Do you know what role Georgia played in the Constitutional Convection of 1787? Do you know who William Few or Abraham Baldwin is? Do you know what the Great Compromise is? These are all great questions to ask so that we could learn more about Georgia’s history.
In the summer of 1787 they set up what was called the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and this was so that they could revise, or re-do, the Articles of Confederation. The reasons they wanted to revise, or re-do, the Articles of Confederation was because: the economy was shaky, there was trade between the states, they needed to boost their economy, there was no common currency, and the states were fight amongst each other. Also, there were many weaknesses as well such as: no president, no court system, they couldn’t regulate trade, and there was no equal vote.
So as a result each state sent delegates to represent them except for Rhode Island. Georgia sent four delegates to represent us and those representatives were William Pierce, William Houston, William Few, and Abraham Baldwin. Here, they set up an entirely new government, but the two most important things that Georgia representatives wanted to ensure that happened with the new constitution was to ban slavery and have a strong central government. The new constitution gave the central government 3 branches of government, but the problem that the all the delegates faced while dealing with the issue of representation was how to vote. They decided to have a voting between the New Jersey Plan and the Virginia Plan.
The New Jersey plan was proposed by William Paterson, and this plan would represent the small states. If you voted for this plan then the national government branches would be legislative, executive, and judicial, but the branches will be controlled by a weak central government. Also, the legislature would be a unicameral, but the membership would be based upon equal representation.
Unlike the New Jersey Plan, the Virginia Plan was proposed by James Madison, and this plan would represent the large states. Just like the New Jersey Plan the Virginia Plan would have the same branches of government, but the branches would be controlled by the division of power between the central and local governments. Also, their legislature would be a bicameral legislature, but the membership would be based upon proportional representation, or based on population.
When it was Georgia’s turn to vote Abraham Baldwin’s decision impacted a lot to both of the plans. He decided to vote for the New Jersey Plan so that it would be a tie between both plans. Since, they were tied they came up with what is known as the Connecticut Plan or the Great Compromise. This compromise would have a little of both plans. It was proposed by a special committee and it would have the 3 branches of government. The branches will be controlled by shared power between the central and local government which created a federal government. Also, it would be a bicameral legislature (Senate and House of Representatives). The Senate would be based upon equal representation, but the House of Representatives would be based on population.
Then on January 2, 1788 the new U.S. Constitution was signed. Only two out of the four delegates of Georgia signed the constitution and they were Abraham Baldwin and William Few, but there were conditions that led to Georgia signing it. The Bill of Rights was added and the executive branch didn’t have total control. So as a result they created to things and they were the separation of powers and check and balances. The separation of powers was when the U.S. constitution separated the powers of the branches of government so none can overpower the other. Just in case a branch does over power this is why they created the check and balances system. The branches were given power to check the other branches so that the power is balances for all. As you can see you can learn many things about Georgia. We just have to open a book and keep reading.