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documents:answers:states_control-convention [2020/02/19 03:43]
Oliver Wolcott
documents:answers:states_control-convention [2020/02/19 03:50] (current)
Oliver Wolcott
Line 39: Line 39:
 Historical research shows that the Founders held at least 32 multi-state conventions in the period leading up to the adoption of the Constitution,​ 11 of which were held in the decade between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention (([[http://​www.floridalawreview.com/​wp-content/​uploads/​5-Natelson.pdf#​page=6|Natelson,​ at 620.]] )). Clearly, the Founders were no strangers to conventions. Indeed, the frequency of these pre-constitutional conventions may explain the brevity of Article V ((As Professor Natelson observes, “where the Constitution does provide rules it does so precisely in those few areas where existing practice had permitted variations.” Id. at 682.)). Historical research shows that the Founders held at least 32 multi-state conventions in the period leading up to the adoption of the Constitution,​ 11 of which were held in the decade between the Declaration of Independence and the Constitutional Convention (([[http://​www.floridalawreview.com/​wp-content/​uploads/​5-Natelson.pdf#​page=6|Natelson,​ at 620.]] )). Clearly, the Founders were no strangers to conventions. Indeed, the frequency of these pre-constitutional conventions may explain the brevity of Article V ((As Professor Natelson observes, “where the Constitution does provide rules it does so precisely in those few areas where existing practice had permitted variations.” Id. at 682.)).
  
-Rules and procedures at these pre-constitutional conventions were surprisingly uniform. The conventions themselves elected their own officers and set their own rules subject always to the instructions issued by their state legislatures ​**Id. at [[http://​www.floridalawreview.com/​wp-content/​uploads/​5-Natelson.pdf#​page=72|686–90]].)). Voting at these conventions was uniformly on the basis of one state, one vote ((See generally id.)). The indication of all existing precedent is that the states, not Congress, will exert ultimate authority over any Article V convention.+Rules and procedures at these pre-constitutional conventions were surprisingly uniform. The conventions themselves elected their own officers and set their own rules subject always to the instructions issued by their state legislatures ​((Id. at [[http://​www.floridalawreview.com/​wp-content/​uploads/​5-Natelson.pdf#​page=72|686–90]].)). Voting at these conventions was uniformly on the basis of one state, one vote ((See generally id.)). The indication of all existing precedent is that the states, not Congress, will exert ultimate authority over any Article V convention.
  
 Completely apart from these historical conventions,​ there is one critical piece of evidence that cements the states’ control over a convention: the intent of the Founders as evidenced by the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention itself. James Madison gives a full account of the proceedings leading to the final draft of Article V in his notes from the Convention. According to these notes, George Mason strenuously objected to a proposal that only gave Congress authority to propose amendments. As Madison records, “Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable and dangerous. As the proposing of amendment is . . . to depend . . . on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the government should become oppressive as he verily believed it would.” Responding to Mason’s concerns, Gouverneur Morris and Elbridge Gerry “moved to amend the article, so as to require a convention on application of two thirds of the states.” The motion passed unanimously ((2 FARRAND’S RECORDS 629–30.)). Completely apart from these historical conventions,​ there is one critical piece of evidence that cements the states’ control over a convention: the intent of the Founders as evidenced by the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention itself. James Madison gives a full account of the proceedings leading to the final draft of Article V in his notes from the Convention. According to these notes, George Mason strenuously objected to a proposal that only gave Congress authority to propose amendments. As Madison records, “Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitution exceptionable and dangerous. As the proposing of amendment is . . . to depend . . . on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the government should become oppressive as he verily believed it would.” Responding to Mason’s concerns, Gouverneur Morris and Elbridge Gerry “moved to amend the article, so as to require a convention on application of two thirds of the states.” The motion passed unanimously ((2 FARRAND’S RECORDS 629–30.)).
documents/answers/states_control-convention.txt · Last modified: 2020/02/19 03:50 by Oliver Wolcott