The Constitutional Convention of 1787

Chapter 5 Section 2 (Part 1)
The Articles of Confederation needed to be
replaced for the U.S. to survive.
What were some issues with the
Articles of Confederation?
The Constitutional Convention
• States sent delegates to Philadelphia in
1787 to work on a constitution.
• Two main plans were considered for the
national government.
• The “New Jersey Plan” by William Paterson
• The Virginia Plan by James Madison
Virginia Plan
• Representation based on population
• Congress would have two houses.
Delegates in the lower house chosen by
popular vote.
• Favored by Big States (with large
populations) (New York, Virginia,
• Proposed a strong national government
with 3 separate branches. (Which had
power over the states)
New Jersey Plan
• There would be one congress with a
delegate from each state.
• Equal representation for states, the
population doesn’t matter.
• Favored by the states with small
populations. (New Jersey, Rhode
Island, Delaware)
The delegates learn from the mistakes of the Articles of
Confederation. They agree on a strong central
The big states and little states need to compromise on the
issue of representation.
The “Great Compromise” is a plan
which satisfies all of the states.
The Great Compromise
• Congress will have two houses.
• One House: (The House of Representatives) will be based on
• States with big populations have more representatives.
• In 2014 there are 435 total seats in the house.
• California 2014 population: 38 million
• Seats in the House: 53
• New Jersey 2014 population: 9 million
• Seats in the House: 12
The Senate
• The other house (the Senate) has equal representation
for each state.
• There are two representatives for each states, the
population does not matter.
• Rhode Island and Texas have the same amount of
• This pleases the small states at the convention.
Slavery at the Convention
• Slavery was a “distracting question” at the convention.
• Most delegates saw slavery naturally dying out. In 1808
slaves would stop being imported in the U.S.
• Slavery was not a major moral issue at this convection.
• The big issue was if slaves should be counted in terms of
The 3/5s Compromise
• The delegates agreed finally that each
slaves would count as 3/5s a person
when deciding representation.
• This satisfied both Northern and Southern States.
• Slavery continues in the United States after the
The Electoral College
• Do you think the electoral collage system is fair? If not
how to you think the election process should be handled?
Checks and Balances
• At the convention a three branch
government was created.
• The branches were each given a check
(an advantage over each other) to
prevent one branch from dominating
• The checks and balances system gives
each branch certain powers over other
• In our government the President has a lot of power but
the Senate has to approve the President’s decisions. The
Senate can veto (overrule) some of the Presidents
• This is an example of a check on the power of the
President (Executive Branch).
3 Branches of Government
• The Executive Branch
Job is to carry out the law
Checks on the Judicial Branch
• Has control over federal judges
• Can pardon individuals
Checks on the Legislative branch
• Can veto bills from Congress
• Can propose Laws
• Influence public opinion
The President
1. Appoints Judges
2. Signs Laws
3. Negotiates Treaties
4. Gives out Pardons
5. Commander of the
Armed Forces
Legislative Branch
Job is to make the laws
Checks on the Judicial Branch
• Congress can impeach
federal judges.
• Can reject appointment of
Checks on the Executive Branch
• Can override a veto
• Approve Funding
• Impeach the President
The House of Representatives
and the Senate
1. Create Laws
2. Gives out funds
3. Approves Treaties
4. Approves Funding
5.Declares War
6. Regulate Trade
The Judicial Branch
Job is to interpret the law (decide is the law fair or not)
Checks on the Executive Branch
• Appointed for life, no
Presidential control
• Can declare presidential actions
Checks on the Legislative Branch
• Can decide the meaning of laws
• Can declare acts of Congress
The Supreme Court and other
federal courts
1. Overturn rulings by lower judges
2. Decide if laws are just
3. Reviews the other branches