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Legislative History of Article the first
of the Federal Bill of Rights

Supplemental Information for:
The Minimum and Maximum Size of the U. S. House of Representatives
Per the Constitution
and pursuant to all three versions
of the proposed “Article the first”
 

Updated: June 28, 2007

This section provides verbatim excerpts from the 1789 Congressional debates on the Bill of Rights only as they relate to Article the first. Some additional information is provided to indicate the amendments’ progress through Congress over time.

The deliberations on Article the first occurred in conjunction with an overarching debate regarding the need for a Bill of Rights as well as extensive debates regarding the numerous other amendments proposed therefor — these important collateral discussions are not included herein.

Links are provided below to the online resources from which these accounts are drawn; these resources are provided primarily by the Library of Congress (e.g., the Annals of Congress). These should be referenced to gain a full understanding of the discussions not only about the Bill of Rights, but also to appreciate the numerous other legislative matters that Congress was deliberating on at the same time.
 

Monday, June 8, 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 451]
Mr. Madison: Secondly, That in article 1st, section 2, clause 3, these words be struck out, to wit: “The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made;” and that in place thereof be inserted these words, to wit: “After the first actual enumeration, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number amounts to _________ , after which the proportion shall be so regulated by congress, that the number shall never be less than _________ , nor more than __________ , but each State shall after the first enumeration, have at least two Representatives; and prior thereto.”

[Page 457]
Mr. Madison: In the next place, I wish to see that part of the constitution revised which declares that the number of Representatives shall not exceed the proportion of one for every thirty thousand persons, and allows one Representative to every State which rates below that proportion. If we attend to the discussion of this subject, which has taken place in the State conventions, and even in the opinion of the friends to the constitution, an alteration here is proper. It is the sense of the people of America, that the number of Representatives ought to be increased, but particularly that it should not be left in the discretion of the Government to diminish them, below that proportion which certainly is in the power of the Legislature as the constitution now stands; and they may, as the population of the country increases, increase the House of Representatives to a very unwieldy degree. I confess I always thought this part of the constitution defective, though not dangerous; and that it ought to be particularly attended to whenever Congress should go into the consideration of amendments. 
 

Tuesday, July 21, 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 685-686]
Mr. MADISON begged the House to indulge him in the further consideration of amendments to the constitution, and as there appeared, in some degree, a moment of leisure, he would move to go into a Committee of the whole on the subject, comfortably to the order of the 8th of last month.  
 
[Page 690]
It was then ordered that Mr. Madison’s motion, stating certain specific amendments proper to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures of the States, to become, if ratified by three-fourths thereof, part of the constitution of the United States, together with the amendments to the said constitution, as proposed by the several states, be referred to a committee, to consist of a member from each State, with instruction to take the subject of amendments to the constitution of the United States generally into their consideration, and to report thereupon to the House.  [Page 691]›
The committee appointed were, Messrs. Vining, Madison, Baldwin, Sherman, Burke, Gilman, Clymer, Benson, Goodhue, Boudinot, and Gale.
 
Tuesday, July 28, 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 699]
Mr. Vining, from the committee to whom it was referred to take the subject of amendments to the constitution generally into their consideration, and to report thereon, made a report, which was ordered to lie on the table.
 
Thursday, August 13 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 734]
The House then resolved itself into a Committee of the whole, Mr. Boudinot in the chair, and took the amendments under consideration.
 
Friday, August 14 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 747-748]
The second paragraph in the report was read as follows:
Article I. Section 2. Paragraph 3. Strike nut all between the words “direct” and “and until such,” and instead thereof, insert “after the first enumeration, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred. After which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that the number of representatives shall never be less than one hundred, nor more than one hundred and seventy-five; but each State shall always have at least one representative.”

Mr. VINING [Delaware] —The duty, sir, which I owe to my constituents, and my desire to establish the constitution on a policy, dictated by justice and liberality, which will ever secure domestic tranquillity and promote the general welfare, induces me to come forward with a motion, which I rest upon its own merits. Gentlemen who have a magnanimous policy in view, I trust, will give it their support, and concede to what is proper in itself, and likely to procure a greater degree of harmony. I therefore move you, sir, to insert after the words “one hundred and seventy-five,” these words: “That where the number of inhabitants of any particular State amounts to forty-five thousand, they shall be entitled to two representatives.
This motion was negatived without a division.

