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Constitutional Convention. Unit2, Section 1. Let’s Convene a Convention. Convention was a meeting to make changes to the Articles of Confederation Held in Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”

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let s convene a convention
Let’s Convene a Convention
  • Convention was a meeting to make changes to the Articles of Confederation
    • Held in Philadelphia “for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation”
  • Delegates wanted a more effective national government
  • Began on May 25, 1787

numbers and the convention
Numbers and the Convention
  • All states sent delegates except Rhode Island
  • State legislatures appointed 74 delegates
    • Only 55 showed up
  • Of these, only 39 signed the Constitution
    • 7 were former Governors
    • 39 had served at a previous Confederation Congress
    • 8 had signed the DOI
    • 6 had signed the AOC
who was there
Who Was There?
  • Washington’s attendance assured people that the Convention could be trusted
    • He was also chosen to preside over the entire meeting
  • An 81 year old Ben Franklin added his perspective
  • To help Franklin, James Wilson read his speeches
  • The final draft was written by Gouverneur Morris
  • James Madison, of VA, took the notes we use as a history of the meeting
    • Also called the “Father of the Constitution”
how would they proceed
How Would They Proceed?
  • All states were given one vote
  • A simple majority would approve (ratify) decisions
    • No meetings could be held without at least 7 states attending
  • Meetings were closed to the public
    • They were kept private so delegates could speak freely
a basic consensus
A Basic Consensus
  • Original purpose was to revise the AOC
    • Eventually they agreed to abandon the AOC and start from scratch
  • All favored a limited, representative government
  • All agreed to a separation of powers
    • Powers divided into executive, legislative and judicial
  • All agreed that the national government’s power should be strengthened
madison s plan
Madison’s Plan
  • Madison came to the meeting with 15 resolutions called The Virginia Plan
  • It included 3 principles:
  • Stronger, two chamber legislature
    • (lower house chosen by the people, upper house chosen the lower)
    • Legislature could block laws it thought against the Constitution
  • Strong executive chosen by legislature
  • National judiciary chosen by legislature
  • Became the basis of the Constitution
patterson s plan
Patterson’s Plan
  • Two weeks later William Patterson introduced counter- proposal called The NJ Plan
  • Plan would keep the basics of the AOC:
  • One house legislature (one vote per state)
  • Congress could now impose taxes and handle trade
  • A weak executive of several leaders would be elected by the legislature
  • A national judiciary would be appointed by the executive
what about the little guy
What About the Little Guy?
  • Patterson’s plan favored smaller states
  • His plan was designed to amend the AOC, not replace them
  • Small states wanted Congress to be represented equally, with equal votes
  • Big states wanted Congress to be represented by population with proportional votes
    • More votes for a state with a bigger population
  • Eventually the NJ Plan was rejected
a connecticut compromise
A Connecticut Compromise
  • Roger Sherman and Connecticut played a key role in crafting a compromise
  • Compromise Suggested:
  • Legislature has 2 houses
  • A House of Representatives with states represented by population
    • All revenue and spending would be controlled here
  • A Senate with equal representation
    • 2 members per state
  • Large states would have advantage in House, small states protected in the Senate
who is worth 3 5s
Who Is Worth 3/5s?
  • Deciding how to be represented in the House was tricky
    • About 1/3 of the people in the south were slaves
  • Southern states wanted them counted as people to give them more clout in the House
  • But southerners did not want them counted when it came to levying taxes
    • North wanted the opposite
  • The 3/5s Compromise decided that enslaved Africans would count as 3.5s of a person
other compromises
Other Compromises
  • South favored slavery, the North did not
    • South feared the North would interfere with their economy, such as agricultural trade agreements
    • Agreed not to ban the slave trade until 1808
  • Gave Congress power to regulate commerce between the states, and with other countries
  • Word “slave” does not appear in the Constitution
  • Decided that each state would select an elector to choose the president
    • He would serve a four year term

The Constitution was signed September 17, 1787

    • Afterwards the document was submitted to the states for ratification
  • At least 9 states were needed to give approval
    • This process took 2 years
  • 2 groups materialized:
    • Federalists, who supported the Constitution and
    • Anti-Federalists, who did not
  • Favored the Constitution
  • Composed of merchants and the wealthy
  • Favored a strong central government
  • Distrusted the common man
  • Called themselves “Federalists”
    • So they seemed like they favored shared powers
  • Launched a propaganda campaign to convince people that they were right
    • 85 essays were written called the Federalist Papers
anti federalists
  • Composed of inland farmers and lower classes
  • Opposed to the Constitution without a Bill of Rights
  • Distrusted the wealthy
  • Favored more power to the states, individuals and a separation of powers
    • Feared a large central government
  • Didn’t want a United States but a States United