Article 6, Clause 2

[Volume 4, Page 597]

Document 6

Charles Pinckney, Observations on the Plan of Government

1787Farrand 3:119

In every Confederacy of States, formed for their general benefit and security, there ought to be a power to oblige the parties to furnish their respective quotas without the possibility of neglect or evasion;--there is no such clause in the present Confederation, and it is therefore without this indispensable security. Experience justifies me in asserting that we may detail as minutely as we can, the duties of the States, but unless they are assured that these duties will be required and enforced, the details will be regarded as nugatory. No Government has more severely felt the want of a coercive Power than the United States; for want of it the principles of the Confederation have been neglected with impunity in the hour of the most pressing necessity, and at the imminent hazard of its existence: Nor are we to expect they will be more attentive in future. Unless there is a compelling principle in the Confederacy, there must be an injustice in its tendency; It will expose an unequal proportion of the strength and resources of some of the States, to the hazard of war in defence of the rest--the first principles of Justice direct that this danger should be provided against--many of the States have certainly shewn a disposition to evade a performance of their Federal Duties, and throw the burden of Government upon their neighbors. It is against this shameful evasion in the delinquent, this forced assumption in the more attentive, I wish to provide, and they ought to be guarded against by every means in our power. Unless this power of coercion is infused, and exercised when necessary, the States will most assuredly neglect their duties. The consequence is either a dissolution of the Union, or an unreasonable sacrifice by those who are disposed to support and maintain it.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 6, Clause 2, Document 6
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.