Debate Continues on the National Executive

John Dickinson
John Dickinson, delegate from Delaware

Charles Willson Peale, 1782-1783
Independence National Historical Park

Debate Continues on the National Executive

"Mr. Dickinson…informs me that they are all unitedin their objects, and he expects they will be equally united in the means of attaining them."

-Benjamin Rush to Richard Price

The Convention, meeting in the Committee of the Whole, continued debate on the national executive. James Wilson (PA) moved to divide the states into districts, and have the people in each district elect electors who would then elect the president. Hugh Williamson (NC) could not see the advantage in selecting electors over having the state legislatures elect the executive. Wilson's motion lost, 8 states to 2 (only Pennsylvania and Maryland voting for it). The Committee then agreed to have the executive chosen by the national legislature for a term of seven years. The delegates would later return to this issue of state legislatures or electors selecting a national executive.

Benjamin Franklin

David Rent Etter, 1835
Independence National Historical Park

The delegates discussed executive pay, removal from office, eligibility for a second term, and whether the executive should be one man or a committee. On the issue of executive pay, Benjamin Franklin (PA) produced a written speech proposing that the executive serve without pay. The Convention discarded this proposal without debate or vote. "It was treated with great respect, but rather for the author of it, than for any apparent conviction of its expediency or practicability," wrote James Madison (VA).

Sunday, June 3, 1787 Convention Adjourned

HOME The 225th Anniversary of the Constitution Convention

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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