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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

This note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0002
139. The convention relabeled this last part of the Constitution “Chapter VI,” and completely revised and greatly expanded it. The new chapter's Art. I, which contained the oaths of officeholding, drew upon and expanded parts of the Report's Chapter III, Sect. I (on the governor), and Sect. 3 (the Council). Art. II applied the prohibition against plural officeholding made in Chapter IV of the Report (the judiciary) far more broadly and in much greater detail. Art. III came from Chapter III, Sect. 2 (lieutenant governor); and Arts. IV–VIII from Chapter V (delegates to congress, etc.). The specific articles or parts of articles transferred are indicated in the notes to those chapters and sections. The Report's “Chapter VII. and last” then became Art. IX of the new chapter, and the convention added Arts. X and XI. Art. X provided for amendment of the Constitution by a procedure to be instituted in 1795. JA had neglected to include a scheme for amendment, presumably through oversight. According to William Gordon, JA had delivered a speech in an early session of the convention in which he argued that “it was impossible for human wisdom to form a Plan of Government that should suit all future emergencies, and that therefore periodical revisions were requisite” (Independent Chronicle, 4 May 1780). Art. XI provided for enrolling the constitution on parchment and depositing it in the secretary's office.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.