Handout D: Excerpts from Roger Sherman, June 6, 1787 (From Madison’s Notes on the Philadelphia Convention)
Mr. SHERMAN. If it were in view to abolish the State Governments the elections ought to be by the people. If the State Governments are to be continued, it is necessary in order to preserve harmony between the National & State Governments that the elections to the former [National] should be made by the latter [State]. The right of participating in the National Govt. would be sufficiently secured to the people by their election of the State Legislatures. The objects of the Union, he [Sherman] thought were few. 1. defense against foreign danger. 2. defense against internal disputes & a resort to force. 3. treaties with foreign nations. 4. regulating foreign commerce, & drawing revenue from it. These & perhaps a few lesser objects alone rendered a Confederation of the States necessary. All other matters civil & criminal would be much better in the hands of the States. The people are more happy in small than in large States. States may indeed be too small as Rhode Island, & thereby be too subject to faction. Some others were perhaps too large, the powers of Govt. not being able to pervade them. He [Sherman] was for giving the General Govt. power to legislate and execute within a defined province.
- According to Roger Sherman of Connecticut, what were the proper tasks of the national government?
- For each of the following statements by Sherman, state whether you agree or disagree and explain why.
- “All other matters civil & criminal would be much better in the hands of the States.”
- “The people are more happy in small than in large States.”
- “States may indeed be too small as Rhode Island, & thereby be too subject to faction.”
- “Some others were perhaps too large, the powers of Govt. not being able to pervade them.”