Debate over Representation in the House

Washington George Statue
George Washington
William Rush, c. 1814

Independence National Historical Park

Debate over Representation in the House

"I almost despair of seeing a favourable issue to the proceedings of our Convention, and do therefore repent having had any agency in the business.The Men who oppose a strong & energetic government are, in my opinion, narrow minded politicians…"

-George Washington to Alexander Hamilton

The delegates continued their discussion of representation in the House, focusing on the number of congressmen that would be elected from each state. The Committee of Eleven, appointed the previous day, recommended increasing the number of representatives from 56 to 65. Several counter-proposals suggested different numbers, but each motion was defeated. During the course of the debate, James Madison of Virginia moved that the number of representatives should be doubled. He argued that the majority of a simple quorum of 65 members was too small to represent and vote for all the inhabitants of the United States. Although several members agreed with Madison, the body voted 9 to 2 to leave the number of congressmen at 65 members.

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Last updated: February 26, 2015

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