Mr. AMES [Massachusetts] moved to strike out “thirty thousand,” and insert “forty thousand.” I am induced to this, said he, because I think my fellow citizens will be dissatisfied with too numerous a representation. The present, I believe, is in proportion to one for forty thousand, the number I move to insert. I believe we have hitherto experienced no difficulty on account of the smallness of our number; if we are embarrassed, I apprehend the embarrassment will arise from our want of knowing the general interest of the nation at large; or for want of local information. If the present number is found sufficient for the purpose of legislation, without any such embarrassment, it ought to be preferred, inasmuch as it is most adequate to its object.

But before we proceed in the discussion, let us consider the effect which a representation, founded on one member for 30,000 citizens, will produce. In the first place, it will give four members for every three now entitled to a seat in this House, which will be an additional burthen to the Union, in point of expense, in the same ratio. Add to this another consideration, that probably before the first census is taken, the number of inhabitants will be considerably increased from what it was when the convention which formed this constitution obtained their information. This will probably increase the expenses of Government to 450,000 dollars annually. Now those who have attended particularly to economy; who, upon the most careful calculation, find that our revenue is likely to fall infinitely short of our expenses, will consider this saving as a considerable object, and deserving their most serious regard.

It may become dissatisfactory to the people as an intolerable burthen. Again, it must be abundantly clear to every gentleman, that, in proportion as you increase the number of Representatives, the body degenerates; you diminish the individual usefulness; gentlemen will not make equal exertions to despatch public business, when they can lean upon others for the arrangement.

By enlarging the representation, we lessen the chance of selecting men of the greatest wisdom and abilities; because small district elections may be conducted by intrigue, but in large districts nothing but real dignity of character can secure an election. Gentlemen ought to consider how essential it is to the security and welfare of their constituents, that this branch of the Government should support its independence and consequence.

Another effect of it, will be an excitement or fermentation in the representative body. Numerous assemblies are supposed to be less under the guidance of reason than smaller ones; their deliberations are confused; they will fall the prey of party spirit; they will cabal to carry measures which they would be unable to get through by fair and open argument. All these circumstances tend to retard the public business, and increase the expense; making Government, in the eyes of some, so odious, as to induce them to think it rather a curse than a blessing.

It lessens that responsibility which is annexed to the representative of a more numerous body of people. For I believe it will be found true, that the representative of 40,000 citizens will have more at risk than the man who represents a part of them. He has more dignity of character to support, and must use the most unremitting industry in their service to preserve it unsullied; he will be more sensible of the importance of his charge, and more indefatigable in his duty.

It is said, that these amendments are introduced with a view to conciliate the affections of the people to the Government. I am persuaded the people are not anxious to have a large representation, or a representation of one for every 30,000; they are satisfied with the representation they now enjoy. The great object which the convention of Massachusetts had in view by proposing this amendment, was to obtain a security that Congress should never reduce the representation below what they conceived to be a point of security. Their object was not augmentation, it was certainty alone they wished for; at the next census, the number of representatives will be seventy or eighty, and in twenty years it will be equal to the desires of any gentleman. We shall have to guard against its growth in less than half a century. The number of proper characters to serve in the Legislature of any country is small; and of those, many are [Page 749-750]› inclined to pursue other objects. If the representation is greatly enlarged, men of inferior abilities will undoubtedly creep in, for although America has as great a proportion of men of sense and judgment as any nation on earth, yet she may not have sufficient to fill a legislative body unduly enlarged. Now if it has been questioned whether this country can remain united under a Government administered by men of the most consummate abilities, the sons of wisdom,, and the friends of virtue, how much more doubtful will it be, if the administration is thrown into different hands; and different hands must inevitably be employed, if the representation is too large.

Mr. MADISON [Virginia] — I cannot concur in sentiment with the gentleman last up, that one representative for forty thousand inhabitants will conciliate the minds of those to the Government, who are desirous of amendments; because they have rather wished for an increase, than confined themselves to a limitation.

I believe, by this motion, we shall avoid no inconvenience that can be considered of much consequence, for one member for either thirty thousand or forty thousand inhabitants, will, in a few years, give the number beyond which it is proposed Congress shall not go.

