How Did Political Disagreements Lead to Important Compromises in the Creation of the Constitution
The Constitution had to be ratified by nine states to enter into force. The struggle for ratification has been long and difficult. The Constitution should be ratified by special ratification conventions, not by the State legislature. States interested in remaining in power have refused to ratify a new, stronger central government. Those who advocated ratification were known as federalists, while those who opposed it were seen as anti-federalists. The federalists are attacking the weaknesses of the articles of Confederation. On the other hand, anti-federalists also supported a House of Representatives with substantial power. They admitted that the Constitution was not perfect, but they said that it was much better than any other proposal. Three federalists – Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay – wrote a series of essays entitled The Federalist Papers. These essays declared the Constitution and defended its provisions. The documents were destined for New York State, although people from all over the country read them. Federalists defended the weakest point of the Constitution – the absence of a Bill of Rights – by suggesting that the current protection was sufficient and that Congress could always propose amendments.
Anti-federalists like Patrick Henry attacked the Constitution, suggesting it would lead to a dangerously powerful national government. One of the strongest arguments of the anti-federalists was the absence of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. Many anti-federalists ended up being convinced by the federalists` arguments. It is not clear why the application failed. Eight states already had constitutions that included a bill of rights, so perhaps one was drafted quickly. But Madison`s notes do not explain the motion`s defeat. He quotes only the words of Roger Sherman, who said that “states` bills of rights are not repealed by this Constitution and, when in force, are sufficient.” In February 1787, Congress decided that a convention should be convened to revise the Articles of Confederation, the country`s first constitution. In May, 55 delegates came to Philadelphia and the Constitutional Convention began. Debates erupted over congressional representation, slavery and the new executive branch. The debates lasted four hot and humid months.
But eventually, the delegates reached compromises, and on the 17th. In September, they produced the U.S. Constitution and replaced the articles with the government document, which has been operating effectively for more than 200 years. Gary L. Gregg II, a political scientist at the University of Louisville, Kentucky, argues in a 2012 Article in Politico that major metropolitan areas are already in power by hosting major media, donors, academics, and government centers. The structure of the Senate and the corresponding representation in the Electoral College ensure that the interests of rural America and small towns are safeguarded. In modern eyes, the most astonishing and troubling constitutional compromise of the delegates was the issue of slavery. Some delegates viewed slavery as an evil institution, and George Mason of Virginia even proposed making the transatlantic slave trade illegal through the new national rules. Delegates from South Carolina and Georgia, where slavery developed rapidly in the late 18th century, angrily rejected this restriction.
If restrictions on slavery were proposed within the national framework, they would leave the convention and oppose their proposed new plan for a stronger central government. Their fierce opposition left no room for compromise and, therefore, the issue of slavery was treated as a narrowly political rather than a moral issue. However, other important issues still needed to be resolved and, once again, compromises were needed on both sides. One of the main issues concerned the elections themselves. Who can vote? Different state constitutions had created different rules about how much property white men need to vote. Delegates had to find a solution that could satisfy people with many different ideas about who might have the right to vote (i.e., who might be a voter). When the Convention received the draft containing these proposals, another heated debate broke out. Opponents of the export ban have raised objections on economic grounds.
One delegate said denying the power to tax exports would take “half of the trade regulation” away from the government. Another pointed out that taxing exports could become important “if America becomes a producing country.” The Constitution was, as one commentator put it, “a set of compromises” aimed at addressing specific needs and addressing the shortcomings of the articles of Confederation. Compromises were necessary at every stage and, in some cases, led to unforeseen results. But the Constitution has even exceeded the hopes of its staunchest supporters. As Benjamin Rush wrote after a celebration in Philadelphia, “It`s done. We have become one nation. Only a few years after the Revolutionary War, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and George Washington feared that their young country would be on the verge of collapse. The first U.S. constitution, the Articles of Confederation, gave the Confederate Congress the power to legislate rules and solicit funds from states, but it had no enforcement power, could not regulate trade, or print money. Disputes between states over the territory, war pensions, taxes and trade threatened to tear the young country apart.
Alexander Hamilton helped convince Congress to organize a Grand Assembly of State Delegates to work on the revision of the Articles of Confederation. While the Constitutional Convention was required to revise the articles of Confederation, an entirely new constitution was drafted. In 1787 a convention was convened in Philadelphia to revise the articles of confederation. However, many delegates intended to use this convention to draft a new constitution. All states, with the exception of Rhode Island, sent delegates, although not all delegates attended the convention. The Convention dealt mainly with the representation of States. According to the articles, each state had one vote in Congress. The most populous states wanted representation to be based on population (proportional representation). James Madison of Virginia drafted the Virginia Plan, which guaranteed proportional representation and gave Congress sweeping powers.
Small states, on the other hand, supported equal representation through William Paterson`s New Jersey Plan. .