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title:“Jonathan Dayton in the United States Senate”
authors:Jonathan Dayton
date written:1803-11-24

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:22 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Nov. 28, 2023, 4:53 p.m. UTC

Dayton, Jonathan. "Jonathan Dayton in the United States Senate." The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Vol. 3. Ed. Max Farrand. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1911. Print.

Jonathan Dayton in the United States Senate (November 24, 1803)

November 24, 1803.
Mr. Dayton believed it would come to this, that when the question came to be discussed, and the rights of the small States maintained, the large States would threaten us with their power. The same threats had been heard in the old Congress, but they were laughed at, for the votes of the States were equal; they were heard in the Convention, but they were spurned at, for the votes were equal there also; the large States must be cautious here, for in this body, too, the votes are equal. The gentleman had talked of a classification of States as a novelty, but he would ask if that gentleman pretended to be wiser than the Constitution? Look through that instrument from beginning to end, and you will not find an article which is not founded on the presumption of a clashing of interests. Was this fine process instituted for nothing? Was developing the election in particular circumstances in the House of Representatives intended for nothing? Was nothing meant by the provision of the Constitution, that no amendment should ever deprive the States of the equality of votes in this House? Yet, it was that jealous caution which foresaw the necessity of guarding against the encroachments of large States.1 The States, whatever was their relative magnitude, were equal under the old Confederation, and the small States gave up a part of their rights as a compromise for a better form of government and security; but they cautiously preserved their equal rights in the Senate and in the choice of a Chief Magistrate. The same voice that now addresses you made the solemn claim, and declared there was no safety in association unless the small States were protected here. The warning was taken and you find in that part, as in all others, a classification governs every line of the Constitution.

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