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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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Constitutional convention

Constitutional Convention

Unit2, Section 1

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

Constitutional convention

  • 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