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Essay/Term paper: The three great compromises

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Philosophy

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The Three Great Compromises

The United States of America was founded on the basis of compromise, but
what does compromise really mean? According to the Webster's New World
Dictionary compromise means "an adjustment of opposing principles". Political
systems use compromises in daily life. The Three Great Compromises that
occurred early in this nation's government were the Connecticut Compromise, the
3/5 Compromise, and finally the Commerce & Slave Trade Compromise. Were it not
for these compromises the United States could still be governed under the
Articles of Conferderation.
The Connecticut Compromise was the most important compromise in the history
of the U.S. government. The representatives from each state were going to change
the government totally, from powerful state governments to a powerful central
government, which they vowed not to do when they declared independence from
England. Rhode Island was so disgusted with the idea of changing the government
that they did not even come to the meeting. Finally after all the debating and
each state getting their say, they "compromised" on a plan where they would have
two governmental houses, one being the House of Representatives and the second
being the Senate, with the Senate being the stronger of the two houses. The
House of Representatives was based on each state's population, that is the more
people in the state the more representatives that state would get. The Senate
said that regardless of the state's population each state would get two
representatives all with equal say.
The 3/5 Compromise was mainly about slaves. The issue in this compromise
was should slaves be counted for determining representation for each state? The
North did not want them to be counted because they were considered possessions,
not citizens, and that meant less representation for them. The South, on the
other hand, wanted them to be counted because that meant that they could pass
laws more beneficial to the South since they would have more representation. So
they "compromised" and said that each slave counted 3/5 of a person.
The final compromise was the Commerce & Slave Trade Compromise. The issue
here was should Congress be able to regulate trade and should the United States
continue with slave trading? The North felt that Congress should control trade
and put an end to slave trading. The South was fearful of Northern jealousy of
Southern agriculture trade with England, and the South was also wary of Congress
regulating trade. The South also wished to trade slaves indefinitely. The
compromise was that Congress would control trade (fairly) and the South would
trade slaves for 20 more years.
The three great compromises in our the history of the United States were
critical to the success of the Constitution. The 3/5 Compromise, the
Connecticut Compromise, and the Commerce & Slave Trade Compromise demonstrated
that the Founding Fathers could reach a middle ground. These were much needed
compromises, but were they effective for long term political harmony? And can
Congress and the President ever compromise on a budget today?


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