Article 4, Section 4
Records of the Federal Convention
[1:22; Madison, 29 May]
11. Resd. that a Republican Government & the territory of each State, except in the instance of a voluntary junction of Government & territory, ought to be guaranteed by the United States to each State
[1:28; Paterson, 29 May]
2. A Guary. by the United States to each State of its Territory, etc.
[1:121; Madison, 5 June]
The 11. propos: "for guarantying to States Republican Govt. & territory &c," being read, Mr. Patterson wished the point of representation could be decided before this clause should be considered, and moved to postpone it: which was not. opposed, and agreed to: Connecticut & S. Carolina only voting agst. it.
[1:202; Madison, 11 June]
Resol: 11. for guarantying Republican Govt. & territory to each State being considered: the words "or partition" were, on motion of Mr. Madison added, after the words "voluntary junction": Mas. N. Y. P. Va. N. C. S. C. G. ay.
Con: N. J. Del. Md. - - - no.
Mr. Read disliked the idea of guarantying territory. It abetted the idea of distinct States wch. would be a perpetual source of discord. There can be no cure for this evil but in doing away States altogether and uniting them all into one great Society.
Alterations having been made in the Resolution, making it read "that a republican Constitution & its existing laws ought to be guaranteed to each State by the U. States" the whole was agreed to nem. con.
[1:206; Yates, 11 June]
The eleventh resolve was then taken into consideration. Mr. Madison moved to add after the word junctions, the words, or separation.
Mr. Read against the resolve in toto. We must put away state governments, and we will then remove all cause of jealousy. The guarantee will confirm the assumed rights of several states to lands which do belong to the confederation.
Mr. Madison moved an amendment, to add to or alter the resolution as follows: The republican constitutions and the existing laws of each state, to be guaranteed by the United States.[Volume 4, Page 560]
Mr. Randolph was for the present amendment, because a republican government must be the basis of our national union; and no state in it ought to have it in their power to change its government into a monarchy.--Agreed to
[1:227; Journal, 13 June]
Resolved that a republican constitution, and it's existing laws, ought to be guaranteed to each State by the United-States.
[2:47; Madison, 18 July]
Resol. 16. "That a Republican Constitution & its existing laws ought to be guaranteid to each State by the U. States."
Mr. Govr. Morris--thought the Resol: very objectionable. He should be very unwilling that such laws as exist in R. Island should be guaranteid.
Mr. Wilson. The object is merely to secure the States agst. dangerous commotions, insurrections and rebellions.
Col. Mason. If the Genl Govt. should have no right to suppress rebellions agst. particular States, it will be in a bad situation indeed. As Rebellions agst. itself originate in & agst. individual States, it must remain a passive Spectator of its own subversion.
Mr. Randolph. The Resoln. has 2. Objects. 1. to secure Republican Government. 2. to suppress domestic commotions. He urged the necessity of both these provisions.
Mr. Madison moved to substitute "that the Constitutional authority of the States shall be guarantied to them respectively agst. domestic as well as foreign violence."
Docr. McClurg seconded the motion.
Mr. Houston was afraid of perpetuating the existing Constitutions of the States. That of Georgia was a very bad one, and he hoped would be revised & amended. It may also be difficult for the Genl. Govt. to decide between contending parties each of which claim the sanction of the Constitution.
Mr. L. Martin was for leaving the States to suppress Rebellions themselves.
Mr. Ghorum thought it strange that a Rebellion should be known to exist in the Empire, and the Genl. Govt. shd. be restrained from interposing to subdue it, At this rate an enterprising Citizen might erect the standard of Monarchy in a particular State, might gather together partizans from all quarters, might extend his views from State to State, and threaten to establish a tyranny over the whole & the Genl. Govt. be compelled to remain an inactive witness of its own destruction. With regard to different parties in a State; as long as they confine their disputes to words they will be harmless to the Genl. Govt. & to each other. If they appeal to the sword it will then be necessary for the Genl. Govt., however difficult it may be to decide on the merits of their contest, to interpose & put an end to it.
Mr. Carrol. Some such provision is essential. Every State ought to wish for it. It has been doubted whether it is a casus federis at present. And no room ought to be left for such a doubt hereafter.
Mr. Randolph moved to add as amendt. to the motion; "and that no State be at liberty to form any other than a Republican Govt." Mr. Madison seconded the motion
Mr. Rutlidge thought it unnecessary to insert any guarantee. No doubt could be entertained but that Congs. had the authority if they had the means to co-operate with any State in subduing a rebellion. It was & would be involved in the nature of the thing.
Mr. Wilson moved as a better expression of the idea, "that a Republican form of Governmt. shall be guarantied to each State & that each State shall be protected agst. foreign & domestic violence.
[2:133, 137, 144, 148, 174; Committee of Detail]
Resolved That a Republican Form of Government shall be guarantied to each State; and that each State shall be protected against foreign and domestic Violence.
. . . . .
25 The said States of N. H. &c guarantee mutually each other and their Rights against all other Powers and against all Rebellions &c.
