Constitutional Compromises

Essay by nickcarr90High School, 10th grade April 2006

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

In the spring of 1787, delegates from twelve of the thirteen colonies arrived at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with intent to revise or replace the Articles of Confederation. During the summer of 1787, these delegates drafted the Constitution, but not without difficulties. The representatives argued over the topics of representation in government, the presidency, and slavery.

There were two plans concerning representation in government: the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan. The Virginia Plan favored the states with large populations, giving them representation in government proportional to their populations in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The states with smaller populations did not like this idea so they proposed the New Jersey Plan. This plan gave every state one representative, giving all the states equal representation. The Convention could not choose both, so Roger Sherman came up with the Great Compromise, which gave proportional based population in the House of Representatives and 2 senators for each state in the Senate.

The 3/5 Compromise was a decision to count each slave as 3/5 of a person. The southern states pushed for this compromise, since a large amount of their population consisted of slaves.

Another issue up for debate was the presidency. The Virginia Plan called for a president that did the will of the legislative branch. They would have the power to veto, but could be overridden. The New Jersey Plan wanted the executive or executives to be elected by Congress. The executives would serve a single term and were subject to recall based on the request of state governors. Hamilton's British Plan suggested that we have an executive called the Governor, elected by electors chosen by the people and with a life-term of service. Few were in favor of this idea since it was too much like...