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title:“Abraham Baldwin in the House of Representatives”
authors:Abraham Baldwin
date written:1796-3-14

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:25 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Oct. 2, 2022, 8:08 p.m. UTC

Baldwin, Abraham. "Abraham Baldwin in the House of Representatives." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

Abraham Baldwin in the House of Representatives (March 14, 1796)

March 14, 1796.
He would begin it by the assertion, that those few words in the Constitution on this subject,1 were not those apt, precise, definite expressions, which irresistibly brought upon them the meaning which he had been above considering. He said it was not to disparage the instrument, to say that it had not definitely, and with precision, absolutely settled everything on which it had spoke. He had sufficient evidence to satisfy his own mind that it was not supposed by the makers of it at the time, but that some subjects were left a little ambiguous and uncertain. It was a great thing to get so many difficult subjects definitely settled at once. If they could all be agreed in, it would compact the Government. The few that were left a little unsettled might, without any great risk, be settled by practice or by amendments in the progress of the Government. He believed this subject of the rival powers of legislation and Treaty was one of them; the subject of the Militia was another, and some question respecting the Judiciary another. When he reflected on the immense difficulties and dangers of that trying occasion — the old Government prostrated, and a chance whether a new one could be agreed in — the recollection recalled to him nothing but the most joyful sensations that so many things had been so well settled, and that experience had shown there was very little difficulty or danger in settling the rest.
[Footnotes as included or written by Farrand]
  • 1 Power of making treaties vested in the President and Senate, and that treaties were to be "the supreme law of the land."<1/li>
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