The Constitutional Convention: The Three-Fifths Compromise

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In the early years, after winning independence from Great Britain, the American colonies set up their government in accordance with their first constitution, the Articles of Confederation. This means that the majority of the power laid in the hands of the states and Congress, “the only institution of national authority” (Brinkley 151) at that time, had very little power. This distribution of authority was the manifestation of the American’s fear of a strong, central government. However, as time passed, more and more people came to agree that the national government was too weak and needed to be strengthened. For this purpose, a special convention was held in Philadelphia for delegates to “overhaul” the Articles of Confederation and “render the constitution of the Federal government adequate to the exigencies of the union” (161). During what came to be known as the Constitutional Convention, many issues were debated and …show more content…

Some of these include the Great (Connecticut) Compromise and the Trade Compromise, among others. The Great Compromise dealt with the subject of representation in Congress and was the product of a dispute between small states versus big states. After much discussion, a delegate from Connecticut came up with the idea to combine the basis of the Virginia Plan, proposed by E. Randolph, with the New Jersey plan. This resulted in a bicameral legislature with one house based on population while another with two envoys per state. One could argue that the Great Compromise was the most important compromise because it directly correlated with the passing of the laws that shaped America to what it is today. However, this compromise, similar to the three-fifths clause, would not have had detrimental effects if not approved. Something would have eventually worked itself

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