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Tag: committee of detail

Constitution 225: Blueprint for the Electoral College

Commission of David Brearly to be an elector for the state of New Jersey for the purpose of choosing a President and Vice President of the United States, 01/07/1789 (ARC 306228)

Today’s post was written by National Archives volunteer Paul Richter. It is part of a series tracing the development of the Constitution in honor of the 225th anniversary of this document on September 17, 2012.

By the end of August, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention were tired. They had been convening and debating for the entire summer, and they sensed they were nearing a finished product.

Throughout August, much of the debate had revolved around the report delivered by the Committee of Detail early in the month. The delegates had discussed at great length that committee’s report, but there were several issues on which they suspended debate before reaching a decision. On August 31, those postponed matters were referred to another committee comprising one delegate from each state and chaired by David Brearly of New Jersey.

This “Committee of eleven,” as Madison referred to it in his journal notes, considered each of the postponed matters and reported back to the Convention during the first week of September with proposals. Included in the committee’s proposals were providing Congress the authority to collect taxes, assigning the Vice President to preside over the Senate, and specifying

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Constitution 225: The Committee of Detail

George Washington's Annotated Copy of a Draft of the U.S. Constitution, National Archives Identifier 1501555


Today’s post was written by National Archives volunteer Paul Richter. It is part of a series tracing the development of the Constitution. Don’t miss our special programs, events, and social media outreach this September in honor of the 225th anniversary of the Constitution.

By July 23, 1787, the Constitutional Convention had been meeting for over two months. The delegates had refined many of the proposals initially laid out in the Virginia Plan and added a few others as well. The resolutions adopted by the Convention contained the broad strokes of the new government’s design, and the delegates recognized the time had come to fill in the spaces between them.

After two months of debating as a full body, the delegates recognized it would not be the most effective forum for the task before them. They consequently appointed a committee of five individuals to capture the resolutions to date and weave them together in to a single document.

John Rutledge, Edmund Randolph, Nathaniel Gorham, Oliver Ellsworth, and James Wilson were appointed to the Committee of Detail. The rest of the delegates adjourned from July 27 through August 5, giving the Committee of Detail a week and a half to prepare the first draft of the Constitution.… [ Read all ]