Major Plans and Compromises of the Constitutional Convention

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Major Plans and Compromises of the Constitutional Convention

Name of Plan or Compromise

The Great Compromise

3/5 Compromise (1787)

Slave Trade Compromise

Commerce Compromise

Election of the President

Name of delegate making proposal

Roger Sherman

James Wilson

Roger Sherman

John Rutledge

Roger Sherman

James Wilson

State delegate represented




South Carolina




How many representatives should each state be allowed?

Should states count slaves as part of the population in order to determine representation and taxation for the federal government?

The North worried that the South could control Congress by importing more slaves since they were now counted towards state populations in determining House representation; the South, however, feared that Congress would have too much authority over tax / commerce since slaves could be counted for tax purposes and, as a result, ban Slave Trade

Who shall regulate trade - Federal government or the state governments?

Who shall have the power to elect the president, the representatives of the legislature or the people through direct popular election?

Supporters’ view

(Arguments for)

New Jersey Plan - Small states, fearing that they’d lose power in the federal government, favored a unicameral (1-house) legislature in which each state (regardless of their size) would have equal representation in the Congress

Northern states did not want slaves to count toward the population of the South because that would take representation away from the north – felt South regarded slaves as property; therefore, they should not receive representation. For taxation purposes, however, the northern states wanted to count slaves, which would put more of a tax burden on the South

The states in the North wanted Congress to have power to regulate commerce

Northern (more industrialized) states were in favor of the federal government regulating all trade, which they viewed as essential to the smooth working of a national economy. They wanted the federal government to have the power to collect taxes / tariffs

Some delegates favored having Congress or state legislatures choose the president because they felt that a direct popular election would only lead to the election of each state’s favorite son and none would emerge with sufficient popular majority to govern the country.

Opponents’ view

(Arguments against)

Virginia Plan - Large states favored a bicameral (2-house) legislature in which the representation of each state would be based on the state’s population (so, the larger the state’s population, the more representatives it would have)

Southern states wanted to count all slaves toward the population to give them more representation in the House of Representatives, but they did not want to count slaves for the purpose of taxation because they would have to pay more taxes than the North

The Southern states did not want Congress to have the power to regulate commerce because they feared Congress would use its authority to end the slave trade. The South also believed that their agriculture-based economy would crash without slaves.

Southern states favored state control over the regulation of all trade because they feared if the federal gov’t regulated trade, there would be a federal ban on slave trade (sale of slaves) and a federal tax on agricultural exports

Some delegates supported a direct election by citizens - they felt that giving Congress the power to select the president would deny the people their right to choose.


Bicameral Congress (2 houses)

a. Senate – = representation

(was 1 per state, but now is 2)
b. House – based on population

Both agreed to count 3 out of every 5 slaves toward state populations in determining representation to the House of Representatives and for determining taxation

Congress could not end the slave trade until 1808, however any imported slaves could be taxed.
The Slave Trade was one of the causes of the Am Civil War

Federal gov’t would regulate interstate (between states) and international trade. States regulate intrastate (within a state) trade. Also, there’s to be no taxes on exports or a ban on the slave trade for 20 yrs.

The Electoral College system was set up - citizens would vote for the electors (2 senators + # of its House Reps). The electors chosen by each state would then elect the president.

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