Now, if good policy requires that we accommodate the constitution to the wishes of that part of the community who are anxious for amendments, we shall agree to something like what is proposed in the report, for the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and North Carolina, have desired an alteration on this head; some have required an increase as far as two hundred at least. This does not look as if certainty was their sole object.
I do not consider it necessary, on this occasion, to go into a lengthy discussion of the advantages of a less or greater representation. I agree that after going beyond a certain point, the number may become inconvenient; that is proposed to be guarded against; but it is necessary to go to a certain number, in order to secure the great objects of representation. Numerous bodies are undoubtedly liable to some objections, but they have their advantages also; if they are more exposed to passion and fermentation, they are less subject to venality and corruption; and in a Government like this, where the House of Representatives is connected with a smaller body, it might be good policy to guard them in a particular manner against such abuse.

But for what shall we sacrifice the wishes of the people? Not fur a momentary advantage. Yet the amendments proposed by the gentleman from Massachusetts will, lose its efficacy after the second census. I think, with respect to futurity, it makes little or no difference; and as it regards the present time, thirty thousand is the most proper, because it is the number agreed upon in the original constitution, and what is required by several States.

Mr. SEDGWICK [Massachusetts] observed, that the amendment proposed by the convention of Massachusetts was carried there, after a full discussion; since then, the whole of the amendments proposed by the convention had been recommended by the Legislature of that State to the attention of their delegates in Congress. From these two circumstances he was led to believe, that his and his colleague’s constituents were generally in favor of the amendment as stated in the report.

He did not expect any advantage would arise-from enlarging the number of representatives beyond a certain point; but he thought one hundred and seventy-five rather too few.

Mr. GERRY [Massachusetts] — My colleague (Mr. Ames) has said, that we experience no inconvenience for want of either general or local knowledge. Sir, I may dispute the fact, from the difficulties we encountered in carrying through the collection bill, and on some other occasions, where we seemed much at a loss to know what are the dispositions of our constituents. But admitting this to be the fact, is information the only principle upon which we are to stand? Will that gentleman pretend to say we have as much security in a few representatives as in many? Certainly he will not. Not that I would insist upon a burthensome representation, but upon an adequate one. He supposes the expenses of the Government will be increased in a very great proportion; but if he calculates with accuracy, he will find the difference of the pay of the additional members not to exceed a fourth. The civil list was stated to cost three hundred thousand dollars, but the House of Representatives does not cost more than a ninth of that sum, consequently the additional members, at the ratio of four for three, could not amount to more than a thirtieth part, which would fall far short of what he seemed to apprehend. Is this such an object as to induce the people to risk every security which they ought to have in a more numerous representation?

One observation which I understood fell from him, was, that multiplying the number of representatives diminished the dignity and importance of the individuals who compose the House. Now I wish to know, whether he means that we should establish our own importance at the risk of the liberties of America; if so, it has been of little avail that we successfully opposed the lordly importance of a British Parliament. We shall now, I presume, be advised to keep the representation where it is, in order to secure our dignity; but I hope it will be ineffectual, and that gentlemen will be inclined to give up some part of their consequence to secure the rights of their constituents.

My honorable colleague has said, that large bodies are subject to fermentations; true, sir, but so are small ones also, when they are composed of aspiring and ambitious individuals. Large bodies in this country are likely to be composed, in a great measure, of gentlemen who represent the landed interest of the country; these are generally more temperate in debate than others, consequently, by increasing, [Page 751-752]› the representation we shall have less of this fermentation than on the present establishment. As to the other objections, they are not of sufficient weight to induce the House to refuse adopting an amendment recommended by so large a body of our constituents.

Mr. LIVERMORE [New Hampshire] was against the alteration, because he was certain his constituents were opposed to it. He never heard a single person but supposed that one member was little enough to represent the interest of thirty thousand inhabitants; many had thought the proposition ought to be one for twenty or twenty-five thousand. It would be useless to propose amendments which there was no probability of getting ratified, and he feared this would be the fate of the one under consideration, if the honorable gentleman’s alteration took place.

