Although the Connecticut Compromise was intended to maximize equality among the

Although the connecticut compromise was intended to

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Although the Connecticut Compromise was intended to maximize equality among the states, it actually gives more power to people who live in states with small populations than to those who live in more heavily populated states. Every state has two senators and at least one member of the House, no matter how small its population. To take the most extreme case, Wyoming and California have the same number of votes in the Senate (two), although Wyoming has less than 2 percent of California’s population. Thus, a citizen of Wyoming has nearly 70 times the representation in the Senate as does a citizen of California.
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Because it is the Senate, not the House, that ratifies treaties, confirms presidential nominations, and hears trials of impeachment, citizens in less populated states have a greater say in these key tasks—and often win more government largesse per person than do large states.14 In addition, in presidential elections the Electoral College (the body that actually elects the president) gives small states greater weight. And if no presidential candidate receives a majority in the Electoral College, the House of Representatives makes the final decision—with each state having one vote. In such a case (which has not occurred since 1824), the votes of citizens of Wyoming would again carry about 70 times as much weight as those of Californians. Whether representation in the Senate is “fair” is a matter of debate. What is not open to question is that the Framers had to accommodate various interests and viewpoints in order to convince all the states to join an untested union. Why It Matters Today Representation in the Senate The Senate both creates a check on the House and overrepresents states with small populations. If there were only one house of Congress, governance would be more efficient. If representation were based solely on population, interests centered in states with small populations would lose an advantage and there might be a closer correspondence between public opinion and public policy. At the same time, there would be one fewer important check on government action. Which do you prefer? Slavery The second equality issue was slavery. The contradictions between slavery and the sentiments of the Declaration of Independence are obvious, but in 1787 slavery was legal in every state except Massachusetts. It was concentrated in the South, however, where slave labor was commonplace in agriculture. Some delegates, like Gouverneur Morris, denounced slavery in no uncertain terms. But the Convention could not accept Morris’s position in the face of powerful Southern opposition led by Charles C. Pinckney of South Carolina. The delegates did agree that Congress could limit the importing of slaves in the future—they allowed it to be outlawed after 1808—but they did not forbid slavery itself. The Constitution, in fact, inclines toward recognizing slavery; referring to slaves, it states that persons legally “held to service or labour” who escaped to free states had to be returned to their owners.
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How should slaves be counted regarding representation in the House? Southerners
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