Constitutional Compromises: Deadlock at the Constitutional
were many debates resulting from the proposals made in the
New Jersey Plan.
Constitutional Convention reached a complete deadlock over the
issue of representation. Both sides needed to make concessions
to enable a breakthrough to the deadlock over representation for
the convention to continue.
Constitutional Compromises: The Great Compromise on Representation
- The Connecticut Compromise
Oliver Ellsworth and Roger Sherman
of Connecticut proposed a compromise on the issue of Representation
in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The
representation was that members of the House of Representatives should be
allotted to the states according to their population and
that the members of the House of Representatives should be elected directly by the people.
The next part of the compromise related to the Senate. Sherman
and Ellsworth proposed that each state, regardless of size,
population, or wealth, should have two Senators chosen by
the state legislatures. The states should be
equally represented in the Senate. Basically the Great compromise
consisted of proportional representation in the lower house
(House of Representatives) and equal representation of the
states in the upper house (Senate).
Constitutional Compromises: The Compromise on Apportionment - 3/5
The issue was should the
members of the House of Representatives be distributed among the
states according to population? The
real question was, should slaves, who had no vote, be counted as
a part of the population? It was finally agreed that the slaves
should be counted at three-fifths of their real number. This
compromise was called the "federal ratio." The result of this rule was
to give the Southern slave states representation in Congress
that was out
of proportion to their voting population. For additional facts
refer to the
Three Fifths Compromise.
Constitutional Compromises: The Compromise on
Commerce and the Slave Trade
The states in the North
wanted Congress to have power to regulate commerce. But the
states in the South opposed this because they feared Congress would use
this power to end to the slave trade. A compromise was reached
by stating that Congress could not prohibit the slave-trade
until 1808. For additional facts refer to the
and Slave Trade Compromise.
The Constitution is Signed
Constitutional compromises on other, smaller points but these did not
have the same levels of impact on the new
The three major compromises made at the Constitutional
Convention on Representation, Apportionment and Commerce were crucial to the success of the Constitutional
Convention and were included in the new Constitution which was
signed on September 17, 1787.