The 1787 Constitutional Convention Essay

1951 words - 8 pages

The 1787 Constitutional Convention was paramount in unifying the states after the Revolutionary War. However, in order to do so, the convention had to compromise on many issues instead of addressing them with all due haste. This caused the convention to leave many issues unresolved. Most notably were the issues of slavery, race, secession, and states’ rights. Through the Civil War and the Reconstruction, these issues were resolved, and in the process the powers of the federal government were greatly expanded.
Slavery
There was no significant desire among most delegates to abolish slavery during the 1787 Constitutional Convention. In addition, the focus of the convention was on forming a more perfect union, not dealing with the issue of slavery (Dolbeare, 71). Also complicating things was the concern among some delegates that putting too much weight on the issue of slavery might cause the unification process to fall apart. This resulted in the Constitution containing a series of compromises regarding slavery, and blatantly avoiding the issue of slavery.
These compromises are found in four main places within the Constitution. The first is the three-fifths compromise, which detailed how slaves would influence the population of each state for the purpose of determining representation and taxation. Located in Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution the compromise states that three-fifths of the slave population would be counted for enumeration purposes (Dolbeare, 71). This compromise was important for the Southern states, whose populations consisted of large numbers of slaves, because without it they would have a significant smaller number of representatives in the House. Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution prohibited Congress from interfering with the slave trade until 1808 (Dolbeare, 74). Since the Constitution could be amended sooner than 1808, another clause was added into Article 5. That clause prohibited any amendment made to the Constitution prior to 1808 that interfered with the three-fifths compromise or the clause regarding Congress’ interference with the slave trade (Dolbeare, 77). Lastly is The Fugitive Slave Clause in Article 4, Section 2 of the Constitution that permitted the extradition of runaway slaves (Dolbeare, 77). While the compromises within the constitution were necessary to ensure the formation of the United States, it is clear that the 1787 Congressional Convention did little to address the issue of slavery.
The Civil War and the Reconstruction brought about much change and turmoil throughout the United States. During these periods, three main events occurred that resolved the issue of slavery, and expanded the power of the federal government.
First was Lincoln’s delivery of the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Lincoln declared, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be...

Find Another Essay On The 1787 Constitutional Convention

Explain the impact of the Articles of the Confederation on the Constitutional Convention of 1787. How were the imperfections of the Articles ‘corrected’ with the new constitution?

1870 words - 7 pages of the Articles of Confederation, or the union itself would have disintegrated. "The result of these observations to an intelligent mind must clearly be this, that if it be possible to any rate to construct a federal government capable of regulating the common concerns and preserving the general tranquility, it must be founded…"14In May 1787, the Constitutional Convention opened in Philadelphia. "The delegates who assembled …had to

The Constitutional Convention Essay

643 words - 3 pages Weak Articles of Confederation, a Congress without power to raise taxes, a collection of states in debt from the Revolutionary War and local rebellions from frustrated citizens led to the decision to call for the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Stemming from the causes of the Revolutionary War, the Articles of Confederation were intentionally structured in such a way as to create a limited central government. Just a few years after the

George Washington’s Mind on the Constitutional Convention

1069 words - 5 pages delegation, to the exclusion of another...” 1 This explains that George Washington thought he would let other delegates and representatives take place in the meeting. Furthermore, Washington wanted to leave the Constitutional Convention of 1787 to his fellow pupils. Equally important, George Washington did not feel up to attending the Convention because he had severe rheumatism and, “sometimes he could not lift his arm as high as his head

Benjamin Franklin, and the Constitutional Convention.

