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ment which the friends of an election by the people were aiming to establish. From that discussion it appears that the idea was already entertained of forming a government that should have a vigorous authority derived directly from the people of the States, -one that should possess both the force and the sense of the people at large. For the formation of such a government one of two courses was necessary either to abolish the State governments altogether; or to leave them in existence, and to regard the people of each State as competent to withdraw from their local governments such portions of their political power as thev might see fit to bestow upon a national government. The latter plan was undoubtedly a novelty in political science; for no system of government had yet been constructed in which the individual stood in the relation of subject to two distinct sovereignties, each possessed of a distinct sphere, and each supreme in its own sphere. But if the American doctrine were true, that all supreme power resides originally in the people, and that all governments are constituted by them as the agents and depositaries of that power, there could be no incompatibility in such a system. The people who had deposited with a State government the sovereign power of their community, could withdraw it at their pleasure; and as they could withdraw the whole, they could withdraw a part of it. If a part only were withdrawn, or rather, if the supreme power in relation to particular objects were to be taken from the State governments, and vested
in another class of agents, leaving the authority of the former undiminished except as to those particular objects, the individual might owe a double allegiance, but there could be no confusion of his duties, provided the powers withdrawn and revested were clearly defined.
The advocates of a national government, besides and beyond the intrusting of a particular jurisdiction to that government, wished to make it certain that its legislative power, in each act of legislation, should rest on the direct authority of the people. For this purpose they desired to avoid all agency of the State governments in the appointment of the members of the national legislature. They held this to be necessary for two reasons. In the first place, they said that in a national government the people must be represented; and that in a republican system the real constituent should act directly, and without any intermediate agency, in the appointment of the representative. In the second place, they deduced from the objects of a national government the necessity for excluding the agency of the State governments in the appointment of those who were to exercise its legislative power. Those objects, they contended, were not fully stated by their opponents. The latter generally regarded the objects of the Union as confined to defence against foreign danger and internal disorder; the power to make binding treaties with foreign countries; the regulation of commerce, and the power to derive
revenues therefrom. The former insisted that another great object must be, to provide more effectually for the security of private rights, and the steady dispensation of justice. Mr. Madison declared that republican liberty could not long exist under the abuses of it which had been practised in some of the States, where the uncontrollable power of a majority had enabled debtors to elude their creditors, the holders of one species of property to oppress the holders of another species, and where paper money had become a stupendous fraud. These evils had made it manifest that the power of the State governments, even in relation to some matters of internal legislation, must be to some extent restrained; and in order effectually to restrain it, the national government must, in the construction of its departments, as well as in its powers, be derived directly from the people.2
These views again prevailed as to the first branch, and Mr. Pinckney's proposition for electing that branch by the State legislatures was negatived by a vote of three States in the affirmative, and eight in the negative.3
But as soon as the impracticability of abolishing the State governments was seen and admitted, and it was at once both seen and admitted by some
1 See Mr. Sherman's remarks, made in committee, June 6; Madison, Elliot, V. 161.
2 See Mr. Madison's views, as stated in his debates, Elliot, V. 161.
3 Connecticut, New Jersey, South Carolina, ay, 3; Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, no, 8.
of the strongest advocates for a national government, — it became apparent to a large part of the assembly, that to exclude those governments from all agency in the election of both branches of the national legislature would be inexpedient. It would obviously have been theoretically correct to have given the election of both the Senate and the House to the people of the States, especially when it was intended to adhere to the principle of a proportionate representation of the people of the States in both branches.' But the necessity for providing some means by which the States, as States, might defend themselves against encroachments of the national government, made it apparent that they must become, in the election, a constituent part of the system. No mode of doing this presented itself, except to give the State legislatures the appointment of the less numerous branch of the national legislature, - a provision which was finally adopted in the committee by the unanimous vote of the States.2 The results thus reached had settled for the present the very important fact, that the people of the States were to be represented in both branches of the legislature; that for the one they were to elect their representatives directly, and for the other they were to be elected by the legislature of the State.
But when it had been ascertained by whom the members of the two branches were to be elected,
1 Mr. Wilson was in favor of 2 Madison, Elliot, V. 170. this plan, and Mr. Madison seems to have favored it.
there remained to be determined the decisive question, which was to mark still more effectively the distinction between a purely national and a purely federal government, namely, the rule of suffrage, or the ratio of representation in the national legisla
The rule of suffrage adopted in the first Continental Congress was, as we have seen, the result of necessity; for it was impossible to ascertain the relative importance of each Colony; and, moreover, that Congress was in fact an assembly of committees of the different Colonies, called together to deliberate in what mode they could aid each other in obtaining a redress of their several grievances from Parliament and the Crown. But while, from the necessity of the case, they assigned to each Colony one vote in the Congress, they looked forward to the time when the relative wealth or population of the Colonies must regulate their suffrage in any future system of continental legislation. The character of the government formed by the Articles of Confederation had operated to postpone the arrival of this period; because it was in the very nature of that system that each State should have an equal voice with every other. This system was the result of the formation of the State governments, each of which had become the present depositary of the political powers of an independent people.
But if this system were to be changed, if the