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Delegate Positions on All Substantive Roll Calls at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787

Resource Type
Dataset : roll call voting data
  • Dougherty, Keith L. (University of Georgia)
  • Heckelman, Jac C. (Wake Forest University)
Other Title
  • Archival Version (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
Free Keywords
delegates; eighteenth century; historical data; roll call data; roll call voting records; voting behavior; voting patterns
  • Abstract

    This data set contains 5,121 yay or nay positions (including preferences) on 620 substantive motions for 55 delegates who attended the United States Constitutional Convention held in 1787. Since delegate votes were not recorded at the Constitutional Convention -- only the votes of state delegations were recorded -- delegate votes were inferred from statements made by delegates during debate, motions and seconds, and the formal rule that the vote recorded for each state was determined by the majority of its delegation. This data set also contains state positions on each motion as well as category codes for each motion. Each observation includes the roll call number, the vote recorded for the state on the motion, and the vote or preference inferred for each delegate, including information about attendance.
  • Abstract

    Coder interpretation of delegate positions were based on statements made in debate, attendance records, and the formal rule that a majority of a state's delegation determined the vote recorded for their state. Intercoder reliability was maintained through double blind coding.
  • Methods

  • Methods

    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.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • 1787-05 / 1787-09
    Time period: 1787-05--1787-09
  • 2008 / 2011
    Collection date: 2008--2011
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Delegate votes on all substantive roll calls at the Constitutional Convention.
The data set contains the universe of substantive votes at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787. Procedural votes and votes without debate were not recorded.
Collection Mode
  • Research assistance provided by Paul Carlsen, Rocky Cole, Rachel Columb, George Cone, Christopher Cotter, Brandon Kliewer, Yao Kang, Monica Petrescu, and Rebecca Sherman.

    Please see the related study "Delegate Votes on 28 Motions at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787," (ICPSR 24544) which contains important differences as compared to the current study in that it assumes delegates maintained the same position on an issue throughout their careers, which allows additional information to be used to infer delegate votes, and is limited to 28 motions. This study (ICPSR 33865) allows delegates to change positions between roll calls and only uses information if it can be tied to a specific roll call, and covers 620 substantive motions.

2016-01-27 The data and documentation for this collection have been updated to contain P.I. recodes. Funding insitution(s): National Science Foundation (SES-0752098).
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 33865 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR33865.v1
  • Carlsen, Paul D., Heckelman, Jac C.. State bloc versus individual delegate voting at the constitutional convention: Did it make a difference?. Southern Economic Journal.2015.
    • ID: 10.1002/soej.12027 (DOI)
  • Dougherty, Keith L., Bakker, Ryan. The power of the Lower South: A multidimensional analysis of the Philadelphia Convention. . 2014.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2016-01-27 | Issue Number: 7 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Dougherty, Keith L.; Heckelman, Jac C. (2012): Delegate Positions on All Substantive Roll Calls at the United States Constitutional Convention, 1787. Archival Version. Version: v0. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.