ap gov study guides

⚖️  Unit 2: Interactions Among Branches of Government

🗳  Unit 5: Political Participation

1.5 Ratification of the U.S. Constitution

#foundationsofamericandemocracy

⏱️  3 min read

written by

Annika Tekumulla

annika tekumulla


There were four main compromises that were necessary in order to adopt and ratify the Constitution. These compromises were the Great (Connecticut) Compromise, Electoral College, Three-Fifths Compromise, and Compromise on the importation of slaves

Great (Connecticut) Compromise

This was an agreement between the large and small states because large states wanted representation based on population while small states wanted equal representation.

It was proposed by Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth which combined the Virginia (large state) plan and the New Jersey (small state) plan and created the bicameral congress. Members of the House of Representatives would be distributed by each state’s population and elected by the people.

For the senate, each state would have two representatives no matter the population size. They would be chosen by the people as well. This issue caused chaos at the Constitutional Convention but was passed by a slim majority on July 23, 1787.

Electoral College 

This debate was split between not wanting the president to be chosen by Congress because of corruption and not having the people solely choosing the president because of "fear of the mob".

It led to the compromise of electoral intermediaries and was decided that electors will be chosen not by Congress or the people but rather by the states. 

Three-Fifths Compromise  

This resulted because states didn't know how many electors to assign which led to the controversial ⅗ compromise that counted black slaves as three-fifths of a person. 

The United States used this compromise to determine the number of representatives and electors to assign as well as the amount of federal taxes. 

Compromise on the Importation of Slaves 

Ten states had already outlawed the slave trade but three states- Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina- threatened to leave the convention if the slave trade was banned. A special committee was created and decided that Congress would have the power to ban the slave trade, but not until 1800. The convention voted on the idea and decided to extend the date to 1808.

Debates over self-government arose when the Constitution was drafted. Implementation of Article V was necessary for the drafting of an amendment process. Article V entailed that a ⅔ vote in both houses or a proposal from ⅔ of the state legislatures then final ratification by ¾ of the states. 

Although these compromises were necessary to ratify the Constitution, there were still some matters that were not resolved. These matters have led to debate and further discussion even in today’s society.

In fact, there has still been a debate on the power of the central government vs. the power of the states vs. power of the individuals.

An example of this debate is the increased surveillance after 9/11. As stated earlier, security measures can invade the privacy of the people and cause a debate over natural rights. However, it is still important to weigh the safety of the greater public in the states and the nation. 

🎥 Watch: AP GOPO - Constitutional Convention

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