Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Ratifying Convention. Second Speech of June 25, [25 June 1788]

New York Ratifying Convention. Second Speech of June 251

[Poughkeepsie, New York, June 25, 1788]

Mr. Hamilton—The Genl. Intent of the Clause is Suppose what is expressed in the Resolution proposed—

Mr. Hamilton   If that is the opinion of the Committee—there will be no debate on the Question—2

John McKesson MS Notes, New-York Historical Society, New York City.

1There is no record of these statements by H in any of the other accounts of the debates of June 25.

2H’s statements followed these remarks by Samuel Jones:

“Mr. JONES rose, and observed, that it was a fact universally known, that the present Confederation had not proved adequate to the purposes of good government. Whether this arose from the want of powers in the federal head, or from other causes, he would not pretend to determine. Some parts of the proposed plan appeared to him imperfect, or at least not satisfactory. He did not think it right that Congress should have the power of prescribing or altering the time, place, and manner of holding elections. He apprehended that the clause might be so construed as to deprive the states of an essential right, which, in the true design of the Constitution, was to be reserved to them. He therefore wished the clause might be explained, and proposed, for the purpose, the following amendment:

“‘Resolved, as the opinion of this committee, that nothing in the Constitution, now under consideration, shall be construed to authorize the Congress to make or alter any regulations, in any state, respecting the times, places, or manner of holding elections for senators or representatives, unless the legislature of such state shall neglect or refuse to make laws or regulations for the purpose, or, from any circumstance, be incapable of making the same, and then only until the legislature of such state shall make provision in the premises.’” (Elliot, Debates description begins Jonathan Elliot, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Philadelphia, 1836). description ends , II, 325–26.)

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