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The Constitutional Convention May 1787 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Who was there? 55 delegates Lawyers, physicians, generals, governors, planters, and a college president Well educated All states represented,except Rhode Island George Washington Presided over meeting

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The constitutional convention l.jpg

The Constitutional Convention

May 1787

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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Who was there?

  • 55 delegates

  • Lawyers, physicians, generals, governors, planters, and a college president

  • Well educated

  • All states represented,except Rhode Island

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George Washington

  • Presided over meeting

  • Gave the meeting greater significance

  • Would later become the first president of the United States

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Benjamin Franklin

  • Oldest delegate (80 years old)

  • Like Washington, was well respected and added a positive presence to the meetings

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Gouverneur Morris

  • Powerful speaker and writer

  • Wrote the Preamble

  • Wrote final draft of Constitution

  • Tried to get Constitutional Convention to ban slavery

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James Madison

  • Father of the Constitution

  • His notes became the best record of what happened at the convention.

  • Supporter of strong central government

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Edmund Randolph

  • Governor of Virginia

  • Proposed creating strong national government instead of rewriting Articles

  • Introduced Virginia Plan to convention

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William Paterson

  • Presented the New Jersey plan, a plan that revised the Articles of Confederation

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Roger Sherman

  • Proposed a compromise to the New Jersey and Virginia plan which came to be known as The Great Compromise

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What Influenced the Framers?

  • English Parliamentary Traditions

    • The Magna Carta (1215)

    • The English Bill of Rights (1689)

  • Enlightenment Thinkers

    • John Locke

      • Natural Rights

    • Baron de Montesquieu

      • Separation of Powers

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Debates, Decisions and Compromises

  • Convention began by choosing George Washington to preside over meetings.

  • Each state would have one vote on all questions.

  • The delegates decided to keep all the sessions secret. This made it possible for the delegates to talk freely.

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The Virginia Plan

  • Proposed by Edmund Randolph

  • Two-house (bicameral) legislature

  • Members of the lower house elected by the people

  • Members of the upper house elected by the lower house

  • Number of representatives would be proportional to the population of each state

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The New Jersey Plan

  • Proposed by William Paterson

  • Kept Confederation’s One-House legislature

  • Gave Congress the power to tax and regulate trade

  • Congress would elect a weak executive branch consisting of more than one person

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The Great Compromise

  • Suggested by Roger Sherman

  • Two-House legislature

  • Lower House (House of Representatives)

    • Membership would be proportional to population of the state

  • Upper House (Senate)

    • Each state would have two members

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Slavery Issue

  • Northern states wanted to ban slavery throughout the nation

  • Southern states considered slavery essential to their economies

  • It was agreed that Congress would not interfere with the slave trade until 1808

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The 3/5 Compromise

  • Southern states wanted slaves to be counted as population for the purpose of representation in the House of Representatives

  • Northerners wanted slaves to be counted as property and taxed

  • Compromise—slaves would be counted as 3/5 of a free person for the purpose of taxation AND representation

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  • 9 out of 13 states had to ratify (approve) the Constitution

  • Federalists-supporters of the Constitution

    • James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay defended the Constitution in The Federalist Papers

  • Anti-Federalists-opposed ratification

    • Lacked a bill of rights to protect individual freedoms

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Adopting the Constitution

  • June 21, 1788—New Hampshire (the 9th state) ratified the Constitution

  • June 25, 1788—Virginia ratified the Constitution

  • June 26, 1788—New York ratified the Constitution

  • November 1789—Constitution ratified by North Carolina

  • May 1790—Constitution ratified by Rhode Island