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title:“Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates”
authors:Gilbert Livingston
date written:1788-6-24

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 7:59 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 27, 2023, 10:13 p.m. UTC

Livingston, Gilbert. "Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 22. Ed. John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008. 1839-41. Print.
Gilbert Livingston, Notes, New York Public Library, New York City

Gilbert Livingston's Notes of the New York Ratification Convention Debates (June 24, 1788)

G. LIVINGSTON. Article I. § 3 & Arte. II § 1— this Article provides and directs the Choice of senators the time they remain in Office, but does not provide against their being reelected—What I shall say on this subject, will equally apply to Arte. II. § 1 which provides in like manner for the choice of the president— Objectn. 1. Neither president or senators ought to be beyond the reach of the laws & government which they may pass or establish for others-or be in a situation which may possibly give them or either of them this Idea— 1 no provision but that president or senators may be reelected— 2. their elevated situation will enable them to form so strong a bond of Interest, that they will be almost Morally certain of a reelec tion— [Objection] 2 In all government where traits of Republicanism are to be found-the Administrators of the government ought at certain periods to return to the common level of private citizens—1 1 the amendment below hinted at will secure this— 2 under this constitution this provision will be more Necessary than in any other perhaps in the world— 3 the vast extent of territory over which this government will ex tend will inevitably throw a great part of it beyond the reach of the immediate Attention of those whose ears ought ever to be open, to the wants of the people— 4 the permanancy in office of president & senators (for should this consn. take place I look upon their offices nearly similar to establish ment for life) will [seem?] to stamp this Idea on their Minds—that they are formed for governing, that residue of the inhabitants, made to be governed— 5 their Interest will be totally as different, as their employments the people must earn and pay they receive and enjoy—they give rule—the people submit [Objection] 3 This was not the government we contended for in our late strugle—wherein we put all at stake— 1 We even dared to resist perhaps the first nation in the world— 2 we had confidence that our cause was the Cause of truth—there fore we boldly interceeded heaven for a blessing-the ears of the al mighty were open to us-& gave us victory— 3 We may all remember the cowardly reasons which were then urged,—what resist such force?—impossible! 4 I trust sir that all the spirit of 76 & 77-has not yet fled our Country—& I further trust that tho some of our neighbouring states have hastily adopted this Constitution-Yet that when they take time to reflect on the state of abject slavery they will be brought into by establishing this govt. as it now stands—they (that is the bulk of the people) will rejoice at the stand which I trust this state will make, against the overflowing stream— 5-Was it for such a Government as this, that Many of Columbias best sons Made the sacrifice of their Lives? No, sir—it was for a Govt. of equal liberty

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