The Plan for Government

A Guide to the U.S. Constitution in Summer of 1787

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Separation of Powers

Instead of a government with just one branch, Congress, why not create a government with three branches to protect against bad government?

* Legislative Branch- makes laws

* Executive Branch- carry out laws

* Judicial Branch- interpret laws

Why a New Government?

The government had little power and the economy wasn't organized.

Not allowed to tax and gain wealth.

Shay's Rebellion and Trade Barriers.

Congress has no power.

Issue of Representation

This was how the states were represented by 2 plans.

* New Jersey Plan- same power for all

* Virginia Plan- based on size of population

Congress was divided into 2 chambers:

* Senate- each state gets 2 votes no matter what size it is

* House of Representatives- the more people a state has, the more votes it gets.

Issue of Slavery

Should Population Count Slaves?

*Southern Delegates- YES

*Northern Delegates- NO

Three-Fifths Compromise

*3/5 of slaves count as population

*slave trade protected for 20 years

The Delegates

55 White Males

Representatives of the colonies


*George Washington

*Benjamin Franklin

*James Madison

*Alexander Hamilton

Issue of States and Federal Power

System of Federation Created

Power divided between state/federal.

*State Powers- Reserved Powers

Education, Marriage laws, Trade, etc

*National Powers- Delegated Powers

Foreign issues, trade between states, national defense, coining money, etc

How can the Government be changed?

Could have added amendments

2/3 of the House and Senate agree

2/3 of States agree at convertion