Mr. AMES [Massachusetts] begged to know the reasons upon which amendments were founded. He hoped it was not purely to gratify an indigested opinion; but in every part where they retouched the edifice it was with an intention of improving the structure; they certainly could not think of making alterations for the worse. Now that his motion would be an improvement was clearly demonstrable from the advantage in favor of deliberating by a less numerous body, and various other reasons already mentioned; but to those, the honorable gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MADISON) replied, by saying we ought to pay attention to the amendments recommended by the States. If this position is true, we have nothing more to do than read over their amendments, and propose them without exercising our judgment upon them. But he would undertake to say, that the object of the people was rather to procure certainty than increase; if so, it was the duty of Congress rather to carry the spirit of the amendment into operation than the letter of it.

The House of Representatives will furnish a better check upon the Senate, if filled with men of independent principles, integrity, and eminent abilities, than if consisting of a numerous body of inferior characters; in this opinion, said he, my colleague cannot but agree with me. Now if you diminish the consequence of the whole you diminish the consequence of each individual; it was in this view that he contended for the importance of the amendment.
He said it could not be the wish of Massachusetts to have the representation numerous, because they were convinced of its impropriety in their own Legislature, which might justly be supposed to require a greater number, as the objects of their deliberation extended to minute and local regulations. But that kind of information was not so much required in Congress, whose power embraced national objects alone. He contended, that all the local information necessary in this House, was to be found as fully among the ten members from Massachusetts, as if there had been one from every town in the State.

It is not necessary to increase the representation, in order to guard against corruption, because no one will presume to think that a body composed like this, and increased in a ratio of four to three, will be much less exposed to sale than we are. Nor is a greater number necessary to secure the rights and liberties of the people for the representative of a great body of people, is likely to be mere watchful of its interests than the representative of a lesser body.

Mr. JACKSON [Georgia] —I have always been afraid of letting this subject come before the House, for I was apprehensive that something would be offered striking at the very foundation of the constitution, by lessening it in the good opinion of the people. I conceive that the proposition For increasing the ratio of representation will have this tendency; but I am not opposed to the motion only on the principle of expediency, but because I think it grounded on wrong principles. The honorable gentleman’s arguments were as much in favor of entrusting the business of legislation to one, two, or three men, as to a body of sixty or a hundred, they would dispatch business with greater facility and be an immense saving to the public; but will the people of America be gratified with giving the power of managing their concerns into the hands of one man? Can this take place upon the democratic principle of the constitution, I mean the doctrine of representation? Can one man, however consummate his abilities, however unimpeachable his integrity, and however superior his wisdom, be supposed capable of understanding, combining and managing interests so diversified as those of the people of America? It has been complained of that the representation is too small at one for thirty thousand; we ought not therefore attempt to reduce it.

In a republic, the laws should be founded upon the sense of the community; if every man’s opinion could be obtained, it would be the better; it is only in aristocracies, where the few are supposed to understand the general interests of the community better than the many. I hope I shall never live to see that doctrine established in this country.

Mr. STONE [Maryland] supposed the United States to contain three millions of people; these, at one representative for every thirty thousand, would give a hundred members, of which fifty-one were a quorum to do business; twenty-six men would be a majority, and give law to the United States, together with seven in the Senate. If this was not a number sufficiently small to administer the Government, he did not know what was. He was satisfied that gentlemen, upon mature reflection, would deem it inexpedient to reduce that number one-fourth.

Mr. SENEY [Maryland] said, it had been observed by the gentleman from Massachusetts, that it would tend to diminish the expense; but he considered this object as very inconsiderable when compared with that of having a fair and full representation of the people of the United States

[Page 753-754]›
Mr. AMES’s motion was now put, and lost by a large majority.

Mr. SEDGWICK [Massachusetts] — When he reflected on the country, and the increase of population which was likely to take place, he was led to believe that one hundred and seventy-five members would be a body rather too small to represent such entensive concerns; for this reason he would move to strike out a hundred and seventy-five and insert two hundred.

Mr. SHERMAN [Connecticut] said, if they were now forming a constitution, he should be in favor of one representative for forty thousand, rather than thirty thousand. The proportion by which the several States are now represented in this House was founded on the former calculation. In the convention that framed the constitution, there was a majority in favor of forty thousand, and though there were some in favor of thirty thousand, yet that proposition did not obtain until after the constitution was agreed to, when the President had expressed a wish that thirty thousand should be inserted, as more favorable to the public interest; during the contest between thirty and forty thousand, he believed there were not more than nine States who voted in favor of the former.

