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title:“NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 20, 1788) - Poughkeepsie County Journal”
date written:1788-6-24

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last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:47 a.m. UTC
retrieved:March 29, 2023, 7:36 a.m. UTC

"NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 20, 1788) - Poughkeepsie County Journal." The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. Vol. 22. Ed. John P. Kaminski. Madison: Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2008. 1740-41. Print.

NY Ratification Convention Debates (June 20, 1788) - Poughkeepsie County Journal (June 24, 1788)

. . . The 2d section of the 1st article of the Constitution, gave rise to a very long and interesting debate.—Mr. M. Smith and Mr. Lansing, were the principal speakers in oposition to the paragraph, and Mr. Hamilton in its defence.—1It is not to be expected that we can give our readers the arguments in detail that were used; we can only say that it was attacked on the one side, with much spirit and ingenuity, and advocated on the other, with equal ability and address. On one side it was contended, that the mode of apportionment of the number of representatives in each state by including three fifths of the negroes, was both unequal and unjust—2that the number of representatives was too small to be safe, and that we had not sufficient security that the number would ever be encreased.
On the other hand it was inforced, that including three fifths of the negroes in the apportionment of the number of representatives, was the result of accommodation with the southern States—that an union with them was never to be expected on any other terms, and that as the negroes were equally considered when taxes were to be assessed, the southern States felt the burden as well as the advantage of them, and that the mode was not therefore partial or unjust.—3It was contended also, that the paragraph clearly contemplated a gradual increase in proportion to the population of the country—that the design of the census was for that purpose—that the interest of the majority of the national legislature would lead them to make the requisite increase, and that the total number as it now stands under our present circumstances, and as it would be in a very short time from our rapid increase, would be sufficiently numerous for all the purposes of a good government, and at the same time entirely safe to the liberties of the people.
The debates on this paragraph continued through the course of the week.

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