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The Great Compromise

America's First Stepping Stone

Penelope Hough

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of The Great Compromise

The Great Compromise By Penelope Hough PD 5 What Inspired the Great Compromise? After winning the Revolutionary War, The new United States had to set up a form of Government, the Articles of Confederation. Congress agreed that the government should be a republic. However, delegates disagreed about many things like, how Representation amongst states would work, and who would control the land west of the Appalachian Mountains. Eventually, the decision was made that each state would have 1 vote in Congress, and the national government controlled the West. The Articles were finally ratified in 1781. The Virginia Plan The New Jersey Plan When Virginia arrived at the Constitutional Convention 2 weeks early, this is the plan they had come up with. It proposed three branches: Executive-to enforce the laws, Legislative-to create the laws, and Judicial-to interpret the laws. In the legislative branch, there would be two houses, both where representation was based on state population. This plan also gave the central government more powers. James Madison was the leader of this plan, but it was presented at the beginning of the convention by Edmund Randolph. The Articles Strengths The Articles of Confederation described the Land of Ordinance for 1785. They clearly stated that surveyors were to stake out 6 square mile plots of land called townships in Western lands, known as Northwest Territory. That territory included land from current states Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and part of Minnesota. The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 described how Northwest Territory was to be governed. It set conditions for settlement, outlined settlers rights, and modeled the pattern for orderly growth of the country. This method was copied for every other state created in the United States. The Articles Weaknesses Congress did not require troops from the States
The States had their own list of individual rights
There weren't taxes regulated for the entire country
Different currencies in each state caused over inflation
States had too much power
Federal government could not enforce its laws.
The Federal government could not regulate trade. Constitutional Convention Shay's Rebellion This caused the government to form the..... As a result of the Articles poor power distribution, Shays' Rebellion broke out. In Massachusetts, the average family owed $200 in taxes per year, more than most farmers' salaries. Debt laws were strict, if not paid, property was auctioned off and the debtor was put in jail. Farmers rebelled when Massachusetts legislatures didn't provide debt relief. An army veteran, Daniel Shays, led 1500 men. When Shays' men tried to take over a federal arsenal, they lost to the state militia, but gained sympathy from other citizens. America's leaders decided it was time for a change. In 1786, Alexander Hamilton called for all states to send delegates to Philadelphia the following May to discuss the changing of the Articles of Confederation. Every state except Rhode Island agreed to join. Since there were torrential downpours, transportation to the Convention was difficult for far away states. Virginia, arriving a few weeks early, was able to plan what they wanted to present to the convention in advance. So in May 1787, 55 delegates mostly composed of wealthy planters, lawyers, merchants and doctors, along with the Founding Fathers like George Washington, Ben Franklin, and James Madison, joined to supposedly revise the Articles of Confederation. To start off the convention, George Washington was unanimously voted president of the Convention. Complete secrecy had to be kept, so all doors and windows were closed and there were guards at the door. All the delegates agreed that they need to protect the peoples rights, and that they needed to set up a strong but limited government. Many states presented ideas, but two plans were what was debated for so long. What Did the Large States Think?
The large states, or ones with a higher population, strongly approved this plan. They liked that their state would get high representation because their population was higher. What Did the Small States Think? The smaller states with smaller populations strongly opposed this plan. They felt they would not be properly represented in Congress because they would not have as many delegates there as the other states. The smaller states were not satisfied with the Virginia Plan. John Dickinson voiced that the smaller states wanted a legislative branch that based representation on one vote per state. William Paterson presented the Virginia plan on June 15. It agreed with the 3 branches of government, but called for one house in the legislature instead of 2. That one house would base representation on 1 state=1 vote. It also did not give legislature broad powers. What Did the Large States Think? The larger states strongly opposed this plan. They thought it was unfair that their representation was the same as the smaller states, even though they have a higher population. They thought that since they have more people to represent, that they need more of a voice in congress. What Did the Small States Think? The small states strongly supported this plan because they would not risk getting less representation than any of the larger states. They knew that with this plan, all states would have an equal amount of votes in Congress and everything would be done "fairly". Since Both Plans Were Under Consideration.. The Constitutional Convention decided to have a vote: Virginia Plan VS. New Jersey Plan. The delegates voted on these plans on June 19. The Virginia Plan won, but the smaller states would not give up their fight for fairer representation. Out of desperation, the delegates selected a committee to come up with a
compromise. Also known as the Connecticut Compromise, the Great Compromise was created by selected delegates such as Benjamin Franklin and Robert Sherman. It kept the three branches of government: executive, legislative and judicial. It also fixed the legislative branch so that the large and small states would have equal representation. To Satisfy the Larger States, The Committee decided to make one of the houses in the legislature solely based on population. That was called The House of Representatives. To Satisfy the Smaller States The Committee added another house to the legislature based solely on equality: 1 state=1 vote. This was called the Senate. By The End of the Constitutional Convention A new Constitution was written. It clearly outlined the powers of the states, the central government, how states would be represented, and more. Even though it took quite an effort to ratify the Constitution, it was finally approved in 1790 when Rhode Island was the last state to ratify it. By then, America was already on its way.
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