Log In Register

Source & Citation Info

title:“Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on June 8, 1789”
date written:1789-6-9

permanent link
to this version:
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:24 a.m. UTC
retrieved:July 14, 2020, 4:05 a.m. UTC

"Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on June 8, 1789." The Daily Advertiser 1789-06-09 : . Rpt. in Creating the Bill of Rights. Ed. Kenneth R. Bowling and Helen E. Veit. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1991. 63-64. Print.
Manuscripts Division, Library of Congress

Newspaper Report of the House of Representatives Debates on June 8, 1789 (June 9, 1789)

Mr. MADISON according to notice, this day moved the house to go into a committee of the whole, in order to take into consideration the subject amendments, in pursuance of the 5th article of the constitution.
This motion was opposed by Mr. JACKSON, Mr. BURKE, &c. on the ground of its being improper to enter on such a subject till the government was perfectly organized and in operation.2 It was contended that the discussion of so important a business would take up so much time as to produce too much delay in the bills already before Congress for the establishment of the judiciary the executive departments, and the revenue system. Mr. JACKSON in particular, argued that an attempt at amendments would be entirely improper before the constitution had been tried, and experience had ascertained its defects. That all investigation now would be merely speculative and theoretical, and that it was no time now to try experiments.
Mr. MADISON replied in a long and able speech, in which he enforced the propriety of entering, at an early period, into the subject of amendments.3 He had no design to propose any alterations which in the view of the most sanguine friends to the constitution could affect its main structure or principles, or do it any possible injury—His object was to quiet the mind of the people by giving them some early assurance of a disposition in the house to provide expressly against all encroachments on their liberties, and against the abuses to which the principles of the constitution were liable.
He then stated a number amendments which he thought should be incorporated in the constitution, and enforced the propriety of each by various explanations and arguments.
The opposition the original motion received, induced him at last to withdraw it in order to propose, that a special committee should be appointed to consider and report what amendments it would be proper to adopt. He afterwards waved this proposition, and offered to the house a resolution comprehending the amendments at large, together with a bill of rights, which he moved might be referred to the committee of the whole, when sitting on the state of the Union. This was carried.

Resource Metadata





  • Unknown