A blog collecting every use of the term “corruption” among the records of the Framers. Submitted to the Supreme Court as an appendix to an amicus brief by Lawrence Lessig for the Constitutional Accountability Center.
To argue against the use of a thing from the abuse of it, had long since been exploded by all sensible people. It was true that the President, with the concurrence of two thirds of the Senate, might make treaties; and it was possible that ten senators might constitute the two thirds, but it was just within the reach of possibility, and a possibility from whence no danger could be apprehended. If the President or the senators abused their trust, they were liable to impeachment and punishment; and the fewer that were concerned in the abuse of the trust, the more certain would be the punishment. In the formation of this article, the delegates had done their duty fully; they had provided that two thirds of the Senate should concur in the making of treaties. If the states should be negligent in sending their senators, it would be their own fault, and the injury would be theirs, not the framers of the Constitution; but it they were not negligent, they would have more than their share. Is it not astonishing that the gentleman who is so strenuous an advocate for the powers of the people, should distrust the people the moment that power is given to them, and should found his objections to this article in the corruption of the representatives of the people, and in the negligence of the people themselves? If such objections as these have any weight, they tend to the destruction of all confidence—the withholding of all power—the annihilation of all government. Mr. Rutledge insisted that we had our full share in the House of Representatives, and that the gentleman’s fears of the northern interest prevailing at all times were ill-founded. The Constitution had provided for a census of the people, and the number of representatives was to be directed by the number of the people in the several states; this clause was highly favorable to the southern interest. Several of the Northern States were already full of people; it was otherwise with us; the migrations to the south were immense, and we should, in the course of a few years, rise high in our representation, whilst other states would keep their present position.