Constitutional Convention

Morgan Gose

What was the Constitutional Convention?

The gathering that drafted the Constitution of the United States in 1787; all states were invited to send delegates. Seeking to resolve these issues, representatives of all states but Rhode Island assembled to construct a more efficient, centralized, and effective government.

The Virginia Plan


Delegate James Madison's plan of government, in which states got a number of representatives in Congress based on their population. The plan traced the broad outlines of what would become the US Constitutional: a national government consisting of the three branches with checks and balances. It would prevent the abuse of power. It describes 2 houses with one member elected by the people for a 3-year term.

James Madison

James Madison in his later years, America's fourth President (1809-1817), made a major contribution to the ratification of the Constitution by writing The Federalist Papers, along with Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In later years, he was referred to as the "Father of the Constitution."
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Edmund Randolph

Lived from 1753-1813. He was a Virginia lawyer who served in the Continental army as aide-de-camp to George Washington. He was a member of the Virginia Constitutional Convention of 1776. He was a state attorney general, a delegate to the Continental Congress, and governor of Virginia.
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New Jersey Plan

Opposite of the Virginia Plan, it proposed a single-chamber congress in which each state had one vote. This created a conflict with representation between bigger states, who wanted control befitting their population, and smaller states, who didn't want to be bullied by larger states. Most smaller states supported this plan more than the Virginia Plan.

William Patterson

Born in Ireland in 1745, William Paterson was a delegate to the New Jersey Constitutional Convention of 1776. From 1776 to 1783, he served as the state's attorney general. He sided with the Virginia Plan helping to make it change the world.
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Alexander Hamilton

He was a Founding Father of the United States, the chief staff aide to General George Washington, and one of the most influential interpreters and promoters of the U.S. Constitution. He agreed with the New Jersey plan as well. He was from one of the smaller surrounding states as well, New York.
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Problems at the Convention

First, how to allow states to vote on issues in the Congress, equally or by population. Second, how to count slaves for both representation and taxation. Third, how to elect the President and set his term. It was very difficult decisions to make because to please everyone is next to impossible so compromises were introduced to make America better.