Electing the Executive, Property Requirements and More

Richard Dobbs Spaight
Richard Dobbs Spaight, delegate from North Carolina
Attributed to Ellen Sharples, c. 1800-1810

Independence National Historical Park

Electing the Executive, Property Requirements and More

"…I am induced to think that the plan of a National Parliament and Supreme Executive with adequate powers to the Government of the Union will be suitable to our situation than any other...all I can say respecting the Convention is to recommend a perseverance to the end…"

-Governor Caswell to Richard Dobbs Spaight

The Convention continued to consider how to elect the Executive. Mason summarized the possible methods, the objections to each, and found he favored election by the National legislature. He moved for a seven-year term, and ineligibility for re-election. Davie seconded, Franklin supported, and the motion passed, 7 aye, CT, PA and DE no, MA absent. Gouverneur Morris then attacked the whole proposal, but it passed, 6 aye, PA, DE, and MD no, VA divided.

Mason moved to have the Committee of Detail to report property ownership and years of residence requirements, as well as provisions to disqualify those in debt to the government. Madison recorded Mason's observation that "persons [indebted to the U.S.] had frequently got into the State Legislatures, in order to promote laws that might shelter their delinquencies…" Madison, Gouverneur Morris and others opposed a property ownership requirement. Daniel Carroll and others opposed barring those who had unsettled accounts with the government.

Discussion turned to making a provision establishing the seat of the general government.Mason (VA) and Martin (NC) favored the idea of separating the seat of any state government from that of the general government.Madison noted Gerry's comment that he "…conceived it to be the general sense of America, that neither the Seat of a State Govt. nor any large commercial City should be the seat of the Genl. Govt."

The Convention then referred to the Committee of Detail its proceedings, the Pinckney plan and the Paterson plan, and adjourned until August 6.

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Friday, July 27, 1787 – Tuesday, July 31, 1787
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HOME The 225th Anniversary of the Constitution Convention

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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