Article 1, Section 7, Clauses 2 and 3

Document 6

Luther Martin, Genuine Information

1788Storing 2.4.53--54

There were also objections to that part of this section which relates to the negative of the President.--There were some who thought no good reason could be assigned for giving the President a negative of any kind--Upon the principle of a check to the proceedings of the legislature, it was said to be unnecessary; that the two branches having a controul over each others proceedings; and the senate being chosen by the State legislatures, and being composed of members from the different States, there would always be a sufficient guard against measures being hastily or rashly adopted.

That the President was not likely to have more wisdom or integrity than the senators, or any of them, or to better know or consult the interest of the States, than any member of the Senate, so as to be entitled to a negative on that principle--And as to the precedent from the British constitution (for we were eternally troubled with arguments and precedents from the British government) it was said it would not apply. The King of Great-Britain there composed one of the three estates of the kingdom; he was possessed of rights and privileges, as such, distinct from the Lords and Commons; rights and privileges which descended to his heirs, and were inheritable by them; that for the preservation of these it was necessary he should have a negative, but that this was not the case with the President of the United States, who was no more than an officer of government, the sovereignty was not in him, but in the legislature: And it was further urged, even if he was allowed a negative, it ought not to be of so great extent as that given by the system, since his single voice is to countervail the whole of either branch, and any number less than two-thirds of the other; however, a majority of the convention was of a different opinion, and adopted it as it now makes a part of the system.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 2, Article 1, Section 7, Clauses 2 and 3, Document 6
The University of Chicago Press

Storing, Herbert J., ed. The Complete Anti-Federalist. 7 vols. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981.

Easy to print version.