Constitutional Convention The Great Compromise (also known as the Connecticut Compromise) provided a solution to the difficulty by making the number of members in the House of Representatives proportionate to each state's population and electing each representative directly by the people. Each state would have two senators who would vote independently. The last thing anyone wanted was for the states to be able to veto federal laws, so they created a Senate where no state could hold more than one-third of its seats.
The solution was not perfect, but it did provide for effective government while allowing the various interests to be represented in Congress.
Note: This is an excerpt from the full article that appeared in the Summer 2015 issue of America's Historical Newspapers.
The Connecticut Compromise advocated a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (Chamber of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house, which addressed the dilemma (Senate). The Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. It went into effect the following March 25.
Twenty-five men served as delegates to the Constitutional Convention during its three-month long tenure at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. They were elected by their respective state legislatures and served without pay. The majority of the delegates were elected officials who had previously served limited terms. Others included lawyers, farmers, businessmen, and students.
All together, they produced a document that transformed America and set it on course for future success. The convention began meeting on May 15, 1787 and ended on September 17, 1787. Delegates from all thirteen colonies attended along with guests from other countries including France, Germany, and Haiti.
The task before them was clear: create a government that would be able to represent the various interests within the country. Without a strong central government, each colony was free to develop its own institutions, which had very few similarities between them. Some wanted complete independence from Britain while others wanted to remain part of a greater British empire.
Small states campaigned for equal representation by state, whereas large states preferred representation by population. The "Great Compromise" established both the House of Representatives, which was allocated by population, and the Senate, which represented the states equally. This balance was considered essential for securing ratification of the Constitution by the necessary votes in both houses.
Compromise also resulted in a weak federal government. The new country needed strong leadership at a time when it was still recovering from its revolution. The founders were aware that a single strong leader could destroy the foundation of our democracy, so they included specific checks and balances in the Constitution to prevent any one person or group of people from gaining too much power.
These include the executive branch, which consists of a president and vice president who are elected together; the legislative branch, which is made up of a Senate that can block legislation with amendments or reject bills entirely; and the judicial branch, which includes an Supreme Court that decides whether laws are constitutional and acts as a check on the other branches.
The founders also wanted to ensure that the new government would be responsive to the will of the people. They included elections every two years for the House of Representatives and for the presidency, as well as a process called "recallable" when voters can remove officeholders from office.
One of the primary concessions reached during the Constitutional Convention was between the small and large states. The tiny states desired that each state have the same number of congressional representatives. The large states desired population-based representation. The compromise was to have Congress set up a new government system called "asymmetrical federalism". Under this system, each state receives the same number of senators as its total number of legislators.
Another major conflict was between those who wanted a strong central government with power over military affairs and those who wanted complete independence for both the federal government and the states. In the end, the former won out. Today, we have a strong central government with power over military matters.
A final issue was how should the new government be funded? Some people felt that since the government had no money when it started work, there should be no funding for it. Others believed that if the country is going to have a government, it should be able to pay for its services. The founders decided on a mixture of tax revenue and debt financing. They knew that neither method was perfect, but they hoped that together they would provide for the country's needs until it could grow its own economy.
In conclusion, the founders created a very innovative government.
The Connecticut Compromise (also known as the Great Compromise of 1787 or the Sherman Compromise) was an agreement reached during the Constitutional Convention of 1787 by large and small states that defined the legislative structure and representation that each state would have under the United States
It established a system of government in which the new country would be divided into two equal houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. In addition, it provided for a joint Congress consisting of one senator from Delaware and one representative from New Jersey at all times except when they both happened to be absent or unable to act. This compromise solution satisfied the various interests that had come together to discuss and draft a constitution for their nation.
Its purpose was to provide for the continuation of democratic processes after the conclusion of the convention without destroying the new government being drafted. The convention had been very contentious with many difficult issues to be resolved. It was only through great diplomacy and wisdom on the part of its leaders that the convention was able to reach this agreement in such a short time frame.
Specifically, the Connecticut Compromise addressed concerns raised by smaller states about losing their seats in the House of Representatives if their populations increased while also fearing loss of power in the Senate if they allowed their numbers to become too large.