The objects of the Federal Government were fewer than those of the State Government; they did not require an equal degree of local knowledge; the only case, perhaps, where local knowledge would be advantageous, was in laying direct taxes; but here they were freed from an embarrassment, because the arrangements of the several States might serve as a pretty good rule on which to found their measures.

So far was he from thinking a hundred and seventy-five insufficient, that he was about to move for a reduction, because he always considered that a small body deliberated to better purpose than a greater one.

Mr. MADISON [Virginia] hoped gentlemen would not be influenced by what had been related to have passed in the convention; he expected the committee would determine upon their own sense of propriety; though as several States had proposed the number of two hundred, he thought some substantial reason should be offered to induce the House to reject it.

Mr. LIVERMORE [New Hampshire] said, he did not like the amendment as it was reported; he approved of the ratio being one for thirty thousand, but he wished the MI tuber of representatives might be increased in proportion as the population of the country increased, until the number of representatives amounted to two hundred.

Mr. TUCKER [South Carolina] said, the honorable gentleman who spoke last had anticipated what he was going to remark. It appeared to him that the committee had looked but a very little way forward when they agreed to fix the representation at one hundred members, on a ratio of one to every thirty thousand upon the first enumeration. He apprehended the United States would be found to comprehended nearly three millions of people, consequently they would give a hundred members. Now, by the amendment, it will be in the power of Congress to prevent any addition to that number; if it should be a prevalent opinion among the members of this House that a small body was better calculated to perform the public business than a larger one, they will never suffer their members to increase to a hundred and seventy-five, the number to which the amendment extended.

Mr. GERRY [Massachusetts] expressed himself in favor of extending the number to two hundred, and wished that the amendment might be so modified as to insure an increase in proportion to the increase of population.

Mr. SHERMAN [Connecticut] was against any increase. He thought if a future House should be convinced of the impropriety of increasing this number to above one hundred, they ought to have it at their discretion to prevent it; and if that was likely to be the case, it was an argument why the present House should not decide. He did not consider that all that had been said with respect to the advantages of a large representation was founded upon experience; it had been intimated that a large body was more incorruptible than a smaller one; this doctrine was not authenticated by any proof; he could invalidate it by an example notorious to every gentleman in this House; he alluded to the British House of Commons, which although it consisted of upwards of five hundred members, the minister always contrived to procure votes enough to answer his purpose.

Mr. LAURANCE [New York] said, that it was a matter of opinion upon which gentlemen held different sentiments, whether a greater or less number than a certain point was best for a deliberate body. But he apprehended that whatever number was now fixed would be continued by a future Congress, if it were left to their discretion. He formed this opinion front the influence of the Senate, in which the small States were represented in an equal proportion with the larger ones. He supposed that the Senators from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Jersey, and Delaware, would of oppose an augmentation of the number of representatives; because their influence in the House would be proportionably abated. These States were incapable of extending their population beyond a certain point, inasmuch as they were confined with respect to territory. If, therefore, they could never have more than one representative, they would hardly consent to double that of others, by which their own importance would be diminished. If such a measure was carried by the large States through this house, it might be successfully opposed to the Senate; he would, therefore, be in favor of increasing the number to two hundred, and making its increase gradual till it arrived at that height.

Mr. Gerry. [Massachusetts] — The presumption is, that if provision is not made for the increase of the House of Representatives, by the present Congress, the increase never will be made. Gen- [Page 755-756]› tlemen ought to consider the difference between the Government in its infancy and when well established. The people suppose their liberties somewhat endangered; they have expressed their wishes to have them secured, and instructed their representatives to endeavor to obtain for them certain amendments, which they imagine will be adequate to the object they have in view. Besides this, there are two States not in the Union; but which we hope to annex to it by the amendments now under deliberation. These are inducements for us to proceed and adopt this amendment, independent of the propriety of the amendment itself, and such inducements as no future Congress will have, the principle of self-interest and self-importance will always operate on them to prevent any addition to the number of representatives. Cannot gentlemen contemplate a difference in situation between this and a future Congress on other accounts. We have neither money nor force to administer the constitution; but this will not be the case hereafter. In the progress of this Government its revenues will increase, and an army will be established; a future Legislature will find other means to influence the people than now exist.

This circumstance proves that we ought to leave as little as possible to the discretion of the future Government; but it by no means proves that the present Congress ought not to adopt the amendment moved by my colleague, Mr. SEDGWICK.

