Constitutional Convention Compromises

I mentioned there were lots of disagreements at the Constitutional Convention. One major disagreement was about representation in the legislative branch. You see, most of the delegates agreed the power in the national government should be divided into three branches (legislative, executive, and judicial). The men had to figure out who would serve in each branch, and how he would be chosen. Delegates from states with large populations like Virginia wanted representation to be based on population. The higher your population, the more representatives you should have, they argued. Delegates from states with smaller populations like New Jersey, Connecticut and Delaware believed representation should be equal among all of the states. Every state should be equal!

At times during the Convention, it seemed as if neither side would budge. Would this disagreement derail the whole Convention? Was it over?

Fortunately one of the delegates, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, came up with an idea which would become know as The Great Compromise. His proposal was to have a bicameral, or two-house, legislature with the upper house having equal representation and representation based on population in the lower house. The upper house would be known as the Senate and the lower house, The House of Representatives. This was a plan both big and small states could be on board with.

Whew! The Convention could move forward!

(I welcome questions!)

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