Philadelphia Convention Dbq

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How did the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the period immediately following it deal with the issue of the debate between those who supported a strong central government and those who wanted more power given to the states?

The Philadelphia Convention was an assembly of the brightest minds of American politics in 1787. Emerging from it was the Constitution of the United States, which gave the national government more power, but kept them restrained through a system of checks and balances. States still decided smaller political matters, but much power was taken away from them that they held with the Articles of Confederation. Two groups emerged after the Convention, one for the ratification of the Constitution and the other against. The group striving for ratification called themselves Federalists, and their opposition was Antifederalists. A race for ratification went on between these two groups, where delegates from each state voted at conventions either for or against the Constitution.

The newly formed United States was in a massive debt after the war. In Massachusetts, Shays’ Rebellion occurred because of the hike in taxes enacted by the state legislature and the demand for gold and silver payment (G). The Philadelphia Convention was a direct effect of Shays’ rebellion. Leaders of America such as James Madison and Benjamin Franklin realized that the Articles of Confederation were not working as they should (D). The convention’s purpose was to decide whether to revise the Articles or simply scrap them altogether. Delegates also wanted to figure out how to balance the interests of small and large states. One proposal emerged called the Virginia Plan, introduced by James Madison. The Virginia Plan gave Congress unrestricted power. Congress had the right to veto any law introduced by the State. While these aspects of the plan were flawed, some ideas of Madison’s would later be used in the Constitution. One such idea was the representation in Congress...
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