FOUNDERS QUOTES ON THE COMPACT THEORYConstitutional Convention:
Edmund Randolph, in his remarks on his proposed Virginia Plan in the openingdays of the Constitutional Convention stated: “1. that a union of the States merelyfederal [in international law, a “federate alliance” was a multinational confederation] willnot accomplish the objects proposed by the articles of Confederation, namely commondefense, security of liberty, & gen welfare. 2. that no treaty or treaties among he wholeor part of the States, as individual Sovereignties, would be sufficient.” Madison’s
Notesof Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787
. (May 30, 1787.)On June 6
, George Mason, in arguing against states having representation in theHouse by noting that under “the existing Confederacy, Congs. represent the States
notthe people of the States: their acts operate on the States, not on the individuals.
The casewill be changed in the new plan of Govt. The people will be represented; they oughttherefore to choose the Representatives.”During debates on June 19
, Madison acknowledged that the proposed newgovernment did not simply strengthen the existing compact theory government under theArticles, but that it created an entirely new type of government. As evidence of this, henoted that a compact government exercised power “not on the people individually, but onthe people collectively, on the States,” while the opposite would be true under the newgovernment. He also pointed out that a compact government “derived its appointmentsnot immediately from the people, but from the States which they respectively composed,”unlike the various proposals for the new government put forth by the convention.On June 5, 1787, the Constitutional Convention discussed the proposal for theConstitution to be ratified by the people in special state ratifying conventions. During thedebate, James Madison argued in favor of the proposal, noting that “the new constitutionought to have the highest source of authority, at least paramount to the powers of therespective constitutions of the States.”He contrasted it with “the mischiefs that have arisen in the old confederation,which depends upon no higher authority than the confirmation of an ordinary act of alegislature.” James Wilson also favored the proposal, noting that “the people by aconvention are the only power that can ratify the proposed system of the newgovernment.”This debate over the mode of ratification came up again on July 23, 1787, atwhich time George Mason argued:[That he] considered a reference of the plan to the authority of the people as one of the most important and essential of theResolutions. The Legislatures have no power to ratify it. They arethe mere creatures of the State Constitutions, and can not be