Comment: This Was Discussed in 6-16-1788 - Virgina Ratifying Convention

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This Was Discussed in 6-16-1788 - Virgina Ratifying Convention

Virginia Ratifying Convention 6-16-1788:

MR. PATRICK HENRY (WARNS): ".....suppose Congress, in either case, demands a number of militia, will they not be obliged to go?

>>>>Where are your reserved rights, when your militia go to a neighboring state?

Which call is to be obeyed, the congressional call, or the call of the state legislature?

The call of Congress must be obeyed.

I need not remind this {423} committee that the sweeping clause will cause their demands to be submitted to. This clause enables them "to make all laws which shall be necessary and proper to carry into execution all the powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof."

Mr. Chairman, I will turn to another clause, which relates to the same subject, and tends to show the fallacy of their argument.

The 10th section of the 1st article, to which reference was made by the worthy member, militates against himself.

It says, that "no state shall engage in war, "unless" actually invaded."

If you give this clause a fair construction, what is the true meaning of it? What does this relate to? Not domestic insurrections, but war.

If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress insurrections. ...

...They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress. The 4th section of the 4th article expressly directs that, in case of domestic violence, Congress shall protect the states on application of the legislature or executive; and the 8th section of the 1st article gives Congress power to call forth the militia to quell insurrections: there cannot, therefore, be a concurrent power.

The "state" legislatures ought to have power to call forth the efforts of the militia, when necessary. Occasions for calling them out may be urgent, pressing, and instantaneous. The states cannot now call them, let an insurrection be ever so perilous, without an application to Congress. So long a delay may be fatal.

There are three clauses which prove, beyond the possibility of doubt, that Congress, and Congress only, can call forth the militia. (APP Note: Speaking of the document) The clause giving Congress power to call them out to suppress insurrections, that which restrains a state from engaging in war except when actually invaded; and that which requires Congress to protect the states against domestic violence, render it impossible that a state can have power to intermeddle with them.

Will not Congress find refuge for their actions in these clauses?

With respect to the concurrent jurisdiction, it is a political monster of absurdity.

We have passed that clause which gives Congress an unlimited authority over the national wealth; and here is an unbounded control over the national strength.

Notwithstanding {424} this clear, unequivocal relinquishment of the power of controlling the militia,

you say the states retain it, for the very purposes given to congress. Is it fair to say that you give the power of arming the militia, and at the same time to say you reserve it?

This great national government ought NOT TO BE LEFT in this condition.

If it be, it will terminate in the destruction of our liberties."


Mr. JAMES MADISON. "Mr. Chairman, let me ask this committee, and the honorable member last up, what we are to understand from this reasoning. The power must be vested in Congress, or in the state governments; or there must be a division or concurrence. He is against division.

It is a political monster.

He will not give it to Congress for "fear of oppression".

Is it to be vested in the state governments? If so, where is the provision for general defence?

If ever America should be attacked, the states would fall successively. It will prevent them from giving aid to their sister states; for, as each state will expect to be attacked, and wish to guard against it, each will retain its own militia for its own defence.

Where is this power to be deposited, then, unless in the general government, if it be dangerous to the public safety to give it exclusively to the states?

If it must be divided, let him show a better manner of doing it than that which is in the Constitution.

I cannot agree with the other honorable gentleman, that there is no check.


The "STATE" government"S" are to govern the (Citizen) MILITIA when not called forth for general "national" purposes;

and Congress is to govern such part ONLY as may be in the "actual service of the Union".

Nothing can be more certain and positive than this. It expressly empowers Congress to govern them when in the service of the United States.

It is, then, "clear" that the "STATES" govern them "when they are not"."

APP Note: The danger that presents itself now, is that the state "militias" once controlled by the state and it's Governor, and or local Counties when not in foreign service have been assimilated into the standing army as a "National Guard" so that all military men are "always in the service of the United States" - where are our independent state militias?...

Mr. GEORGE MASON (Same Convention): "...His fears, as he had before expressed, were, that grievous punishments would be inflicted, in order to render the service disagreeable to the (CITIZEN) MILITIA themselves, and induce them to wish its abolition, which would afford a PRETENSE for establishing a "standing army"."

(APP Note: This has already happened).

Where is our checks to power clearly intended by the founders to protect each independent state, and if necessary, against the generality?


But not prohibited to be reformed and re-instituted by the states and Citizens themselves should they choose, (and is their DUTY) as clearly indicated by these intents being a right of the state to arm, import arms, and discipline its own militias "outside" the federal government. -

See again John Marshall's statements above these quotes in the Debate, as well George Nicholas and Mr. Pendleton's Statements in the Full Debate: Read it:

American Patriot Party.CC

Educate Yourself. Educate Others.

Read Also Federalist #46 by James Madison.


RichardTaylorAPP - Chair - American Patriot Party.CC

John Locke #201, 202, 212 to 232; Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions 1798; Virginia Ratifying Convention 6-16-1788; Rights of the Colonists 1772.