The Constitutional Convention of 1787
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The Constitutional Convention
• Philadelphia- 1787
• Up to this point our government was under “The Articles of
• Meeting was described as a revision of the Articles.
• No one would have attended if they had known the purpose was to re-write
a new government.
• People feared a strong central government. Why?
• Even states who were unsure about whether to attend the conference
decided to do so when they heard George Washington would be there.
Why would that make a diﬀerence?
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• 12 of the 13 states sent delegates to the Convention in
Philadelphia. Who was the one state who didn’t?
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• The Convention took place at the Philadelphia
State House, which is now called...
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(The guys who represented each state)
• 55 Men
• All experienced in Government and writing law
• Most were revolutionary war veterans
• 2 would become President
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• The Father of the Constitution
• Researched past Governments to see what worked and what didn’t
and what might work for America
• He organized these ideas into a 15 point plan
• Recorded what happened at the Convention
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15 Point Plan
• Became the blueprint for the Constitution of
the United States
• Became known as “The Virginia Plan”
• Written by who?
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• Delegates worked 6 hours a day, 6 days a week
• Convention lasted 4 months
• On day one, George Washington was elected President
of the Convention
• Madison recorded everything said over the 4 months
(later his notes were made into a book)
• Delegates had to agree on rules beforehand
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The Virginia Plan
• Madison’s 15 point plan
• Presented by Virginia Governor Edmund Randolph
(which is why it’s called “The Virginia Plan”)
• Called for 3 Branches of Government
• Answer the following questions in your notes:
• What were the 3 Branches proposed in the Virginia Plan
and who would make up each branch?
• Why did some people oppose the Executive Branch?
• Why did small states oppose the Virginia Plan?
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New Jersey Plan
• William Patterson
• each state would only have one congressman
regardless of population
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The Great Compromise
• After a vote, the Virginia Plan won
• small states unhappy
• Benjamin Franklin urged states to compromise
Can’t we a!
just get along?
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Details of the Great Compromise
• Combine the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey plan
• 3 branches of government
• Legislature would be divided in 2, making it
“bicameral” ( which means two houses)
• Lower House- “The House of Representatives” would
allow number of congressmen to be decided by
• Upper House- “The Senate”- each state got 2 Senators
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3 Branches of Government
• In your notes:
• Name the 3 branches of government and what
each branch actually does? (Page 6)
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• How would the nation count it’s slaves?
• South wanted to count them towards population to
increase representatives in the House but did not want
to count them towards taxation.
• North wanted to count them towards taxation but not
towards population (they weren’t citizens)
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• North and South agreed to count slaves at 3/5 of a
person towards population and taxation
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Slave Trade Compromise
• 20 years after the states had ratiﬁed, or
adopted, the Constitution, importation of
slaves into the country would be abolished
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Committee of Detail
• Consulted important documents on government
to decide how to actually write the Constitution.
(Magna Carta, Colonial Charters, State
Constitutions, Articles of Confederation)
• Wrote a ﬁrst draft of the Constitution into 23 long
and rambling articles
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Committee of Style
• Wrote the ﬁnal draft of the Constitution
• Rewrote the original draft into simple language
normal Americans could understand
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Bill of Rights
• The Constitution did not have a Bill of Rights
that listed what the rights of the people
• George Mason thought one should be included
we need a
Bi! of Rights Other delegates believed that
since there was already a Bill of
Rights in the State Constitutions,
it wasn’t necessary
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• Of the 42 delegates in attendance, 39 signed.
• Who didn’t?
There was no
Bill of Rights
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Edmund Randolph Elbridge Gerry
They believed states would not ratify the Constitution
and it would lead to confusion, anarchy, or civil war
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• 9 of the 13 states had to agree to ratify or it
would not be adopted
• only the people could adopt or refuse the
• each state held a convention and let the people
vote on it
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• Opposed the Constitution
• Tried to get people to vote against it
• Tried to convince people their rights would be
taken away, just like England had done.
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• Supported Constitution
• Argued the Constitution would protect their
rights, not take them away
• Wrote “The Federalist Papers” to defend their
point of view
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• The Federalist Papers worked but there was
still a compromise that had to be reached
• A few states demanded that a Bill of Rights be
added before they would agree to sign
• Other states agreed and it was decided that a
Bill of Rights would be added immediately
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• The Constitution was then ratiﬁed and became
the foundation of our new Government
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The Bill of Rights became the
ﬁrst ten amendments to the
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America Was Born
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