COMMERCE POWER AND THE STATES
REMOVAL OF RESTRICTIONS ON commercial relations imposed by the "sovereign" states was a moving cause of the Philadelphia Convention. For protection against these burdens, Madison, as a member of the Continental Congress, had advocated general authority over commerce. Later on he was conspicuous among those who set in motion the sequence of events leading to the successful meeting at Philadelphia. There seems to be no doubt that the commerce clause was inserted in the Constitution primarily to prevent the states from interfering with the freedom of commercial intercourse. Yet all the plans offered by the Convention apparently envisioned positive power in the national government to regulate commerce, and subsequent developments have converted this clause into a most important source of national authority. But the records of the Convention of 1787 afford no conclusive answer as to whether this was the intention of those who framed the Constitution. There was, however, general disinclination to impose restrictions.
It is proper, General Pinckney commented, that "no fetter should be imposed on the power of making commercial regulations . . .