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Shay's Rebellion

a revolt of poor farmers, many of whom were Revolutionary veterans, who were losing their land due to tax delinquencies and foreclosures. They demanded cheaper paper money, lighter taxes, and suspension of property takeovers. The rebellion was unsuccessful.

3/5 Compromise

the agreement by which the number of each state's representatives in Congress would be determined based on all the free people, an in addition, three-fifths of the slaves, because a slave was only considered three-fifths of a person. It was a compromise between total representation and none at all.

Great Compromise

a deal made by Constitutional Convention in which each state would have equal representation in one house of legislature, and representation solely based upon the state's population in the other house.

Electoral College

the body of electors who formally elected the U.S. president and vice-president. This was a vital compromise during the Constitution's drafting. Smaller states with fewer representatives would gain a voice if no candidate got the majority of electoral votes.

Popular sovereignty

The concept that political power rests with the common people, who have to the power to create, change, or even entirely eliminate government. Belonged to people who expressed themselves through voting and free participation in government.


Arising after the Revolution, it was the Americans' insatiable appetite for liberty. It was lawless control of public affairs by a mob or populace, or in other words, government by the masses. No permanent, settled leadership body.

James Madison

the fourth president of the United States, as well as a member of the Continental Congress and was present and the Constitutional Convention in 1776, who helped frame the Bill of Rights. He wrote in 1778, "Great as the evil (slavery) is a dismemberment of the union would be worse".

Federalist Papers

a collection of essays that confirmed the ratification of the United States Constitution. The Papers were written originally as propaganda by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, but to this day are the most detailed documents of commentary ever written on the Constitution.

Large State Plan VA

plan for the new government that stated a particular state's representation in Congress should be proportional to its population.

Small State Plan NJ

other plan for the new government that stated a particular state's representation in Congress should be equal to that of all the other states, despite its population. Smaller states feared domination of the agenda under a size-based government.

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