1043 words - 4 pages Benjamin FranklinAccording to legend, as the exulted Benjamin Franklin stepped out of the last session of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September of 1787, a curious woman queried, "What kind of government have you given us, Dr. Franklin?" Franklin answered, "A Republic, Madam, if you can keep it."1 Remarkably, over 200 years later, the United States has kept its constitution, and the republic for which it was created has

The Evolution Of Individual Rights And Liberties Prior To The Constitutional Convention

1143 words - 5 pages paper, I will analyze the evolution of individual rights and liberties in England, and in the Colonies, and States of the Confederation during the years preceding the Constitutional Convention. In the year 1215, at a place called Runnymede in England, is where the story begins about the English barons forced King John to sign the Magna Carta, the first document to put limits on the king's power. While the document itself did not establish the

Evolution Of Individual Rights And Liberties Prior To The Constitutional Convention

1186 words - 5 pages Evolution Of Individual Rights And Liberties Prior To The Constitutional ConventionThere are many factors that may have combined to bring about the strong individual rights focused on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. One factor might be that, unlike the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 and the two legally binding human rights covenants that grew out of it the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and

How did events of 1765-1787 prove to be the key historical moments in the development of the concept of constitutional government?

904 words - 4 pages , but of establishing a government which would preserve it. In doing so, these leaders remained wholly faithful to their ideology. They used the means of the Revolution in establishing the Articles of Confederation, which became the blueprint for the Constitution.By 1783 the revolutionaries,with the help of other British enemies, won the war of Independence. Revolutionary heroes were forced to do in 1787 what they had already done in 1781--establish

Constitution Convention

1483 words - 6 pages United States Constitutional Convention A few years after the American Revolution War ended and the United States gained their independence, the thirteen colonies went to work on establishing laws of the land. Major leaders of the thirteen colonies met at the Constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787, to establish the Constitution. At the 1787 Federal convention in Philadelphia they introduced three plans: the Virginia Plan, the New

Constitutional Questions

813 words - 4 pages Yes, the Constitutional Convention of 1787 was essential to preserve the Union, as the Articles of Confederation did a meager job establishing a stable America. Only a handful of people from the entire nation were pleased with the issues addressed in the Articles of Confederation. This document didn’t unite the nation, but created more differences among the people. The Articles of Confederation failed to properly allocate power between Congress

The Clashing Interests of The Founding Fathers

553 words - 2 pages Convention of 1787. In conclusion, the Constitutional Convention and the ratification process were flooded with myriad of conflicts of interests between the delegates. The conflicts of interests stemmed from each opposing force’s want for power either within the state or nationally. Had delegates put aside their self-interest, motives they would have not taken so long to draft and ratify the constitution. However, it was necessary for the

Constitutional Compromises

576 words - 2 pages wanted it maintained; the North and the middle south was opposed. Prohibitions in new slave imports or import taxes were defeated. As the Convention progressed, it became clear to the South and her allies that some compromise would be needed. In exchange for a prohibition on export taxes, the South agreed to allowing the slave trade to continue for just 20 more years, and for imported slaves to be taxable.The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was

Similar Essays

The Constitutional Convention Of 1787 Essay

768 words - 3 pages The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was held to address problems in governing the United States which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation since it’s independence from Britain. Fifty-five delegates from the states attended the convention to address these issues. The delegates consisted of federalists who wanted a strong central government to maintain order and were mainly wealthier merchants and plantation owners and anti

An Essay About The Constitutional Convention Of 1787

1297 words - 5 pages Following the Revolutionary War, the new American Government was set up under the Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation did not give the federal government enough authority to be effective. So in 1787 delegates from all the states attended a meeting known as the Constitutional Convention. Among those attending were James Madison, representing Virginia, William Paterson, representing New Jersey, and Roger Sherman, representing

What Happened At The Constitutional Convention Of 1787, And Why Was It Significant

1225 words - 5 pages downfalls, several conventions were set up in our country's early years to try and fix some of the problems. However, it was until the convention of 1787, which was to revise the Articles of Confederation, that our country really took shape.Seventy-four delegates from twelve of the thirteen states were invited to attend this Convention. Of these seventy-four, only fifty-five managed to show up. All states except Rhode Island chose to attend this

What Happened At The Constitutional Convention Of 1787, And Why Was It Significant?

1247 words - 5 pages . However, it was until the convention of 1787, which was for the "sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation," that our country really took shape. (www.sinc.sunysb.edu 1)The Philadelphia Convention proved to take on a completely different role than was expected.Seventy-four delegates from twelve of the thirteen states were invited to attend this Convention. Of these seventy-four, only fifty-five managed to show up. All states