"In Order to Form a More Perfect Union"

A.P. U.S. History

5th Hour

At the end of the Revolutionary War, the United States was composed of thirteen very different states that all had very different priorities and ideas on how the new government should work. In order to form a government that all of the states would be willing to accept, there would have to be some very influential compromises. Among the significant compromises that the states made was the Checks and Balances program, the Bill of Rights, The Great Compromise and the slavery compromises.

When the Constitution was written, there was much debate between the federalists and the anti‑federalists. One of the biggest topics of argument between these differing sides was how much power the national government should have; many people feared that too strong a government would lead to corruption of power. The Constitution enacted a Checks and Balances program to in order to keep any one branch of the government from containing too much power. The Checks and Balances program split all of the power evenly between each one of the three branches of government. It also allowed any other branch to filter out any corruption that might occur.

Another significant compromise between the federalists and the anti‑federalists was the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments that were added to the constitution directly after it was written. They gave every United States citizen, no matter their status, the same natural rights. Rights such as freedom of speech and religion, as well as freedom from illegal search and seizure, the right to bear arms, and no cruel and unusual punishment were among the one stated. The Bill of Rights also stated that any power not controlled by the government belonged to the people. This compromise kept both the government and the governed of equal terms.

While the Bill of Rights gave the people rights, the Great Compromise gave the states their own rights also. The Great Compromise was an agreement between the smaller states and the larger states. The smaller states wanted the number of representatives in Congress to be the same for every state, while the larger wanted the number of representatives to be based on population. The Great Compromise split Congress into two sections, the Senate and the House of Representatives. It also made the number of representatives for the Senate the same for every state, but the number of representative for the House of Representatives based on the state population.

One of the most significant compromises was between the Northern states that discouraged slavery, and the Southern states whose economy depended on it. The Northern Colonies wanted the slave trade to stop altogether, so the Southern states agreed to stop importing slaves twenty years after ratification, which would give them a large enough population of slaves to reproduce for future generations. However, since about half of the Southern states population was slaves the south thought that slaves should count in the population census in order to increase their number of representatives in Congress. The Northerners didn’t think that the slave should be included in the population count because they were not considered as people. The two sides decided that each slave would count as three‑fifths of a person in population counts.

The Constitution was a bundle of compromises, and wether the differing sides were federalists and anti‑federalists, small states and large states, or Northern states and Southern states. Both sides didn’t always get exactly what they wanted, but their opinion was always considered in making decisions. Every American had a different view on how the United States’ government should be run, and in order to obtain ratification every side needed to compromise for the well being of the entire country.