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title:“Plan of Government (I) by John Dickinson”
authors:Anonymous
date written:1787-6-18

permanent link
to this version:
https://consource.org/document/plan-of-government-i-by-john-dickinson-1787-6-18/20130122080740/
last updated:Jan. 22, 2013, 8:07 a.m. UTC
retrieved:Oct. 19, 2018, 9:59 p.m. UTC

transcription
citation:
"Plan of Government (I) by John Dickinson." Supplement to Max Farrand's The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787. Ed. James H. Hutson. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987. 84-88. Print.
manuscript
source:
Autograph Document, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Plan of Government (I) by John Dickinson (June 18, 1787)

1. That the Articles of Confederation ought to be revised and amended, so as to render the Government of the United States adequate to the Exigencies the Preservation and the prosperity of the Union.
2. That the Government ought to consist of a Legislature Executive and Judiciary.
3. That the Legislative ought to consist of two Branches.
4. That the Members of the first Branch ought to be chosen by the Legislatures of the several States as at present or as in the Report. That immediately after the first Election they be divided by Lot into seven Classes and numbered one two three four five six and seven that the seats of the Members of the first Class shall be vacated at the End of the first Year, of the second Class at the End of the second Year, and so on continually, to the End that the seventh part of this Branch as nearly as possible may be annually chosen that if any Member dies the person elected in his place shall only serve for the Residue of the Term for which the deceased was elected.
5. That the Members of the second Branch ought to be elected by the People of the several states for a term of 3 Years or as in the Report— that immediately after the second Election they be divided by Lot onto three Classes and numbered one two three— that the seats of the Members of the first Class shall be vacated at the End of the first Year, of the second Class at the End of the second Year, and of the third Class at the End of the third Year, to the End that the third part of this Branch as nearly as possible may be annually chosen— that if any Member dies the person elected in his place shall only serve for the Residue of the Term for which the deceased was elected— that the people of each state shall chuse the Members of this Branch for the first three Years in the following proportion— New Hampshire Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia— That after the first 3 Years the Right of Suffrage in constituting this Branch ought from time to time to be adjusted in proportion to the sums of Money collected in each state and actually paid into the common Treasury within the preceding 3 Years, except the sums arising from Imposts and provided that the Right of suffrage of the state contributing most shall never exceed that of the state contributing least more than the proportion of [—] to one or thus see Margin.1
That every new state on admission into the Union shall have the same Right of Suffrage with the state contributing least, until the next adjustment of the Rights of Suffrage and then the Right of such state to be enlarged if entitled thereto, upon the same principle that determines the Rights of the other states,2 that on the Establishment of part of a state as a new state, the Residue of the Representation previously possessed by the whole, to belong to the State from which the new state shall be separated.
6. That in Addition to the powers vested in Congress by the existing Articles of Confederation, the Legislature of the United States shall be authorized to pass Acts for the Observance of the Laws of Nations for raising a Revenue by levying a Duty or Impost on all Goods or Merchandize of foreign Growth or Manufacture imported into part of the United States by Land or Wa1ter—by Stamps on Paper Vellum or parchment— by Postage on all Letters and packages passing through the general Post Office—for the Regulation of Trade and Commerce as well with foreign Nations as with each other and that all punishments Fines Forfeitures and penalties to be incurred for contravening such Acts concerning Revenue and the Regulation of Trade23
and Commerce shall at present be adjudicated by the Common Law Judiciary of the State in which any Offence contrary to the true Intents and Meaning of such Acts shall be committed or perpetrated with Liberty for the Officers of the United States to commence in the first Instance all suits or prosecutions for that purpose in the superior Common Law Judiciary in such state4 subject nevertheless to an appeal for the Correction of all Error both in Law and Fact in rendering Judgment to the Judiciary of the United States, for which purpose all the Evidence in such suits and prosecutions shall be put into writing and immediately transmitted upon an Appeal, by the state Judiciary to the Judiciary of the United States, and the Appellee shall give sufficient security to the said state Judiciary, for abiding the final Determination that when hereafter5
6
Circumstances shall render it necessary for the public good in the Judgment of the Legislature of the United States, they may transfer the Cognizance of such suits and prosecutions to the Inferior Tribunals of the United States.
7
That the United States shall possess the sole and exclusive Right of emitting Money of any kind, as well as regulating the Alloy and Value of Coin.
8
That all other Objects of the Legislative Authority of the United States ought to be accurately defined.3
That all Laws and Resolves of any states, in any Manner opposing or contravening any Act of the United States made by Virtue and in pursuance of the powers hereby and by the Articles of Confederation vested in them or any Treaties made and ratified under the authority of the United States shall be null and void (then as in the Proposals from N. J.)
9
Provision to be made for determining Contests likely to disturb the public Peace, within any states as well as between states.
Provision to be made for the punishment of officers in the service of the United States.
10
Provision to be made for securing the Benefits of the writ of Habeas Corpus and Trial by Juries in proper Cases, and for preventing Contests between the Authority of the United States and the Authority of Individual states.
That the Legislature of the United States be authorized to elect an Executive to consist of 3 persons, one of them a Resident of the Eastern states, another of the Middle States and the third of the southern states to receive a Stipend one of the first 3 to continue in Office 2 Years, another 4 Years and the third 7 Years. Every person appointed upon such Vacancies and so on afterwards to continue in office 7 Years, but if any such officer dies, the person chosen in his place, shall serve only for the Residue of the Term for which the person deceased was elected to be removable by the Legislature of the United States, if they judge it proper, on application by a Majority of the Executives of the several states. The person appointed at the first Election for 7 Years to be President of the Body, and afterwards the person who shall have been the longest Time in the Executive. [——————] Everyone of them to be responsible for every Act of the Body done in his presence, unless he enters his Dissent in writing in the Books of their proceedings—provision to be made in Case of Death or Absence, especially upon Emergencies of Invasion or Insurrection and for convening the Legislature (then as in the proposals from N. J.)
That the Executive shall have a Right to negative any Legislative Act which shall not afterwards be passed unless by two third parts of each Branch of the Legislature.
The Executive shall never order any Monies to be paid to other purposes than those to which they are expressly appropriated by the Legislature nor out of other Funds than are so appropriated.
11
That the Judiciary be appointed by the first Branch as [suggested?] in the proposal to consist at present of a supreme Tribunal, the Judges of which to be appointed (as in the proposals from N. J.) except that this Judiciary should have authority to determine in the first Instance in Cases touching the Rights of Ambassadors and other foreign Ministers—That when hereafter in the Judgment of the Legislature of the United States Circumstances shall render it necessary for the public good they may appoint inferior Tribunals.
Then from the 14th Resolution inclusive of the Report to the End.
  • 1 In the margin: "That after the first 3 Years the Right of suffrage in constituting this Branch ought from time to time to be fixed in the following Manner Each state shall for every Dwelling house within its limits be bound annually forever to pay to the United States every 3 years the Rights of Suffrage shall be adjusted for the next ensuing 3 Years in proportion to the said Contribution collected within each state without Coercion and of Quotas of other Contributions on Requisition and at the End of [word undecipherable] so collected and actually paid to the United States within the next preceding 3 years provided that the Right of suffrage of the state contributing most shall never exceed that of the state contributing least, more than in the proportion of [—] to one.12
  • 2 Crossed out: "provided that each state shall always have at least one Representative in this Branch."
  • 3 In the margin: "Query: Is Executive to have a Right of Legislation, but without Right of Deliberation or Suffrage in the Legislature. Same Question as to Judiciary."