention, a majority of which can bind the Union to innovations that may subvert the State-Constitutions altogether. He asked whether this was a situation proper to be run into” (Hunt and Scott, Debates description begins Gaillard Hunt and James Brown Scott, eds., The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787 Which Framed the Constitution of the United States of America. Reported by James Madison (New York, 1920). description ends , 538–39).