Mr. AMES. [Massachusetts] — It has been observed that there will be an indisposition in future Legislatures to increase the number of representatives. I am, by no means satisfied that this observation is true. I think there are motives which will influence Legislatures of the best kind to increase the number of its members. There is a constant tendency in a republican Government to multiply what it thinks to be the popular branch. If we consider that men are often more attached to their places than they are to their principles, we shall not be surprised to see men of the most refined judgment advocating a measure which will increase their chance of continuing in office.

My honorable colleague has intimated that a future Legislature will be against extending the number of this branch; and that if the people are displeased, they will have it in their power, by force, to compel their acquiescence. I do not see, sir, how the Legislature is strengthened by the increase of an army. I have generally understood that it gave power to the executive arm, but not to the deliberative head: the example of every nation is against him. Nor can I conceive upon what foundation he rests his reasoning. If there is a natural inclination in the Government to increase the number of administrators, it will be prudent in us to endeavor to counteract its baneful influence.

Mr. LIVERMORE [New Hampshire] now proposed to strike out the words “one hundred,” and insert “two hundred.”

Mr. SEDGWICK [Massachusetts] suspended his motion until this question was determined; whereupon it was put and lost, there being twenty-two in favor of, and twenty-seven against it.

Mr. SEDGWICK’S motion was then put, and carried in the affirmative.

Mr. LIVERMORE [New Hampshire] wished to amend the clause of the report in such a manner as to prevent the power of Congress from deciding the rate of increase. He thought the constitution had better fix it, and let it be gradual until it arrived at two hundred. After which, if it was the sense of the committee, it might be stationary, and liable to no other variation than that of being apportioned among the members of the Union.

Mr. AMES [Massachusetts] suggested to the consideration of gentlemen, whether it would not be better to arrange the subject in such a way as to let the representation be proportioned to a ratio-of-one for thirty thousand at the first census, and one for forty thousand at the second, so as to prevent a too rapid increase of the number of members. He did not make a motion of this nature, because he conceived it to be out of order, after the late decision of the committee; but it might be brought forward in the House, and he hoped would accommodate both sides.

Mr. GERRY [Massachusetts] wished that the gentleman last up would pen down the idea he had just thrown out; he thought it very proper for the consideration of the House.

The question on the second proposition of the report, as amended, was now put and carried, being twenty-seven for, and twenty-two against it.  
 
Wednesday, August 19 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 795-796]
Mr. Ames then brought forward his motion respecting the representation suggested, (see page 756). A desultory conversation took place, and several amendments of the motion were attempted; but the House adjourned without coming to any determination
 
Thursday, August 20 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 795-796]
The House resumed the consideration of the report of the Committee of the whole on the subject of amendment to the constitution.

Mr. AMES's proposition was taking up. Five or six other members introduced propositions on the same point, and the whole were, by mutual consent, laid on the table. After which, the House proceeded to the third amendment...
 

Friday, August 21 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 795-796]
The House then resumed the consideration of the proposition respecting the apportioning of the representation to a certain ration, proposed by Mr. AMES.

When, after some desultory conversation, it was agreed to, as follows:

After the first enumeration, required by the first article of the constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred. After which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand per-sons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every fifty thousand persons.

After which the House adjourned.
 

Saturday, August 22 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 807-808]
Resolved by the House of Representatives of the United States in Congress assembled,
That the following amendments to the constitution of the United States, having been agreed to by two-thirds of both Houses, be submitted to the Legislatures, shall be valid to all intents and purposes as parts of the said constitution.

This resolution was referred to a committee consisting of Messrs. Benson, Sherman, and Sedgwick, who were directed to arrange the said amendments and make report thereof.
 

Monday, August 24 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 807-808]
Mr. BENSON, from the committee appointed for the purpose, reported an arrangement of the articles for amendment to the constitution of the United States, as agreed to by the House on Friday last; also, a resolution prefixed to the same, which resolution was twice read and agreed to by the House, as follows:  

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 800-810]
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled
, (two-thirds of both Houses deeming it necessary,) That the following articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as amendments to the constitution of the United States, all or any of which articles, when ratified by three-fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes as part of the said constitution.

Ordered, That the clerk of the House do carry to the Senate a fair engrossed copy of the said proposed articles of amendment, and desire their concurrence.
 

