Separation of Powers

Pinckney NPS photo
Charles Pinckney, delegate from South Carolina


Separation of Powers

"[Charles Pinckney] considered the eligibility of members of the Legislature to the honorable offices of Government, as resembling the policy of the Romans, in making the temple of virtue the road to the temple of fame."

- James Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention

Today's session opened with debate on the "full faith and credit" article. G. Morris (PA) and Madison (VA) proposed amendments which were approved, and the result ["Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings of every other State..."] was approved without a vote.

The clause giving Congress the power "to establish uniform laws on the subject of Bankruptcies" was taken up. Sherman (CT) observed that, in England, some bankrupts could be punished by death, and he didn't want Congress to have the power to pass a law like that. Morris (PA) saw no danger of abuse. The clause was agreed to 9 ay, CT no.

Next was debated the provision that members of Congress be ineligible for other Federal offices. The proposal simply prohibited a member of Congress from holding any other Federal office during his term, and any Federal office holder from serving in Congress while holding office.

Charles Pinckney (SC) moved to postpone this and take up a motion which would restrict members of Congress from accepting a salary for holding another office. After debate and amendment, this provision was finally approved.

On this day the Convention drove another nail in the coffin of a Parliamentary System. They voted to make members of Congress ineligible for positions in the Administration. While this proposal was hotly debated, the debate was on how far to go. No one questioned the concept.

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Tuesday, September 4, 1787
Electing the President
HOME The 225th Anniversary of the Constitution Convention

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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