Wilson: We the People—it is announced in their name, it is clothed with their authority, from whom all power originated and ultimately belong. Magna Charta is the grant of the king. This Constitution is the act of the people and what they have not expressly granted, they have retained.
Does this Constitution provide against an alteration? This was essential to be done2
(vide Article 5th, p. 223).
Compare this Constitution with the Declaration of Independence. No provision for the rights of conscience3
(vide Article 6th, p. 223).
Wilson: A bill of rights not even thought of in the Federal Convention; it was absurd. If we undertake to enumerate and omit any part of the rights of a people, their liberties are abridged or incomplete; and what is not expressly mentioned is taken for granted or ceded.
Whitehill: We the People—this is setting out very artfully.
Objection 4 section of 1st Article to the 6th Article.
Wilson: That is a preposterous idea to suppose that this Constitution, when in operation, will annihilate the state governments; when the principle upon which it is founded, and by which it is to be supported, is the actual and active existence of the state governments.
The Senate can only be chosen by the respective state legislatures. Should the state legislatures be annihilated, this Constitution must fall with them.
4th section, 1st Article: If the Constitution did not make this provision, perhaps the state legislatures might not make any regulations, or if a majority of virtuous members were for this regulation, a minority might secede. Therefore the clause was necessary for self-preservation.
Smilie: This Constitution has fully guarded against licentiousness, but it had gone to the left hand, i.e., in favor of tyranny. It is a complete system of government in itself and not a confederation.
The powers of levying taxes, etc. takes away all power on that head from the state legislatures (8th section, 1 Article, vide the first and last paragraphs). If they have the power of laying and collecting taxes, they leave nothing to the state governments.7
The forms of government may exist after, long after, the liberties of the people are done away. Instance the RomanRepublic when the senatewere but a name – the senate – were hereditary or by the appointment of the prince.8
McKean: There are but 7 governments in the world who have a bill of rights and 5 of these are among the 13 United States. The gentlemen contend that the Constitution will annihilate the state governments, yet they make no objection to the mode of electing the members, but to the time and the alteration, which may be made by Congress. It's proper that Congress should have that power to prevent the undue influence.