. . . . .
12. make Laws for calling forth the Aid of the militia, to execute the Laws of the Union to repel Invasion to inforce Treaties suppress internal Comns. . . .
14. To subdue a rebellion in any particular state, on the application of the legislature thereof.
. . . . .
2. The guarantee is
1. to prevent the establishment of any government, not republican
3. to protect each state against internal commotion: and
2. against external invasion.
4. But this guarantee shall not operate in the last Case without an application from the legislature of a state.
. . . . .
The United States shall guaranty to each State a Republican form of Government; and shall protect each State against foreign Invasions, and, on the Application of its Legislature, against domestic Violence.
[2:182, 188; Madison, 6 Aug.]
To subdue a rebellion in any State, on the application of its legislature;
To make war;
To raise armies;
To build and equip fleets;
To call forth the aid of the militia, in order to execute the laws of the Union, enforce treaties, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
. . . . .
The United States shall guaranty to each State a Republican form of Government; and shall protect each State against foreign invasions, and, on the application of its Legislature, against domestic violence.[Volume 4, Page 561]
[2:316; Madison, 17 Aug.]
"To subdue a rebellion in any State, on the application of its legislature"
Mr. Pinkney moved to strike out "on the application of its legislature"
Mr Govr. Morris 2ds.
Mr L-- Martin opposed it as giving a dangerous & unnecessary power. The consent of the State ought to precede the introduction of any extraneous force whatever.
Mr. Mercer supported the opposition of Mr. Martin.
Mr Elseworth proposed to add after "legislature" "or Executive".
Mr Govr Morris. The Executive may possibly be at the head of the Rebellion. The Genl Govt. should enforce obedience in all cases where it may be necessary.
Mr. Ellsworth. In many cases The Genl. Govt. ought not to be able to interpose unless called upon. He was willing to vary his motion so as to read, "or without it when the legislature cannot meet."
Mr. Gerry was agst. letting loose the myrmidons of the U. States on a State without its own consent. The States will be the best Judges in such cases. More blood would have been spilt in Massts in the late insurrection, if the Genl. authority had intermeddled.
Mr. Langdon was for striking out as moved by Mr. Pinkney. The apprehension of the national force, will have a salutary effect in preventing insurrections.
Mr Randolph--If the Natl. Legislature is to judge whether the State legislature can or cannot meet, that amendment would make the clause as objectionable as the motion of Mr Pinkney.
Mr. Govr. Morris. We are acting a very strange part. We first form a strong man to protect us, and at the same time wish to tie his hands behind him, The legislature may surely be trusted with such a power to preserve the public tranquillity.
On the motion to add "or without it (application) when the legislature cannot meet"
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct ay. Pa. divd. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N--C. divd. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--5; noes--3; divided--2.] so agreed to--
Mr. Madison and Mr. Dickenson moved to insert as explanatory, after "State"--"against the Government thereof" There might be a rebellion agst the U-- States.--which was Agreed to nem-- con.
[2:466; Madison, 30 Aug.]
Art: XVIII being taken up,--the word "foreign" was struck out. nem: con: as superfluous, being implied in the term "invasion"
Mr. Dickinson moved to strike out "on the application of its Legislature against" He thought it of essential importance to the tranquillity of the U--S. that they should in all cases suppress domestic violence, which may proceed from the State Legislature itself, or from disputes between the two branches where such exist
Mr. Dayton mentioned the Conduct of Rho. Island as shewing the necessity of giving latitude to the power of the U--S. on this subject.
On the question
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay--Md. no. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo--no [Ayes--3; noes--8.]
On a question for striking out "domestic violence" and insertg. "insurrections"--it passed in the negative. N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. N. J. ay. Pa. no Del no. Md. no. Va. ay. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay [Ayes--5; noes--6.]
Mr. Dickinson moved to insert the words, "or Executive" after the words "application of its Legislature"--The occasion itself he remarked might hinder the Legislature from meeting.
On this question
N. H. ay. Mas. no. Ct. ay. N. J. ay. Pa. ay. Del. ay. Md divd. Va. no. N. C. ay. S. C. ay. Geo. ay. [Ayes--8; noes--2; divided--1.]
Mr. L--Martin moved to subjoin to the last amendment the words "in the recess of the Legislature" On which question
N. H. no. Mas. no. Ct. no. Pa. no. Del. no. Md. ay. Va. no. N. C. no. S. C. no. Geo--no. [Ayes--1; noes--9.]
On Question on the last clause as amended
N. H. ay. Mas--ay. Ct. ay--N. J. ay--Pa. ay. Del. no. Md. no. Va. ay. N--C-- ay--S--C. ay. Geo--ay, [Ayes--9; noes--2.]
[2:578, 602; Committee of Style]
The United States shall guaranty to each State a Republican form of government; and shall protect each State against invasions, and, on the application of its Legislature or Executive, against domestic violence.
. . . . .
Sect. 4. The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature or executive, against domestic violence.
The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 4, Section 4, Document 3
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.