 Broadside of Article the first as Proposed by the House
House Article the first broadside

Wednesday, September 2 , 1789

Senate

[Annals of Congress, Senate, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 76]
The resolve of the House of Representatives of the 24th of August, 1789, “that certain articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” was taken into consideration; and, on motion to amend this clause of the first article proposed by the House of Representatives, to wit: “After the first enumeration, required by the first article of the constitution, there shall be one representative for every thirty-thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred;” by striking out “one,” and inserting “two,” between the words “amount to” and “hundred;”

The yeas and nays being required by one-fifth of the Senators present, the determination was as follows:
Yeas — Messrs. Dalton, Gunn, Grayson, King, Lee, and Schuyler — 6.
Nays — Messrs. Bassett, Butler, Carroll, Ellsworth, Elmer, Henry Johnson, Izard, Morris, Paterson, Read, and Wingate — 12.

So it passed in the negative.
 

Annotation: the vote taken above can be represented as follows:

Yeas

Neas

6

12

Senator

State

Senator

State

Dalton

MA

Bassett

DE

Gunn

GA

Butler

SC

Grayson

VA

Carroll

MD

King

NY

Ellsworth

CT

Lee

VA

Elmer

NJ

Schuyler

NY

Henry

MD

   

Johnson

CT

   

Izard

SC

   

Morris

PA

   

Paterson

NJ

   

Read

DE

   

Wingate

NH

On motion to adopt the first article proposed: by the resolve of the House of Representatives, amended as follows: to strike out these words “after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred representatives, nor less than one representative for every fifty thousand persons;” and to substitute the following clause after the words [Page 77]› “one hundred:” to wit, “to which number one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of forty thousand, until the representatives shall amount to two hundred, to which one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of sixty thousand persons:” It passed in the affirmative.
 

Annotation

Applied against the amendment that had been proposed by the House, the effect of the Senate’s proposed revision is as follows:

After the first enumeration, required by the first Article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons  to which number one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of forty thousand, until the representatives shall amount to two hundred, to which one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of sixty thousand persons.

Stated more concisely, the result of the Senate resolution on September 2, 1789 can be reduced to the following:

After the first enumeration, required by the first Article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred,  to which number one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of forty thousand, until the representatives shall amount to two hundred, to which one representative shall be added for every subsequent increase of sixty thousand persons.

Wednesday, September 9 , 1789

Senate

[Annals of Congress, Senate, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 80]
The Senate proceeded in the consideration of the resolve of the House of Representatives on the articles to be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States as amendments to the constitution, and agreed to a part of them, and disagreed to others; of which they informed the House.
 
Thursday, September 10 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 923]
A message from the Senate informed the House, that the Senate have agreed to the resolution of this House, of the second ultimo, containing certain articles to be proposed by Congress to the Legislatures to the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, with several amendments; to which they desire the concurrence of this House.

Annotation

With respect to Article the first, the change proposed by the Senate is that determined on September 2nd (above). With respect to the revisions proposed by the Senate on the remaining amendments, these are described in the Journal of the Senate on this same day:
Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Volume 1, Pages 76-77.  

Monday, September 21 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 939]
The House then resumed the consideration of the amendments proposed by the Senate to the several articles of amendments to the Constitution of the United States; some of which they agreed to, and disagreed to others, two-thirds of the members present concurring in each vote; whereupon, a committee of conference was desired with the Senate, on the subject matter of the amendments disagreed to; and Messrs. Madison, Sherman and Vining were appointed as managers on the part of the House.

Senate

[Annals of Congress, Senate, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 85-86]
A message from the House of Representatives brought up a resolve of the House of this date, to agree to the 2d, 4th, 8th, 12th, 13th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 25th, and 26th amendments, proposed by the Senate, to “Articles of amendment to be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States;” and to disagree to the 1st, 3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d, and 24th amendments; two-thirds of the members present concurring on each vote; and “that a conference be desired with the Senate on the subject matter of the amendments disagreed to,” and that Messrs. Madison, Sherman, and Vining, be appointed managers of the same on the part of the House of Representatives.

[Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Volume 1 , Page 84]
The Senate proceeded to consider the message of the House of Representatives, disagreeing to the amendments made by the Senate, to “Articles to be proposed to the legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” and,

Resolved, That the Senate do recede from their third amendment, and do insist on all the others.

