James Madison Papers

Amendments to the Constitution, [18 August] 1789

Amendments to the Constitution

[18 August 1789]

The last proposition of the select committee read: “The powers not delegated by this Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively.” Tucker moved to insert “expressly” before “delegated.”

Mr. Madison Objected to this amendment, because it was impossible to confine a government to the exercise of express powers. There must necessarily be admitted powers by implication, unless the constitution descended to recount every minutiæ. He remembered the word “expressly” had been moved in the convention of Virginia, by the opponents to the ratification, and after full and fair discussion was given up by them, and the system allowed to retain its present form.

Cong. Register description begins Thomas Lloyd, comp., The Congressional Register; or, History of the Proceedings and Debates of the First House of Representatives … (2 vols.; New York, 1789; Evans 22203–4). description ends , II, 234 (also reported in Gazette of the U.S., 22 Aug. 1789). The Committee of the Whole completed consideration of the select committee’s report on this day. The House then formally took up the propositions and on 24 Aug. adopted seventeen articles of amendment. For the amendments as approved by the House, see Congress of the United States, In the House of Representatives, Monday, 24th August, 1789.… ([New York, 1789]; Evans description begins Charles Evans, ed., American Bibliography … 1639 … 1820 (12 vols.; Chicago, 1903–34). Roger P. Bristol, Supplement to Charles Evans’ American Bibliography (Charlottesville, Va., 1970). description ends 22201). They are reprinted in Dumbauld, Bill of Rights, pp. 213–16.

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