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title:“Jasper Yeates' Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention”
date written:1787-12-5

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:46 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Dec. 6, 2023, 8:31 p.m. UTC

"Jasper Yeates' Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 2. Ed. Gaspare J. Saladino and John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 1976. 503-04. Print.
Independence National Park

Jasper Yeates' Notes of the Pennsylvania Ratification Convention (December 5, 1787)

Findley: Montesquieu Lib. 2. cap. 2. The people in whom the supreme power resides ought to have the management of everything within their reach. What exceeds their abilities must be conducted by their ministers (Vattel Lib. 1 fol. 1). The supreme power is placed in the people (Vattel. c. 2. pa. 10. 11).1
States forming a federal republic: The federal head should regulate commerce, but its powers should go no further.2 The powers of legislation will follow taxation. The sovereignty of the state legislatures will be entirely destroyed by the Federal Constitution.3 The general interests of Pennsylvania were not represented in the late Convention. Had I been in the Convention, I would have opposed the shutting of the doors, and would have collected intelligence from the sentiments of my friends.
Sovereignty essentially resides in the people, but they may vest what portion of it they please in state legislatures. I agree that states were made for the people and not the people for the states.
If the constitution of Pennsylvania is wrong, we ought not to adopt for that reason a wrong federal system. Our constitution points out a constitutional mode of altering our systems if found improper.
The state constitution of Virginia expressly directs that the legislative, executive, and judicial departments should be kept separate. So says Montesquieu and reason.
There is no rotation of offices under the present federal system as proposed to us.
Means are not left in each state to support a civil list.
The smaller states have an equal vote in the Senate with the larger states, but this is rather to be lamented than avoided.
There will be no saving of public expense in the different states by adopting the new Constitution.
The people are not sufficiently represented in the House of Representatives. The number is too small for an extended empire.

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