Article 4, Section 2, Clause 1

Document 15

Charles Pinckney, Admission of Missouri, House of Representatives

13 Feb. 1821Annals 37:1129, 1134

Mr. Speaker, there are many reasons which make it incumbent on me not to suffer this question, which I consider the final one on the acceptance or rejection of the constitution of Missouri, and her admission into the Union, to pass without presenting my views on the subject to the House. These reasons are, the importance of the question itself, the great interest the State I represent, in part, has in it, and, not among the least, the frequent calls made upon me in this House, and references in the other, as to the true meaning of the second section of the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States, which it appears, from the Journal of the General Convention that formed the Constitution, I first proposed in that body.

. . . . .

I say it is not, in my judgment, unconstitutional, for the following reasons, in which I mean briefly to answer to the call that has been made upon me: It appears by the Journal of the Convention that formed the Constitution of the United States, that I was the only member of that body that ever submitted the plan of a constitution completely drawn in articles and sections; and this having been done at a very early state of their proceedings, the article on which now so much stress is laid, and on the meaning of which the whole of this question is made to turn, and which is in these words: "the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities in every State," having been made by me, it is supposed I must know, or perfectly recollect, what I meant by it. In answer, I say, that, at the time I drew that constitution, I perfectly knew that there did not then exist such a thing in the Union as a black or colored citizen, nor could I then have conceived it possible such a thing could have ever existed in it; nor, notwithstanding all that has been said on the subject, do I now believe one does exist in it.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 4, Section 2, Clause 1, Document 15
The University of Chicago Press

Annals of Congress. The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States. "History of Congress." 42 vols. Washington, D.C.: Gales & Seaton, 1834--56.

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