The Constitutional ConventionPhiladelphia: May-September 178755 Delegates
Important Delegates: • Alexander Hamilton – suggested the need for a national convention to improve the national government • George Washington - presided over the meetings
Important Delegates: - cont. • Ben Franklin – his presence encouraged participation • Edmund Randolph - proposed a new stronger national government in place of the Articles. • Gouveneur Morris – wrote the final draft of the Constitution (organized it)
Important Delegates - cont. • James Madison – creator of the Virginia plan. Often called the Father of the Constitution because he wrote the basic plan of government that the Convention adopted. • William Paterson – created the New Jersey Plan. • Roger Sherman - suggested the Great Compromise • George Mason – suggested adding a bill of rights to the Constitution
The Virginia Plan • James Madison developed the Virginia Plan. • It called for: • a bicameral or two-house legislature • a chief executive (chosen by the legislature) and • a federal court system. • Representation would be based on population. • Popular with the bigger states because: MORE PEOPLE = MORE REPRESENTATIVES
The New Jersey Plan • William Paterson proposed keeping the Articles of Confederation, but fixing the problems. Known as the New Jersey Plan. • It called for: • a one-house legislature, with one vote per state (basically staying the same) • however, Congress could tax and regulate trade and • a weak executive branch would be established with a council running it. • popular with the smaller states because: ALL STATES ARE EQUAL
Need for Compromise • Change the Articles or start over…? • On June 19, delegates agreed that it was necessary to build a new national government based on the Virginia Plan, but they still needed to solve the argument of representation.
The Great Compromise • Roger Sherman suggested a bicameral legislature that combined both plans: • A LOWER HOUSE: The House of Representatives – where Representation would be based on population (the Virginia Plan) and • A UPPER HOUSE: The Senate - where each state would have two members (the New Jersey Plan) • Both houses would have to pass all laws. • The big states and the small states were satisfied.
Need for Compromise #2 • Should slaves be counted for Representation? - The North said “No,” not while they were enslaved. - The South said “Yes.” (It would give them more power in the House.)
The Three-Fifths Compromise • After much debate, the Convention decided 3/5 of the slave population would count for taxation and representation. • 5 ENSLAVED PEOPLE=3 FREE PEOPLE • This became known as the 3/5’s Compromise.
Need for Compromise #3 • Slave Trade: • The North had banned slave trade and wanted the South to do the same. • The South considered slavery essential to their economy and were not willing to change. • Compromise: Congress could not interfere with the slave trade for at least more 20 years.
Bill of Rights • George Mason proposed that the Constitution should have a Bill of Rights, but his motion was defeated. • Most delegates felt the Constitution’s careful listing of government powers was adequate protection of individual rights • They also, believed it would be impossible to list all of the rights that people have.
Approving the Constitution • On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was signed by the delegates in Philadelphia. All delegates signed it except Elbridge Gerry, Edmund Randolph and George Mason. They insisted that it needed a Bill of Rights. • Ratification: The last decision the delegates of the Constitutional Convention made was that 9 of the 13 states would have to ratify the Constitution in order for it to become the new law of the land.
Ratification • Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution on December 7, 1787. • By June 1788, the Constitution was ratified by the 9 states it needed to pass. • However, among the four states that had not ratified it were New York and Virginia. • With Patrick Henry leading the way, these states refused to ratify it until a bill of rights was added. • After promising to add a bill of rights, the Constitution was eventually ratified by all 13 states.