The 1787 Constitutional Convention – Legislative Fine Tuning

Journal Federal Cons LogoJune 23, 1787 (click the link to read Madison’s notes)


The delegates debated Resolution 3 regarding the legislature. They deadlocked on giving members “adequate compensation” and decided to allow House members to remain eligible to hold other offices after their current term ended

Influences on the Delegates

Mason appealed to his experience in VA and Great Britain for his position:

Mr. MASON. The motion of my colleague is but a partial remedy for the evil. He appealed to him as a witness of the shameful partiality of the Legislature of Virginia to its own members. He enlarged on the abuses and corruption in the British Parliament connected with the appointment of its members. He could not suppose that a sufficient number of citizens could not be found who would be ready, without the inducement of eligibility to offices, to undertake the Legislative service. Genius and virtue, it may be said, ought to be encouraged. Genius, for aught he knew, might; but that virtue should be encouraged by such a species of venality, was an idea that at least had the merit of being new.

Delegate Jenifer from MD spoke up to use his state as a positive example of exclusivity of office.

Mr. JENIFER remarked, that in Maryland the Senators, chosen for five years, could hold no other office; and that this circumstance gained them the greatest confidence of the people.

By July 4, I hope to have a tally of influences. I can tell you that Britain and the experience of the states were the greatest influences on the delegates.