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.
The Honorable member then observed, that nations will expend millions for commercial advantages—That is, that they will deprive you of every advantage if they can. Apply this another way.—Their cheaper way—instead of laying out millions in making war upon you, will be to corrupt your Senators. I know that if they be not above all price, they may make a sacrifice of our commercial interests. They may advise your President to make a treaty that will not only sacrifice all your commercial interests, but throw prostrate your Bill of Rights. Does he fear (that) their ships will out number ours on the ocean, or that nations whose interest comes in contrast with ours, in the progress of their guilt, will perpetrate the vilest expedients to exclude us from a participation in commercial advantages? Does he advise us, in order to avoid this evil, to adopt a Constitution, which will enable such nations to obtain their ends by the more easy mode of contaminating the principles of our Senators? Sir, if our Senators will not be corrupted it will be because they will be good men; and not because the Constitution provides against corruption, for there is no real check secured in it, and the most abandoned and profligate acts may with impunity be committed by them.