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which it was given in the reported draft prepared by the committee of detail was reached, it was stricken out by a very large vote of the States. In this vote there was a concurrence of very opposite purposes on the part of the different States composing the majority. New Jersey, Delaware, and Maryland, for example, feeling secure of their equality in the Senate, were not unwilling to allow theoretical objections to prevail, against the restriction of money bills to the branch in which they would necessarily be outnumbered. On the other hand, some of the delegates of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and South Carolina, still unwilling to acquiesce in the equality of representation in the Senate, may have hoped to unhinge the whole compromise. There was still a third party among the members, who insisted on maintaining the compromise in all its integrity, and who considered that the nature of the represention in the Senate, conceded to the wishes of the smaller States, rendered it eminently fit that the House alone should have the exclusive power to originate money bills.2
This party finally prevailed. They rested their
1 August 8. For striking out, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, ay, 7; New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, North Carolina, no, 4.
2 Dr. Franklin, Mason, Williamson, and Randolph (Elliot, V. 395-397.) It would be endless to cite the observations of different
members, to show the purposes
first efforts chiefly upon the fact that the Senate was to represent the States in their political character. Although it might be proper to give such a body a negative upon the appropriations to be made by the representatives of the people, it was not proper that it should tax the people. They first procured a reconsideration of the vote which had stricken out this part of the compromise. They then proposed, in order to avoid an alleged ambiguity, that bills for raising money for the purpose of revenue, or appropriating money, should originate in the House, and should not be so amended or altered in the Senate as to increase or diminish the sum to be raised, or change the mode of levying it, or the object of its appropriation.1 An earnest and somewhat excited debate followed this proposition, but it was lost.2
In a day or two, however, another effort was made, conceding to the Senate the power to amend, as in other cases, but confining the right to the House of originating bills for raising money for the purpose of revenue, or for appropriating the same, and for fixing the salaries of officers of the government.3
This new proposition was postponed for a long time, until it became necessary to refer several topics not finally acted upon to a committee of one
1 Moved by Randolph, August forward as an amendment to the Elliot, V. 414. article (Art. VI. § 12) which was
to define the powers of the two houses.
2 Ibid. 420
3 Moved by Mr. Strong, August
15. Ibid. 427. This was brought
member from each State.1 Among these subjects there was one that gave rise to protracted conflicts of opinion, which will be examined hereafter. It related to the mode of choosing the executive. In the plan reported by the committee of detail, pursuant to the instructions of the Convention, the executive was to be chosen by the national legislature, for a period of seven years, and was to be ineligible a second time. Great efforts were subsequently made to change both the mode of appointment and the tenure of the office, and the whole subject was finally referred with others to a committee. In this committee, a new compromise, which has attracted but little attention, embraced the long-contested point concerning the origin of money bills. In this compromise, as in so many of the others on which the Constitution was founded, two influences are to be traced. There were in the first place what may be called the merits of a proposition, without regard to its bearing on the interests of particular States; and in the second place there were the local or State interests, which entered into the treatment of every question by which they could be affected. In studying the compromises of the Constitution, it is constantly necessary to observe, how the arrangement finally made was arrived at by the concurrence of votes given from these various motives.
It was now proposed in the new committee, that the executive should be chosen by electors, appointed 1 August 31. Elliot, V. 503.
by each State in such manner as its legislature might direct, each State to have a number of electors equal to the whole number of its senators and representatives in Congress; that the person having the greatest number of votes, provided it were a majority of the electors, should be declared elected; that if there should be more than one having such a majority, the Senate should immediately choose one of them by ballot; and that if no person had a majority, the Senate should immediately choose by ballot from the five highest candidates on the list returned by the electors. This plan of vesting the election in the Senate, in case there should be no choice by the electors, was eagerly embraced by the smaller States, because it was calculated to restore to them the equilibrium which they would lose in the primary election, by the preponderance of votes held by the larger States. At the same time, it gave to the larger States great influence in bringing forward the candidates, from whom the ultimate choice must be made, when no choice had been effected by the electors; and it put it in their power, by a combination of their interests against those of the smaller States, to choose their candidate at the first election. To this great influence, many members from the larger States desired, naturally, to add the privilege of confining the origin of revenue bills to the House of Representatives. They found in the committee some members from the smaller States willing to concede this privilege, as the price of an ultimate election of the executive by the Senate, and of other
arrangements which tended to elevate the tone of the government, by increasing the power and influence of the Senate. They found others also who approved of it upon principle. The compromise was accordingly effected in the committee, and in this attitude the question concerning revenue bills again came before the Convention.'
But there, a scheme that seemed likely to elevate the Senate into a powerful oligarchy, and that would certainly put it in the power of seven States, not containing a third of the people, to elect the executive, when there failed to be a choice by the electors, met with strenuous resistance. For these and other reasons, not necessary to be recounted here, the ultimate choice of the executive was transferred from the Senate to the House of Representatives.2 This change, if coupled with the concession of revenue bills to the House, without the right to amend in the Senate, would have thrown a large balance of power into the former assembly; and in order to prevent this inequality, a provision was made, in the words used in the Constitution of Massachusetts, that the Senate might propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills. With this addition, the restriction of the origin of bills for raising revenue to the House of Representatives finally passed, with but two dissentient votes.3
1 Elliot, V. 506, 510, 511, 514.. The privilege, as it came from this committee, was confined to "bills for raising revenue"; and these were made subject to "alterations and amendments by the Senate."
2 Ibid. 519.
3 The history of this provision shows clearly that a bill for appropriating money may originate in the Senate.