Alexander Hamilton Papers

New York Ratifying Convention. Third Speech of July 19, [19 July 1788]

New York Ratifying Convention. Third Speech of July 191

[Poughkeepsie, New York, July 19, 1788]

Ham[ilton]—opposed to the leading idea of this clause2—it tends to render the Militia of no service—in swi[tzerland] & england—there must be select corps—the whole people can never be fully trained if we agree to this, you oblidge the gov[ernmen]t to have a standing army—does not depend on regulations on paper for safety—but on the Genius of our country—was mistaken as to the clause—objects only to the words “past usages”.3

Gilbert Livingston MS Notes, MS Division, New York Public Library.

2H’s remarks concerned the twelfth proposal of the “Bill of Rights,” which reads as follows:

“That the Militia should always be kept well organized armed & disciplined and include, according to past usages of the States, all the Men capable of bearing Arms and ought not to be subject to martial Law (except in Time of War Invasion or Rebellion) and that in all Cases the Military should be under strict Subordination to the civil power.” (John McKesson Papers, New-York Historical Society, New York City.)

3The Convention refused to accept H’s proposal.

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