At this time most Americans felt more loyalty toward their state governments

At this time most americans felt more loyalty toward

This preview shows page 18 - 21 out of 172 pages.

ernments. At this time, most Americans felt more loyalty toward their state governments than to Congress, and strong local government made sense for the operation of a large nation such as the United States.
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Issues and Compromises The delegates to the convention disagreed with one another on three main issues: representation in Congress, slavery, and presidential elections. Failure to reach agreement on any of these issues would likely have led to dissolu- tion of the already tenuous union of the states. Slave states, for example, were not willing to accept a constitution that banned slavery, whereas small states would not accept a document that gave excessive power to large states. Three compromises, summarized in the following table, resolved these disagreements.   SIGNIFICANT ISSUES AND COMPROMISES Issue Compromise Representation in the national legisla- ture Great Compromise Slavery Three-Fifths Compromise Presidential elec- tions Electoral College Representation and the Great Compromise Delegates debated extensively about how the people and the states would be represented in the national legislature. Most delegates favored one of two representation schemes: The Virginia Plan: Favored representation based on population. Dele- gates from the large states supported this plan because it would give them a great deal of power. Representatives from small states, how- ever, rejected the plan because they would have fewer seats than the larger states and consequently less power. The New Jersey Plan: Proposed giving each state equal representa- tion in the legislature. Delegates from smaller states supported the New Jersey Plan because they believed that all states should have equal power, regardless of population. Supremacy Clause The New Jersey Plan also advocated the supremacy doctrine, the idea that national law has priority over state law. This doctrine was later included in the Constitution in the supremacy clause (Article VI), which states that the Constitution and the laws Congress passes have more weight than state and local laws.
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For a time, the delegates ’  debate over representation threatened to wreck the convention entirely. To save the convention, delegates compromised. The Great Compromise created a bicameral (composed of two houses) Con- gress. The upper house, called the Senate, would consist of two delegates from each state, regardless of size or population. Representation in the lower house, called the House of Representatives, would be apportioned according to the population of each state: The larger the state, the more representa- tives in the House. Both sides got some of what they wanted, and the Con- gress was created. Slavery and the Three-Fifths Compromise Delegates also debated about how slavery should affect representation in the House of Representatives. Roughly 90 percent of slaves in 1787 lived in the South and accounted for about 30 percent of the southern population.
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  • Fall '11
  • Carlson

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