How did compromise help create a more unified nation at the second Constitutional Convention?
As it became increasingly clear that the government created under
the articles of confederation was too weak to govern effectively
delegates met at the Second Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia
to discuss the creation of a new form of government. While almost all
agreed that a new form of government was needed that was about all
they could agree on. Some, like Jefferson, still clung to the fear of
a strong central government that might eventually abuse its power.
Others like Alexander Hamilton favored a democratic but strong
central government that would be able to solidify the nation and
govern more effectively. There were other issues at stake as well,
- Representation: How would representatives be chosen, by
population or an equla number per state and how would slaves be
counted for the purposes of representation?
- Slavery: Would slavery be allowed to contiue?
- The Presidency: How would he be elected, how long a term would
he have to serve?
- States Rights: How much pwer would the states have and how
much power would the central government have?
In the end these issues were worked out using the process of
compromise. The chart below illustrates the different compromises
reached in 1787.
of the constitution. The solutions that they created became the
Constitution of the United States of America.
1. How would the legislature be chosen? The large states
2. How would slaves be counted? The North wanted slaves
1. The Great
2. The 3/5 Compromise: Slaves were to be
1. Would slavery continue?
1. Yes, but the Constitutional convention banned importation
1. How would the President be elected?
2. How long would the Presidents term of office be?
1. The Electoral College was created to
2. 4 Years.
|Power of the Federal Government
1. How would the powers of the states (something very
2. How would the central government’s power be limited do
2. Checks and Balances: The government was
The founding fathers also wrote the Bill of
These solutions and compromises formed the basis of the new
American government written in a document called the Constitution of
the United States.