US AP History
9 October 2014
The Constitution: Self-interest or Agreement
The Constitution is undoubtedly one of the best political documents ever written. The brightest minds of the century all got together to make a few changes to the Articles of Confederation, but instead they created a document that adapted to change rather than needing it. The arguments on how the government would work were not instantly resolved, nor were they small issues. The delegates of each state had their own self-interests - or rather state-interests - and wanted their thoughts to be on the Constitution. The document was not based on self-interest however, but instead on the agreement of the compromise of their self-interests.
The delegates of the Philadelphia Convention represented broad political and economic views, and compromise could not be simply reached among the large spectrum of beliefs. Without a doubt they all wanted a better government, but creating one from scratch wasn't merely simple.
There was excessive friction because of the arguments formed when making the Constitution, but each time compromise would develop.
The issue of representation in the legislature was one of the major issues. The Virginia Plan had a bicameral legislature that was based on population of the states for representation, and that instantly started arguments. The smaller states would be less powerful in this government, and the larger ones would have much more power than the smaller ones. The smaller states didn't want less representation in the government, and their own plan was proposed. The New Jersey Plan would have even representation in the government, and it was liked much more by the smaller states. Neither plans based on self-interest would win this battle - the lines between even representation and representation based on population were holding firm...