The reflections and rantings of one obsessive history student
I have procrastinated way too much on this essay yet I still continue to do so. I figure I might just procrastinate with other studies. eh?
Discuss at least three of the compromises that to be made by the framers of the Constitution in 1788 before they had a document to send for ratification
Three important compromises made by the framers of the Constitution were over the issues of representation, slavery, and Congress’ involvement in trade and commerce.
There was a heated debate going on at the Constitutional convention over how the House of Representatives and the senate should be apportioned. The larger states wanted a state’s representation to be based on the size of its population while the smaller states demanded equal representation. A New Englander, John Sherman, proposed what is now known as the Great Compromise. Sherman proposed that the lower house be based on a state’s population, a state would get 1 congressman for every 60,000 citizens. However, in the Senate, there would be equal representation among the states. Every state would get two senators appointed by the state legislature.
Many argue that the issue of slavery was the real great compromise during this Constitutional Convention. Madison even wrote in his notes that the great conflict among the delegates is not between small states and large states but between slave states and free states. There were three key questions surrounding this issue. One was whether or not the import of slaves should be stopped. Delegates from Georgia, North and South Carolina objected to this idea and stated that they would not support the Constitution if the slave imports stopped. Another question was should slaves be counted for purposes of representation? Southerners argued that slaves should be counted, since it would give them more influence in the House of Representatives. Northerners objected because slaves were property and should not be counted as free persons. The result of this divide was the 3/5 Compromise which stated that 5 slaves were equal to 3 free men in terms of representation. It also stated that Congress could not vote to end the slave trade for another 20 years.
The debate over slavery was also a debate over Congressional involvement in trade and commerce. Southerners were hostile to the idea of Congress being allowed to impose tariff duties and regulate interstate commerce. They believed Congress can use this power to tax slave imports or even eliminate the slave trade entirely. In exchange for the 3/5 Compromise, Southerners accepted Congress’ control over trade and commerce as long as they did not tax the export of plantation crops such as tobacco and rice.