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“Convention and Compromise”

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1 “Convention and Compromise”
Chapter 7 Section 2

2 Economic Depression When the Rev. War ended, the US went through a depression –a period when economic activity slowed and unemployment increased. Farmers struggled to pay the levied money that the states required in order to help get the country out of debt. Farmers couldn’t sell their goods and much of the farm land had been damaged during the war. When farmers couldn’t pay, many of them were thrown in jail and the farms seized to pay their debt. Daniel Shays organized a revolt of 1,000 farmers in Massachusetts. Their aim was go to the courthouse and threaten judges until they got their way. The state militia met them in an attempt to stop them they fired over the farmers heads. They didn’t stop. The militia then fired into the crowd, killing 4 farmers. Everyone scattered and the rebellion was over. Shay’s Rebellion frightened many Americans because they thought the government could not control unrest and prevent violence.

3 Issue of Slavery From all states except Georgia and S. Carolina outlawed or heavily taxed the importation of enslaved people. Slavery was not as common in the north, but it existed and was legal. CT, RI, NY & NJ passed laws that gradually ended slavery. Although slavery was ended in these places, free African Americans still faced discrimination. Many were barred from public places, & few states gave them the right to vote. Children of free African Americans had to attend separate schools. States south of PA clung to the idea of slavery. The plantation system of the south was built on slavery and southerners feared that their economy could not survive without it. Nonetheless, a large number of slaveholders started freeing enslaved people they held after the war. Abolition of slavery in the North divided the country on the issue of whether people should be allowed to hold other human beings in bondage

4 A Call for Change Although the 13 colonies had won their independence, they were acting like 13 separate countries. James Madison (a VA planter) and Alexander Hamilton (a NY lawyer) were both very active in the movement for change in the government. Hamilton wanted to call a convention in Philadelphia to discuss trade issues. He also wanted to discuss what possible changes were needed to make the Constitution meet the needs of the Union (all 13 states). In the beginning, George Washington was not in favor of revising the Articles of Confederation. When he heard of Shay’s Rebellion, he decided changes were needed and decided to attend the convention in Philadelphia. James Madison Alexander Hamilton

5 Constitutional Convention
The meeting began in May 1787, and continued throughout the summer (which was one of the hottest on record). There were 55 delegates – planters, merchants, lawyers, physicians, generals, governors, and a college presidents. Three of the delegates were under 30 yrs. and one, Benjamin Franklin was 81. At a time when only 1 white man out of 1,000 went to college, 26 of the delegates had college degrees. George Washington was chosen (unanimously) to preside over the meeting. Each state would have one vote on all questions. The majority would make the decision. No meeting could be held unless delegates from 7 of the 13 states were present. Goal was to change the plan of government

6 Virginia Plan Proposal made by Edmund Randolph, but largely the work of James Madison (often called the Father of the Constitution). Plan called for a two-house legislature, a chief executive chose by the legislature and a court system. Members of the lower house of the legislature would be elected by the people. Member of the upper house would be chosen by the lower house. In both houses, the number would be proportional—corresponding in size, to each state’s population. Less populated states objected—they preferred the Confederation system in which all states were represented equally!

7 New Jersey Plan Proposal made by William Paterson.
Plan kept the Confederation’s one-house legislature, with one vote from each state. Congress could set taxes and regulate trade. This plan was designed to amend the Articles of Confederation, which was all the convention had the power to do. Largely populated states were against this plan.

8 Compromise Wins Out June 19th the states voted to work toward a national government based on the Virginia Plan, but they still had to resolve the issue of representation of small vs. large states. Roger Sherman suggested “The Great Compromise”. The plan suggested a two-house legislature. In the lower house- the House of Representatives-the number of seats for each state would vary according to the state’s population. In the upper house-the Senate-each state would have two members.

9 Three-Fifths Compromise
Southern states wanted to count slaves as people in order to gain more representatives in the House. Northern states objected to this idea because slaves were legally considered property. Neither side considered giving enslaved people the right to vote~ Three-Fifths Compromise was introduced with the idea that for every five slaves, they would count as three free people. July 12 the convention delegates voted to approve the Three-Fifths Compromise and four days later they decided each state should elect two Senators

10 Bill of Rights George Mason proposed a Bill of Rights to be added to the Constitution…he believed that without the protection of a Bill of Rights, the new National Government might abuse its power. The proposal was defeated because many believed the Constitution defined the governments powers and their would be adequate protection of individual rights.

11 Approving the Constitution
Sept 17, 1787 the delegates met in the State House to sign the Constitution. The Confederation Congress sent the approved draft of the Constitution to the states for consideration. The delegates agreed to change the approval process for the Constitution. 9 of 13 states had to agree in order for the approval of the new government of the US to come into existence.

12 Vocabulary Manumission: Freeing enslaved people
Depression: Period when economic activity is slow and unemployment increases. Compromise: Agreement between two or more sides in which each side gives up some of what it wants.

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