Constitutional Convention. Plan of Government1
[Philadelphia, June 18, 1787]
|A||I The Supreme Legislative Power of the United States of America to be vested in two distinct2 bodies of men—the one to be called the Assembly3 the other the senate; who together shall form the Legislature of the United States, with power to pass all laws whatsoever, subject to the negative hereafter mentioned.|
|B||II The Assembly to consist of persons elected by the People to serve for three years.|
|C||III The Senate to consist of persons elected to serve during good behaviour. Their election to be made by Electors chosen for that purpose by the People. In order to this The States to be divided into election districts. On the death removal or resignation of any senator his place to be filled out of the district from which he came.|
|IV The Supreme Executive authority of the United States to be vested in a governor to be elected to serve during good behaviour. His4 election to be made by Electors chosen by electors5 chosen by the people in the election districts aforesaid6 or by electors chosen for that purpose by the respective legislatures—provided that [if] an election be not made within a limit⟨ed⟩ time the President of the Senate shall ⟨–⟩ be the Governor. The Governor7 to have a negative upon8 all laws about to be passed and to have9 the execution of all laws passed—to be the Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces and of the Militia of the United States10—to have the11 direction of war, when authorised or began12—to have with the advice and approbation of the Senate the power of making all treaties—to have the13 appointment of the heads or chief officers of the departments of finance war and foreign affairs—to have the nomination of all other officers (ambassadors to foreign nations included) subject to the approbation or rejection of the Senate—to have the power of pardoning all offences but14 treason, which he shall not pardon without the approbation of the Senate.|
|V On the death resignation or removal of the Governor his authorities to be exercised by the President of the Senate.15|
|K||VI The Senate to16 have the sole power of declaring war—the power of advising and approving all treaties—the power of approving or rejecting all appointments of officers except the heads or chiefs of the departments of finance war17 and foreign affairs.|
|VII The Supreme Judicial authority of the United States18 to be vested in19 twelve20 Judges, to hold their offices21 during good behaviour with adequate and permanent salaries. This Court to have original jurisdiction in all causes22 of capture and an appellative jurisdiction (from the Courts of the several states)23 in all causes24 in which the revenues of the general government or the citizens of foreign nations are concerned.|
|L||VIII The Legislature25 of the United States to have power to institute Courts in each state for the determination of all causes of capture and of all matters relating to their revenues, or in which the citizens of foreign nations are concerned.26|
|IX The Governor Senators and all Officers of the United States to be liable to impeachment for mal and corrupt conduct, and upon conviction to be removed from office and disqualified for holding any place of trust or profit.27 All impeachments to be tried by a Court to consist of the judges of the Supreme Court chief or Senior Judge of the superior Court of law of each state—provided that such judge hold his place during good behaviour and have a permanent salary.28|
|M||X All laws of the29 particular states contrary to the constitution or laws of the United States to be utterly void. And the better to prevent such laws being passed the Governor or President of each state shall be appointed by the general government and shall have a negative upon the laws about to be passed in the state of which he is governor or President.|
|N||XI No state to have any forces land or naval—and the Militia N of all the states to be under the sole and exclusive direction of the United States the officers of which30 to be appointed and commissioned by them.|
ADf, Hamilton Papers, Library of Congress.
1. H included this “Plan of Government” in his speech to the Convention on June 18, 1787. For the point at which he incorporated the “Plan” in his speech, see “Constitutional Convention. Speech on a Plan of Government,” June 18, 1787, notes 16, 19, 21.
Notes on the “Plan” were made by James Madison (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 , 118–20), Robert Yates (Secret Proceedings and Debates, 225–227), and John Lansing, Jr. (Notes of John Lansing description begins Joseph R. Strayer, ed., The Delegate from New York or Proceedings of the Federal Convention of 1787 from the Notes of John Lansing, Jr. (Princeton, 1939). description ends , 119–22). Except for minor differences in punctuation and occasional abbreviations in Lansing’s account, the versions of the “Plan,” as recorded by Madison, Yates, and Lansing, are exactly the same. There are, however, minor differences between H’s draft of his “Plan” and the versions of it by Madison, Yates, and Lansing. Differences in wording between H’s draft and the other versions are indicated in the following notes. Differences in capitalization and punctuation have not been noted. There are also versions of this "Plan" by David Brearley (AD, RG 360, Records of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Papers of David Brearley, National Archives) and William Paterson (AD [photostat], William Paterson Papers, Box 1, Library of Congress). Neither has any information not contained in the document printed above.
For the more complete plan of government which H gave to Madison near the end of the Convention, see “Draft of a Constitution,” September 17, 1787.
2. In Madison, “different.”
3. In Lansing the word “and” is inserted.
4. In Madison and in Lansing, “the.”
5. Madison omits “chosen by electors.”
6. At this point H indicated by an asterisk an insertion of the remainder of this sentence which he wrote at the bottom of the page. This insertion appears in no other version of H’s “Plan.”
7. The other accounts of H’s “Plan” omit the words “The Governor” and give instead the following phrases. Madison: “The authorities & functions of the Executive to be as follows”; Yates: “His authorities and functions to be as follows”; Lansing: “The Authorities and Functions to be as follows.”
8. In Madison, “on.”
9. The words “to have” appear in no other account of the “Plan.”
10. The phrase “to be the Commander in Chief of the land and naval forces and of the Militia of the United States” appears in no other version of the “Plan.”
11. In Lansing and in Yates the word “entire” is inserted at this point.
12. In Madison and in Yates “begun.”
13. In Madison, Yates, and Lansing the word “sole” is added at this point.
14. In Madison, Yates, and Lansing, “except.”
15. Madison, Yates, and Lansing add the phrase “till a successor be appointed.”
16. In Lansing “to” is omitted.
17. Lansing omits “war.”
18. Madison omits “of the United States.”
19. At this point H wrote and crossed out the words “not less than six nor more than.”
20. In Madison, Yates, and Lansing there is a blank space instead of the number twelve.
21. In Lansing, “office.”
22. In Lansing, “cases.”
23. The part which H enclosed in parentheses does not appear in Madison, Yates, or Lansing.
24. In Lansing, “cases.”
25. In Lansing, “legislatures.”
26. Except for the variation noted in note 25 this paragraph is given in Madison, Yates, and Lansing as follows: “The Legislature of the United States to have power to institute Courts in each State for the determination of all matters of general concern.”
27. At this point H wrote and crossed out the following words: “The Governor to be impeachable by consent of the national legislature or by the legislative bodies of any states. The Senators and all officers by either branch of the national legislature or by the legislative bodies of any states.”
28. The versions of the last sentence of this section which appear in Madison, Yates, and Lansing are as follows. Madison: “All impeachments to be tried by a Court to consist of the Chief or Judge of the superior Court of Law of each State, provided such Judge shall hold his place during good behavior, and have a permanent salary.” Yates: “All impeachments to be tried by a court to consist of the chief, or senior judge of the superior court of law in each state; provided, that such judge hold his place during good behaviour, and have a permanent salary.” Lansing: “All Impeachments to be tried by a Court to consist of the chief or senior Judge of the superior Court of Law of each State—provided that such Judge shall hold his Place during good Behaviour and have a permanent Salary.”
At this point H wrote and crossed out the following words: “After removal from office either of the foregoing characters may be prosecuted in the ordinary course of law for any crime committed while in office.” Above “the foregoing characters” H wrote and crossed out “The Governor.”
29. The word “the” is omitted in Lansing.
30. In Yates’s version the word “are” appears at this point.