Major Compromises at the Constitutional Convention example

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Major Compromises at the Constitutional Convention

The Constitutional Convention of 1787 laid the foundations of not only the United States Constitution but also the American political system in general. As the Convention aimed to reach an agreement between more than a dozen states with different and often even conflicting interests, its very nature involved reaching various compromises, which would aim to combine interests of all the participants (Vile, 123). While the compromises agreed by the delegates related to different issues, from choosing presidents and judges to principles of imposing taxes, the Connecticut Compromise and the Three-Fifths Compromise were the most important both for signing the Constitution and for further development of the country.

The Connecticut Compromise, which is also called the Great Compromise, concerned the political design of the country and was proposed by Roger Sherman to strike a balance between large and small represented by the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan, respectively (Sidlow and Henschen, 35). The former involved creating the legislative branch which would be formed by states proportionally to their population, while the latter demanded equal representation of every state. The compromise combined them creating the House elected proportionally and the Senate based on equal states’ representation, and thus allowed to reach the general agreement and created the legislative system used in America even today.

The second major compromise agreed on the Convention was the Three-Fifth Compromise, which was necessary to balance conflicting interests of northern and southern states (Vile, 123). The slaveholders-dominated South insisted that the slaves should be counted in determining a state’s population and thus its representation in the House of the Representatives, while the North claimed that slaves should not be included in determining legislative representation. As a compromise, the delegates agreed that three-fifth of the slave population would be counted (Sidlow and Henschen, 35). This agreement resulted in the increased political influence of the South, which lasted until the Civil War, and thus profoundly shaped the political landscape of the United States. Therefore, both Connecticut and Three-Fifth compromises not only resulted in short-term consequences but also framed American political system for centuries.

Works Cited

Sidlow, Edward, and Beth Henschen. Govt: Principles of American Government. 8th ed., Boston, Cengage Learning, 2017.

Vile, John R. The Constitutional Convention of 1787: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of America's Founding. ABC-CLIO Interactive, …

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