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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

A. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 17 September-6 October 1787,   pp. 130-172

Page 170

sarily precludes every idea of influence and superiority. But I will
confess that in the organization of this body, a compromise between
contending interests is discernible; and when we reflect how various
are the laws, commerce, habits, population, and extent of the con-
federated states, this evidence of mutual concession and accommoda-
tion ought rather to command a generous applause, than to excite
jealousy and reproach. For my part, my admiration can only be
equalled by my astonishment, in beholding so perfect a system, formed
from such heterogeneous materials.
The next accusation I shall consider is that which represents the
Federal Constitution as not only calculated, but designedly framed,
to reduce the state governments to mere corporations, and eventually
to annihilate them. Those who have employed the term corporation
upon this occasion are not perhaps aware of its extent. In common
parlance, indeed, it is generally applied to petty associations for the
ease and conveniency of a few individuals; but in its enlarged sense,
it will comprehend the government of Pennsylvania, the existing union
of the states, and even this projected system is nothing more than a
formal act of incorporation. But upon what pretense can it be alleged
that it was designed to annihilate the state governments? For, I will
undertake to prove that upon their existence, depends the existence
of the federal plan. For this purpose, permit me to call your atten-
tion to the manner in which the President, Senate, and House of
Representatives are proposed to be appointed. The President is to
be chosen by Electors nominated in such manner as the legislature
of each state may direct; so that if there is no legislature, there can
be no Electors, and consequently the office of President cannot be
supplied. The Senate is to be composed of two Senators from each
state chosen by the legislature; and therefore if there is no legislature,
there can be no Senate. The House of Representatives is to be com-
posed of members chosen every second year by the people of the
several states, and the electors in each state shall have the qualifica-
tions requisite for electors of the most numerous branch of the state
legislature. Unless, therefore, there is a state legislature, that quali-
fication cannot be ascertained, and the popular branch of the Federal
Constitution must likewise be extinct. From this view, then it is
evidently absurd to suppose, that the annihilation of the separate
governments will result from their union; or, that having that inten-
tion, the authors of the new system would have bound their con-
nection with such indissoluble ties. Let me here advert to an arrange-
ment highly advantageous, for you will perceive, without prejudice
to the powers of the legislature in the election of Senators, the people
at large will acquire an additional privilege in returning members
to the House of Representatives-whereas, by the present Confedera-

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