Progress on Determining Representation

Edmund Randolph
Edmund Randolph, delegate from Virginia

The New York Public Library.

Progress on Determining Representation

"By attendance on the Convention, together with travelling Expences…being 74 days, at 6 dollars per day, which are equal to 444 dollars;…"

-Edmund Randolph to Virginia Lt. Governor Beverley Randolph

The delegates continued their discussion on the method for determining representation in the House, gradually moving toward a spirit of compromise. Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania argued that states and people should be taxed in proportion to the number of representatives in Congress. During the debate, Morris was convinced to change his motion to read that states and people should be taxed "directly." The amended motion was adopted.

At the conclusion of today's discussion, the Convention voted to give the legislature the power to vary representation according to wealth and numbers of inhabitants. William Samuel Johnson probably expressed the feelings of many delegates when he stated that population could actually be one of the best measures of wealth. He also stated that the number of blacks should be included in any computation for representation, which would marry wealth and population together. A census would be taken six years after the adoption of the Constitution and, thereafter, each ten years. All free inhabitants and 3/5 of the slaves would be counted.

Friday, July 13, 1787
Wealth No Longer a Factor

HOME The 225th Anniversary of the Constitution Convention

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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