The Three Great Compromises Essay Research Paper

The Three Great Compromises Essay, Research Paper

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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