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and bloody war. This fear is, perhaps, ill founded, and if so I shall thank God that I was mistaken. I know that, in the order of his Providence, the wisest ends frequently result from the most foolish measures. It is our duty to submit ourselves to his high dispensations. I know that war, with all its misery, is not wholly without advantage. It calls forth the energies of character, it favors the manly virtues, it gives elevation to sentiment, it produces national union, generates patriotic love, and infuses a just sense of national honor. If, then, we are doomed to war, let us meet it as we ought; and when the hour of trial comes, let it find us a band of brothers.
Sir, I have done, and I pray to Almighty God that this day's debate may eventuate in the
prosperity, the freedom, the peace, the power and the glory of our country.
SPEECH OF URIAH TRACY,
A RESOLUTION PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, RELATIVE TO THE MODE OF ELECTING THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT ;*
DELIVERED IN THE SENATE OF
DECEMBER 2, 1803.
MR. PRESIDENT, I moved an adjournment, because I thought a more full and fair discussion was due to this important question, than could be had after this late hour.
* The resolution was in the following words : Resolved, By the senate
and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both houses concurring, that in lieu of the third paragraph of the first section of the second article of the constitution of the United States, the following be proposed as an amendment to the constitution of the United States, which, when ratified by three fourths of the legislatures of the several states, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part
of the said constitution, to wit: The electors shall meet in their respective states, and vote by ballot
for President and Vice President, one of whom, at least, shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves ; they shall name in their ballots, the person voted for as President, and in distinct ballots the person voted for as Vice President, and they shall make distinct lists of all persons voted for as President, and of all persons voted for as Vice President, and of the number of votes for each, which lists they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the president of the senate, The president of the senate shall, in the presence of the senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the
The merits have never, until now, been before us, for although considerable time has been consumed in debate, it has chiefly been directed to the subordinate amendments, and not to the main resolution. But since the senate have refused to adjourn, I will now offer some observations on the merits, in doing which, I will study brevity, as much as the importance of the subject will permit.
I shall attempt to prove, sir, that the resolution, before us, contains principles which have a manifest tendency to deprive the small states of an important right, secured to them by a solemn and constitutional compact, and to vest an overwhelming power in the great states. And, further, I shall attempt to show, that in many other points the resolution is objectionable, and for a variety of causes, ought not to be adopted.
As I shall be obliged, in delineating the main features of this resolution, to mention the great states in the union as objects of jealousy, I wish it to be understood, that no special stigma is intended. 66 Man is man,” was the maxim expressed, in an early part of this debate, by the gentleman from South Carolina, (Mr. Butler,) and, in application to the subject of government, the maxim is worthy to be written in letters
whole number of electors appointed ; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers, not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states must be necessary to a choice. The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice President,
shall be the Vice President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the senate shall choose the Vice President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two thirds of the whole number of senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President, shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States.
of gold. Yes, sir, “ man is man," and the melancholy truth, that he is always imperfect and frequently wicked, induces us to fear his power, and guard against his rapacity, by the establishment and preservation of laws, and well regulated constitutions of government. Man, when connected with very many of his fellowmen, in a great state, derives power from the circumstance of this numerous combination; and from every circumstance, which clothes him with additional power, he will generally derive some additional force to his passions.
Having premised this, I shall not deem it requisite to make any apology, when I attempt to excite the attention, the vigilance, and even the jealousy of the small, in reference to the conduct of the great states. The caution is meant to apply against the imperfections and passions of man, generally, and not against any state, or description of men, particularly.
Mr. Tracy here made some observations explanatory of his meaning, when he used the words small and great, as applicable to states.]
It will be recollected, that, in the various turns which this debate has taken, gentlemen have repeatedly said, that the constitution was formed for the people, that the good of the whole was its object, that nothing was discernible in it like a contest of states, nothing like jealousy of small states against the great; and although such distinctions and jealousies might have existed under the first confederation; yet they could have no existence under the last. And one gentleman, (Mr. Smith, of Maryland,) has said, that he has been a member of this government ten years, and has heard nothing of great and small states, as in the least affecting the operations of government, or the feelings of those who administer it. Propriety, therefore, requires, that we attentively examine the constitution itself, not only to obtain correct ideas upon these observations, so repeatedly urged; but to place, in the proper light, the operations and effects of the resolution in debate.
If we attend to the constitution, we shall immediately find evident marks of concession and compromise ; and that the parties to these concessions were the great and small states. And the members of the convention, who formed the instrument, have, in private information and public communications, united in the declaration, that the constitution was the result of concession and compromise between the great and small states. In this examination of the constitution, it will, be impossible to keep out of view our political relations under the first confederation. We primarily united upon the footing of complete state equality; each state had
one, and no state had more than one vote in the federal council or Congress. With such a confederation we successfully waged war, and became an independent nation. When we were relieved from the pressure of war, that confederation, both in structure and power, was found inadequate to the purposes for which it was established. Under these circumstances, the states, by their convention, entered into a new agreement upon principles better adapted to promote their mutual security and happiness. But this last agreement or constitution, under which we are now united, was manifestly carved out of the first confederation. The small states adhered tenaciously to the principles of state equality; and gave up only a part of this federative principle, complete state equality, and that, with evident caution and reluctance. To this federative principle they were attached by habit; and their attachment was sanctioned and corroborated by the example of most, if not all the ancient and the modern confederacies. And when the great states claimed a weight in the councils of the nation proportionate to their numbers and wealth, the novelty of the claim, as well as its obvious tendency to reduce the sovereignty of the small states, must have produced serious obstacles to its admission. Hence it is, that we find in the constitution but one entire departure from the federal principle. The House of Representatives is established