A major feature of the US constitution was the strengthening the glaring weaknesses present in the Articles of Confederation.Finally, probably the most important aspect of the constitution was establishing what most delegates considered a fair form of representation amongst both the population and the states. Called “the Great Compromise,” this created a bicameral legislature, where the lower house, the House of Representatives, was created proportionally with population (so a state with twice the population would, ideally, have roughly twice the delegates), and an upper house, the Senate, which where each state would have two representatives regardless of size. Almost all legislation (excepting budgets) could be introduced in either house but needed to be approved by both, so small states felt they got fair representation (from the Senate) and large states felt the got fair representation from the House of Representatives. There remained, however, an important contentious issue – how to count slaves. There were two arguments on this point – some people said that slaves were legally property (which was true at the time) and thus obviously should not be counted for representation. Others argued that slaves were people, and simply did not have the right to vote, like many other citizens who did not have that right during the time period but were none the less counted for representation purposes. A compromise was struck, stating that each slave counted as 3/5 of a person for representational. The US Constitution.
Jefferson, T (1776) The Declaration of Indipendence.
The Constitution of the United States of America (1787).
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