Constitutional Snapshot

Erika Ingold

Constitutional Convention

This convention met in the year 1787. They all wanted to give Congress more power. The only people that were in attendance at this convention were white, male landowners. All theses people had difference views on what they wanted for the government. Some wanted a republic and others wanted a federal system. When they all came together James Madison thought that the best way to make a government was to have there be three branches. All the power would be split among the three branches. Congress would make the powers, another branch would carry out the laws, and another one would settle all the arguments. Another problem that was taken care of was the amount of representatives a state would have. Some thought that it should be a certain amount per state, while others wanted it based on the population. Roger Sherman had a brilliant idea to fix this problem that included saying everyone in Congress would have the same number of representative, while in the House of Representatives they would have representatives based on the population.

Before ratifying the constitution Antifederalists wanted a Bill of Rights to be added. This was to protect people'e liberties. Finally the Federalist, who supported the constitution to begin with, agreed to ass the Bill of Rights. Finally in June 1788 nine states agreed to ratify the Constitution.

Virginia Plan

This was a plan that was presented at the Constitutional Convention that was James Madison's ideas. This was the idea the the Articles of Confederation would be changed dramatically and the National Government would become stronger than ever. This included collecting taxes, and make and enforce laws. In this plan the state and national government would have a separation of powers. The separation of powers included a legislative, executive, and judicial branch. Among that there would also be a bicameral legislative that included the Congress and the House of Representatives to separate power.

Supporters of the Virginia Plan

New Jersey Plan

This was a proposed plan that was made up from delegates from New Jersey, Connecticut, New York and Delaware. This was a detailed plan that wanted only one house legislature. On top of that they thought that there should be equal representation of representatives. That all states should have the same amount of power. This also called for a separation of powers that were the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. With that they wanted this to put new ideas out there for the delegates to think about so that the bigger states couldn't become too powerful.

Supporters of the New Jersey Plan

Problems about the Convention

The smaller and bigger states were having a difficult time coming up with a government that they all agreed upon. Each side offered what they thought it should be. After a while of discussing the New Jersey Plan was rejected the convention came to a dead lock. To resolve all of these problems that neither side was will to budge they gave up and compromised. The first compromise was the 'Great Compromise.' This included a bicameral legislature that had one house based on population and one with two representatives from each state. With that one house was voted upon by the people and the other voted on by the states delegates. Another problem that had to be resolved was the slavery issue. Would slaves be counted in the population or not? To resolve this problem they came up with the three-fifths compromise where five slaves would count as three free people.


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