Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15

[Volume 3, Page 174]

Document 5

Records of the Federal Convention

[1:54; Madison, 31 May]

The last clause of Resolution 6. authorizing an exertion of the force of the whole agst. a delinquent State came next into consideration.

Mr. Madison, observed that the more he reflected on the use of force, the more he doubted the practicability, the justice and the efficacy of it when applied to people collectively and not individually.--, A Union of the States containing such an ingredient seemed to provide for its own destruction. The use of force agst. a State, would look more like a declaration of war, than an infliction of punishment, and would probably be considered by the party attacked as a dissolution of all previous compacts by which it might be bound. He hoped that such a system would be framed as might render this recourse unnecessary, and moved that the clause be postponed. This motion was agreed to nem. con.

[1:61; McHenry, 31 May]

And to call forth the force of the union against any member of the union failing to fulfil its duty under the articles thereof.


Mr. E. Gery thought this clause "ought to be expressed so as the people might not understand it to prevent their being alarmed".

This idea rejected on account of its artifice, and because the system without such a declaration gave the government the means to secure itself.

[1:245; Madison, 15 June]

6. . . . that if any State, or any body of men in any State shall oppose or prevent ye. carrying into execution such acts or treaties, the federal Executive shall be authorized to call forth ye power of the Confederated States, or so much thereof as may be necessary to enforce and compel an obedience to such Acts, or an Observance of such Treaties.

[2:382; Journal, 23 Aug.]

It was moved and seconded to strike the following words out of the 18 clause of the 1st section 7 article

"enforce treaties"

which passed in the affirmative

It was moved and seconded to alter the first part of the 18 clause of the 1st section, 7 article to read

"To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws "of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions"

which passed in the affirmative

On the question to agree to the 18th clause of the 1st section, 7 article, as amended

it passed in the affirmative.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 3, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15, Document 5
The University of Chicago Press

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
All rights reserved. Published 2000