December 1, 2020

A Constitution Minute III

In September of 1787 a group of men convened a conference in Philadelphia with delegates from eleven of the thirteen colonies to begin debates for establishing a stronger central government.

Rhode Island and North Carolina did not send delegates. An interesting note is that most of the delegates present were young men between the ages of 20-40. The few elder statesmen present like George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were the spiritual and intellectual leaders of the convention.

35_00003A new government body was needed since the Articles of Confederation was not strong enough to enforce trade laws among the states.

Some states refused to pay their fair share to the Central government outlined in the Articles. The Virginia Plan was used as the basis to write a new governing document; it called for two legislative branches, as well as a judicial and executive branch of government. The Virginia Plan provided voting power for each state based on population.

Smaller states were opposed to the Virginia Plan believing large states would be able to control them in Congress.

An agreement was finally reached, known as the Connecticut Compromise, to give each state an equal vote in the Senate, and only the House of Representatives would have votes apportioned based on population.

The Constitution was now up for vote. In the end the attending delegates signed the new Constitution thus concluding the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the most important series of meetings in our nation’s history.

This minute brought to you by the James Stewart Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

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