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Constitutional Convention

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

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  1. Constitutional Convention Unit2, Section 1

  2. 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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uihNc_tdGbk

  3. 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

  4. 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”

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. Federalists • 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

  15. 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

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