Resolved, That the Senate do concur with the House of Representatives in a conference on the subject matter of disagreement on the said articles of amendment, and that Messrs. Ellsworth, Carroll, and Paterson, be managers of the conference on the part of the Senate.

Ordered, That the Secretary do carry the bill entitled... “Articles to be proposed as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” to the House of Representatives...
 

Thursday, September 24 , 1789

Senate

[Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Volume 1 , Page 86]
Mr. Ellsworth, on behalf of the managers of the conference, on “Articles to be proposed to the legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” reported as follows:

That it will be proper for the House of Representatives to agree to the said amendments, proposed by the Senate, with an amendment to their fifth amendment, so that the third article shall read as follows: “...” ; and with an amendment to the fourteenth amendment, proposed by the Senate, so that the eighth article, as numbered in the amendments proposed by the Senate, shall read as follows: “...”

The managers were also of opinion, that it would be proper for both Houses to agree to amend the first article, by striking out the word “less,” in the last line but one, and inserting in its place the word “more,” and, accordingly, recommend that the said article be reconsidered for that purpose.
 

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 948]
The House proceeded to consider the report of a Committee of Conference, on the subject matter of the amendments depending between the two Houses to the several articles of amendment to the Constitution of the United Sates as proposed by this House: whereupon, it was resolved, that they recede from their disagreement to all the amendments; provided that the two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles, shall be amended to read as follows:

Art. 3. ...

Art. 8. ...

And provided also, That the first article be amended, by striking out the word “less” in the last place of the said article, and inserting in lieu thereof the word “more.”

On the question that the House agree to the alteration and of the eighth article, in the manner aforesaid, the yeas and nays were called, and are as follows:

Yeas — Messrs. Ames, Baldwin, Benson, Boudinot, Brown, Cadwalader, Carroll, Clymer, Contee, Fitzsimons, Foster, Gale, Gilman, Goodhue, Griffin, Hartley, Lee, Leonard, Madison, Moore, Muhlenberg, Parker, Partridge, Schureman, Scott, Seney, Sherman, Silvester, Sinnickson, Smith (of Maryland), Smith (of South Carolina), Stone, Thatcher, Trumbull, Vining, White, and Wynkoop — 37.

Nays — Messrs. Bland, Burke, Coles, Floyed, Gerry, Grout, Hathorn, Jackson, Livermore, Mathews, Page, Van Rensselaer, Sumter, and Tucker — 14. 

On motion, it was resolved, that the President of the United States be requested to transmit to the Executives of the several States which have ratified the Constitution, copies of the amendments proposed by Congress, to be added thereto, and like copies to the Executives of the States of Rhode Island and North Carolina.

Senate

[Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Volume 1 , Page 87]
A message from the House of Representatives:

Mr. Beckley, their clerk, brought up the amendments to the “Articles to be proposed to the legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the constitution of the United States,” and informed the Senate, that the House of Representatives had receded from their disagreement to the 1st, 3d, 5th, 6th, 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 15th, 17th, 20th, 21st, 22d, 23d, and 24th, amendments, insisted by the Senate: provided that the “two articles, which, by the amendments of the Senate, are now proposed to be inserted as the third and eighth articles,” shall be amended to read as followeth:

Art. 3. ...

Art. 8. ...

And provided also, That the first article be amended, by striking out the word “less” in the last place of the said first article, and inserting in lieu thereof the word “more.”
 

Monday, September 28 , 1789

House of Representatives

[Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 1st Congress, 1st Session, Page 958-959]
A message from the Senate informed the House that they had agreed to the resolution desiring the President of the United States to recommend a day of general thanksgiving; also, to the resolution desiring him to transmit to the Executives of the several States of the Union, and also to the Executives of the States of Rhode Island and North Carolina, copies of the amendments agreed to by Congress to the Constitution of the United States.
 

Friday, October 2 , 1789

The twelve articles of amendments proposed by Congress were transmitted to the States by President Washington under cover of this letter:

In pursuance of the enclosed resolution I have the honor to transmit to your Excellency a copy of the amendments proposed to be added to the Constitution of the United States.
 
I have the honor to be with due consideration Your Excellency’s most obedient Servant.

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      it expects what never was and never will be.”

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