Presentation on theme: "The Constitutional Convention. The Constitutional Convention begins Took place in 1787, in Philadelphia Took place in 1787, in Philadelphia Delegates."— Presentation transcript:
The Constitutional Convention begins Took place in 1787, in Philadelphia Took place in 1787, in Philadelphia Delegates from all the states were invited Delegates from all the states were invited to try to fix the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation 55 Delegates attended, with only Rhode Island failing to send a delegate 55 Delegates attended, with only Rhode Island failing to send a delegate
George Washington was asked to preside (lead) over the convention; James Madison kept notes of the discussions and is often called “The Father of the Constitution.” The men who wrote the Constitution are called the “Founding Fathers.” The participants in the Convention were all wealthy, white, males.
The Founding Fathers These men quickly agreed that the Articles of Confederation couldn’t be fixed; they would have to come up with a totally new government. They decided to keep that decision a secret, since they didn’t have the permission of the States or Congress to form a new government; essentially they were committing treason.
Issues that divided the Fathers The power of the federal government. Would the states or the federal government have the most power? Representation in Congress (How many members in Congress would each state get?) – small states wanted equal representation, large states wanted it to be determined by population of the states Slavery How would slaves be counted? Would the slave trade continue?
The Power of the Federal Government The delegates knew that they needed a stronger central government. The delegates knew that they needed a stronger central government. Some feared a national government would be too strong, limiting states’ rights. Some feared a national government would be too strong, limiting states’ rights. Others feared that states' rights would prevent a strong, central government (which was happening under the Articles). Others feared that states' rights would prevent a strong, central government (which was happening under the Articles). A compromise created federalism: A compromise created federalism: a strong central government with specific powers, and strong states with their own, specific powers.
Representation in Congress Larger states wanted representation to be based on population Larger states wanted representation to be based on population Smaller states wanted equal representation Smaller states wanted equal representation Neither group was willing to accept anything else Neither group was willing to accept anything else
Called for 3 branches of government. The legislative, executive, & judicial powers would all be separate. Legislative branch would have 2 houses (bicameral), & representation in both houses would be based on the population of a state. Some states, especially smaller ones, had problems with this plan. The Virginia Plan
New Jersey Plan Only 1 branch-legislative. Executive powers would be held by a group chosen by Congress & who could be recalled by Congress (under Congress’ control). Judicial powers would be held by a Tribunal chosen by the Executive group (so still under Congress’ control) Congress would be unicameral (one house), each state getting one vote, regardless of population. Small states like the plan, the large states hate it.
Compromises Since the small states refused to endorse the Virginia Plan, and the large states refused to get behind the New Jersey Plan, a compromise was needed. Since Slave states and Free states had very different views on slavery (and how to count slaves, for Congressional representation) a compromise was needed in this area. Since Industrial and Agricultural states had different views on trade & commerce, compromise was needed here, as well.
The Great Compromise Would settle the issue of state representation in Congress. Congress would have two houses: A House of Representatives and a Senate House of Representatives - based on the population of each state Senate - two senators per each state (equally represented) Suggested by the Connecticut delegation, so it’s also known as the Connecticut Compromise
The Great Compromise The Senate would be viewed as the “upper” house, but the House of Representative would be given “the power of the purse,” which meant they would initiate any new bills about how the government would spend its money (or tax citizens). It also settled the questions of separation of powers by having 3 separate branches. Suggested by the Connecticut delegation, so it’s also known as the Connecticut Compromise
Slavery Founding Fathers saw the contradiction between slavery and the sentiments of the Declaration of Independence, but the South was dependant on slavery for it’s economic success. The South wanted the institution of slavery protected, AND they wanted slaves to be included in determining population (to get more representation in the House of Representatives).
Slavery The Southern states refused to support the Constitution unless the slave trade was protected and slaves were counted as part of their population. The Northern states had no choice. If they wanted a Constitution, they would have to give the Southern states (some of) what they wanted. This would lead to the two additional compromises: the 3/5 compromise, & the Commerce & Slave Trade compromise
Three-Fifths Compromise The 3/5 Compromise - Made each slave worth 3/5 of a person when determining population to decide numbers in House of Representatives. It also made each slave worth 3/5 of a person when determining any direct taxes levied by Congress on the states.
Commerce & Slave Trade Compromise Congress was forbidden the power to tax the export of goods from any state. Congress is also forbidden to act on the slave trade for a period of at least 20 years. **In 1808 (20 years later), Congress banned the slave trade. In exchange, the Southern delegates agreed to support the new Constitution.
Finalizing the Constitution The compromises necessary resulted in a document that no delegate was 100% happy with, but that most of the delegates could support. Benjamin Franklin said "I confess that There are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve them.... I doubt too whether any other Convention we can obtain, may be able to make a better Constitution.” On September 17, 1787, 55 delegates signed the final draft of the Constitution It was sent to the individual states for ratification Became the new government on June 21 1788, when New Hampshire became the 9 th state to ratify it.