The Constitutional Convention



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Terms of the Compromise

*Roger Sherman (CT) worked out a compromise, which came to be known as the Great Compromise.
*Great Compromise

~two-house Congress

~lower house, called House of Representatives

*based on population (to please large states)

*bigger states would have more votes

*representatives elected by the people

*representatives would serve two years

~upper house, called the Senate

*based on equal representation (to please

small states)

*each states would have two votes

*senators chosen by state legislatures

*representative would serve six-years

*Small states were now willing to support a strong central gov’t.
Debates Over Slavery

*Issue that divided the delegates most was slavery.

Three-Fifths Compromise

*Southern delegates wanted slaves to be counted to determine population. This would increase the number of representatives they had in the House.

*Northern delegates said that since slaves could not vote, they should not be counted toward the slave’s representation.
*Congress agreed to the Three-Fifths Compromise. Each enslaved person would count as three-fifths of a free person. Ex. 500 slaves would count as 300 free people. Although this was beneficial to the South, the North agreed to this in order to keep the South in the Union.

*Three-Fifths Compromise preserved slavery as it distinguished between free and “all other persons”

Slave Trade

*Northern delegates wanted to ban buying and selling of slaves anywhere in country.

*Southern delegates stated that banning slavery would ruin the South’s economy.

*Compromise: ships could bring slaves into US for 20 years. After 1808, Congress could ban importation of slaves, but slaves could be sold/traded within the US.
A New Constitution

*A Committee of Style was appointed to write the final wording of the Constitution.

*Gouverneur Morris was largely responsible for writing the Preamble, or introduction.

*The Preamble highlights the differences between the Articles (a group of separate states) and the Constitution (takes its authority from the people instead of from the states.
Review Questions
*Why did delegates to the Constitutional Convention keep their debates secret?
They wanted to be able to freely speak their minds.
*How was the national government organized under the Virginia Plan?
It called for three branches of government and representation based on state population.
*What was the main difference between the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan?
The Virginia Plan called for a two-house legislature with more representation for larger states; the New Jersey Plan called for a one-house legislature with equal representation for all states.
*What was the Three-Fifths Compromise?
An agreement that for purposes of representation and taxation, each enslaved person would count as three-fifths of a person.
*What is the difference of the Constitution’s first phrase: “We the People of the United States”?
It demonstrates that the government is based on the consent of the people.


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