Electing the Lower House
"The Confederation was founded on temporary principles. It cannot last; it cannot be amended; if we do not establish a good Government on new principles, we must either go to ruin, or have the work to do over again…"
-George Read, as recorded in James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention
The Convention, meeting in the Committeee of the Whole, debated having the state legislature elect the lower house, instead of the people. Roger Sherman (CT) wanted the states to retain most of their authority and saw this motion as helping them do so. John Dickinson (DE) felt one house had to be elected by the people but that the other could be elected by the state legislature. James Madison (VA) noted that George Read (DE) went further, saying "Too much attachment is betrayed to the state governments…A national government must soon of necessity swallow all of them up." The motion lost with eight states opposed and three states (CT, NJ, SC) in favor. George Read's nationalist position illustrates the point that the large state/small state conflict over representation should not be confused with the later nationalist/states rights conflict. Read was adamant for an equal vote for small states, but would agree to meld all the states into one consolidated government.