Numbers

5-17 The Constitutional Convention

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In May of 1787, the constitutional Convention was held in Philadelphia.  The convention finished its work in September.  The delegates to the convention were selected by each state legislature.  There were sixty-five official delegates but only fifty-five made it to Philadelphia.  The average attendance for each day was about thirty delegates.

George Washington, a delegate from Virginia was chosen to be president of the convention.  The plan was to revise the Articles of the Confederation.  The delegates soon began creating a new plan for government.

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, who were influential in writing the Declaration of Independence, were not in attendance at the convention.  Benjamin Franklin was the oldest delegate at the age of 81 years.  Jonathan Dayton was the youngest delegate at the age of 26 years.

During those five hot Summer months, the delegates worked to find agreement about how the government should be formed.  Without compromise, our government would not be what it is today.  Compromise is a settlement in which both sides give up something in order to reach an agreement.

The most important compromise was about how the lawmaking body of the government should be set up.  There was much disagreement in how the states should be represented in the legislative branch.  Eventually the delegates came to an agreement called the Great Compromise.  The Great Compromise combined the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan.

The Virginia Plan proposed that Congress be bicameral (having two houses).  The first house would be elected by the people, and the second house would be elected by the first house.  The number of congressman would be determined by state population.  This plan favored the states with a larger population.

The New Jersey Plan proposed a Congress that was unicameral (having one house) with each state having the same number of representatives.  This would allow the smaller states to be equal to the larger states.  This plan was favored by the smaller states.

The Great Compromise created a bicameral Congress.  The first house was to be called the House of Representatives, with representatives elected by the people for two-year terms.  The number of representatives would be determined by the population of the state.  The second house was called the Senate, with Senators elected by their legislatures for a six-year term.  Each state would have two senators.  The Great Compromise allowed each side to get what each wanted through compromise.

 

Complete the following questions.

In May of 1787, the constitutional Convention was held in .

The average attendance for each day was about delegates.

, a delegate from Virginia was chosen to be president of the convention.

The convention was held to to revise the Articles of the .

The oldest delegate was .

is a settlement in which both sides give up something in order to reach an agreement.

Bicameral means having houses.

The Virginia Plan proposed that Congress would be determined by the state  .

The New Jersey Plan proposed a Congress that was unicameral (having house).

The House of Representatives is determined by the state's .

Senators are elected for a term

 

 

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