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Ratification of the Constitutional Convention

In our paper we would like to describe the arguments, which arose as a result of the ratification of the Constitutional Convention and show the ways they were solved.

During the ratification of Constitutional Convention of 1787 lead to disputes between two groups. Firstly, large and small states argued about the model of representation of states in Congress. Secondly, southern and northern states argued about slavery and commerce.

At first, two different plans were suggested to solve the issue about representation of the states in Congress. The first plan, often called Virginia or Large State Plan stated that government should have two legislative houses, membership in both of them should be based on the population of states represented. This was not to the liking of small states, like New Jersey, who’s representative W. Paterson suggested the Small State Plan, which advocated one legislative house with equal number of representatives from each state.

Neither of the two plans were acceptable, and R. Sherman of Connecticut proposed the Great Compromise pact. The model of the Congress was such that there were to be two houses. The upper house, the Senate would contain two representatives from each state. In the lower house, the House of Representatives, representation would be based on population. Thus, Sherman managed to satisfy both large and small states desire to deal in state affairs (Larson & Creason, 1993, p. 123-124).

Concerning the question of slavery, the ill-designed Three-Fifths Compromise was reached. According to it, a slave would be counted as a three-fifth of a free man and taxed accordingly. Unfortunately, the agreement also stated that government would not interfere with the issue of slaver for the next twenty years.

As for commerce, the Commerce Compromise was reached. It favored the North, allowing the navigation laws to be passed by simple majority. On the other hand, it forbade the states to levy taxes on one another’s export, which was in favor of the export-dependent South (Lloyd, 2006).

In conclusion we must restate that during the ratification of Constitutional Convention of 1787 there occurred a series of arguments concerning the model of representation of the states in Congress and about slavery and commerce. A number of compromises, such as Great Compromise, the Three-Fifth Compromise and the Commerce Compromise, were reached to solve the issue.



Larson, C. R., & Creason, B. P. (1993). The American Republic. Greenville, SC: Bob Jones University Press.
Lloyd, Gordon. Major Themes of Constitutional Convention. (May 2006). Retrieved from: Teaching American History.org http://teachingamericanhistory.org/convention/themes/