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Delegate Votes on 28 Motions at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787 (ICPSR 24544)

Principal Investigator(s): Dougherty, Keith , University of Georgia; Heckelman, Jac C., Wake Forest University


This data set contains delegate votes on 28 motions at the United States Constitutional Convention held in 1787. Nine of the motions are related to slavery, sixteen come from a disparate list created by McDonald (1958), and four are related to public debt and currency issues (one of which is also in the second category). Since individual delegate votes were not recorded at the Constitutional Convention -- only the votes of entire state delegations were recorded -- delegate votes were inferred from delegate statements found in debates, speeches, manuscripts, and other sources, as well as the formal rule that each state's vote is determined by the majority of its delegation. Each observation includes the delegate's name, state, ICPSR-supplied state code, state vote on the motion, and the vote inferred for the delegate on the motion. The codebook describes the motion, the method by which each delegate's vote was inferred, the date of the vote, relevant pages in the Records of the Federal Convention (Farrand 1966), and the frequency of the yeas, nays, and related codes.

Access Notes

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Study Description


Dougherty, Keith , and Jac C. Heckelman. Delegate Votes on 28 Motions at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787. ICPSR24544-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-24. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24544.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR24544.v1

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  • EndNote XML (EndNote X4.0.1 or higher)


This study was funded by:

  • National Science Foundation (SES-0752098)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    currencies, delegates, eighteenth century, historical data, national debt, roll call data, roll call voting records, slavery, voting behavior, voting patterns

Geographic Coverage:    United States

Time Period:   

  • 1787-05--1787-09

Date of Collection:   

  • 2004-06-01--2007-09-01

Unit of Observation:    individual

Universe:    Delegate votes on 28 motions at the United States Constitutional Convention held in 1787.

Data Type(s):    roll call voting data


Sample:    The full population of delegates who attended the United States Constitutional Convention in 1787.

Weight:    none

Response Rates:    An average of 42 delegates attended across the 28 motions studied. On average, votes for 60 percent of the attending delegates were recovered.

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


Original ICPSR Release:   2009-06-24

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