Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (Commerce)

[Volume 2, Page 483]

Document 7

James Madison, Preface to Debates in the

CONVENTION OF 1787Farrand 3:547--48

The want of authy. in Congs. to regulate Commerce had produced in Foreign nations particularly G. B. a monopolizing policy injurious to the trade of the U. S. and destructive to their navigation; the imbecility and anticipated dissolution of the Confederacy extinguishg. all apprehensions of a Countervailing policy on the part of the U. States.

The same want of a general power over Commerce led to an exercise of this power separately, by the States, wch not only proved abortive, but engendered rival, conflicting and angry regulations. Besides the vain attempts to supply their respective treasuries by imposts, which turned their commerce into the neighbouring ports, and to co-erce a relaxation of the British monopoly of the W. Indn. navigation, which was attemted by Virga. the States having ports for foreign commerce, taxed & irritated the adjoining States, trading thro' them, as N. Y. Pena. Virga. & S--Carolina. Some of the States, as Connecticut, taxed imports as from Massts higher than imports even from G. B. of wch Massts. complained to Virga. and doubtless to other States. In sundry instances of as N. Y. N. J. Pa. & Maryd. the navigation laws treated the Citizens of other States as aliens.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 (Commerce), Document 7
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