Records of the Federal Convention
[1:20; Madison, 29 May]
Resolutions proposed by Mr Randolph in Convention.
1. Resolved that the articles of Confederation ought to be so corrected & enlarged as to accomplish the objects proposed by their institution; namely. "common defence, security of liberty and general welfare."
[1:30; Journal, 30 May]
It was then moved by Mr Randolph and seconded by Mr. G Morris to substitute the following resolution in the place of the first resolution
Resolved that an union of the States, merely foederal, will not accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of confederation, namely "common defence, security of liberty, and general welfare.
It was moved by Mr Butler seconded by Mr Randolph to postpone the consideration of the said resolution in order to take up the following resolution submitted by Mr Randolph namely
Resolved that a national government ought to be established consisting of a supreme legislative, judiciary and executive.
[1:242; Madison, 15 June]
The propositions from N. Jersey moved by Mr. Patterson were in the words following.
1. Resd. that the articles of Confederation ought to be so revised, corrected & enlarged, as to render the federal Constitution adequate to the exigences of Government, & the preservation of the Union.
[4:37; Committee of Detail, IV]
In the draught of a fundamental constitution, two things deserve attention:
1. To insert essential principles only; lest the operations of government should be clogged by rendering those provisions permanent and unalterable, which ought to be accomodated to times and events: and
2. To use simple and precise language, and general propositions, according to the example of the constitutions of the several states.
1. A preamble seems proper. Not for the purpose of designating the ends of government and human polities--This display of theory, howsoever proper in the first formation of state governments, is unfit here; since we are not working on the natural rights of men not yet gathered into society, but upon those rights, modified by society, and interwoven with what we call the rights of states--Nor yet is it proper for the purpose of mutually pledging the faith of the parties for the observance of the articles--This may be done more solemnly at the close of the draught, as in the confederation--But the object of our preamble ought to be briefly to declare, that the present foederal government is insufficient to the general happiness; that the conviction of this fact gave birth to this convention; and that the only effectual mode which they can devise, for curing this insufficiency, is the establishment of a supreme legislative executive and judiciary--Let it be next declared, that the following are the constitution and fundamentals of government for the United States--
[2:565; Committee of Style, 10 Sept.]
We the People of the States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia, do ordain, declare and establish the following Constitution for the Government of Ourselves and our Posterity.
The stile of this Government shall be, "The United States of America."
The Government shall consist of supreme legislative, executive and judicial powers.
[2:590; Committee of Style, 12 Sept.]
We, the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Farrand, Max, ed. The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Rev. ed. 4 vols. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1937.
© 1987 by The University of Chicago