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The Constitution Emerge1

The Constitution Emerge1 - The fundamental question was the...

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The Constitution Emerges The convention at Philadelphia drew up one of the most influential documents of Western world history, the Constitution of the United States. All the states except Rhode Island sent representatives. The delegates mainly came from the wealthier and more conservative ranks of society and included, besides Washington and the other proponents already mentioned, such leaders as Edmund Randolph , Gouverneur Morris , Robert Morris, William Paterson , Charles Pinckney , Charles Cotesworth Pinckney , Abraham Baldwin , Luther Martin , and Roger Sherman . Washington was elected to preside, and the convention immediately set about drawing up a new scheme of government. However, it found itself faced with a rift: the smaller states wanted to retain their power, and the larger states wanted to have power determined by population. It was agreed that the new Congress should be made an effective body, but as to its composition there was great difference of opinion.
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Unformatted text preview: The fundamental question was the apportionment of power in the new government. Edmund Randolph offered a plan known variously as the Randolph, the Virginia, or the Large-State Plan; it provided for a bicameral legislature, with the lower house elected according to population and the upper house elected by the lower. William Paterson offered the New Jersey, or the Small-State, Plan; it provided for equal representation of states in Congress. Neither the large states nor the small states would yield, and for a time it seemed that the convention would founder. Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman put forward a compromise measure that gradually won approval; this provided for a lower house to be elected according to population (the House of Representatives) and an upper house to be chosen by the states (the Senate). This initial compromise defused the threat of a walkout by the small states, and the convention settled down to complete its task....
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