Unit 2 Study Guide- Topic #1- Major Debates Prior to Ratification of the Constitution

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Articles of Confederation
first U.S. Government created after the Revolution in 1781
-purposely created a weak central government
-government was ineffective
Constitutional Convention- purpose
Originally convened to amend the Articles of Confederation
-12 states present debated and decided the Articles were beyond fixing
-Debates took place that led to the crafting of our second government, the U.S. Constitution
Constitutional Convention- Hamilton's Plan
Hamilton advocated for a government that was stronger than that under the AOC and with these features:
-modeled after the British Constitution
-power permanently shared between classes of people
-mutual check on power by a monarch
-democracy comes from the will of the people
Issues of power/representation in government
Who should have more power: the federal government, or the states?
-people were split over this question
-large and small states could not agree on how to be represented in government (How many votes should each state get?)
-How do you have a strong government, but represent the will of the people?
Virginia Plan
Constitutional Plan proposed by Virginia (large state); had the following features:
-three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial
-two-chamber legislature
-population determines number of votes in both chambers of Congress
-favored by large states- large states would have more influence in law-making
New Jersey Plan
Constitutional Plan proposed by New Jersey (small state); had the following features:
-three branches of government: executive, legislative, judicial
-one-chamber legislature
-each state gets equal votes in the Congress
-small states would not be overpowered by large states in Congress
-favored by small states
Constitution Solution (Great Compromise)- 1
The U.S. Constitution consists of a compromise between the Virginia and New Jersey Plans in order to gain support from both large and small states.
-two-chamber legislature (Congress)= Senate and House of Representatives
-Senate= 2 votes per state (equal voting)- favors small states
-House of Representatives= voting based on population- favors larger states
Senate (Congress)
2 votes per state (equal voting); favors small states
House of Representatives (Congress)
voting based on population- favors larger states
Constitution Solution (Great Compromise)- 2
Solved other issues from the AOC:
-all states have to treat citizens from other states the same as their own state
-Constitution can be changed if 3/4 of states agree
-Federal laws are superior to state laws= this means states have to follow the laws set forth by the national government
Three-fifths Compromise- 1
Solves the issue of how slaves should be counted in a state's population
-this would affect the number of votes a state would have in the House of Representatives (Congress)
-Southern slave-holding states wanted slaves to be counted fully towards their state population= this would give them more votes in Congress, and more influence in law-making
-Northern free states did not want slave states to have a legislative advantage
Three-fifths Compromise- 2
Compromise was made that allowed Southern slave-holding states to count slaves as three-fifths a person in their population
-this cut down on the advantage for slave-holding states in Congress, but Southern states still saw an increase in representatives due to their participation in slavery
Compromises on slavery to gain support for U.S. Constitution
Compromises were made to get the Southern slave-holding states to accept the Constitution:
-Three-fifths Compromise
-Allow importation of slaves through the slave trade to last until 1808
-Fugitive Slave Clause- runaway slaves have to be returned to the South