The Constitution of the United States of America was written in 1787 but was not effected until its ratification in 1789 replacing the Articles of Confederation. This constitution is the oldest constitution in the world and remains to be the fundamental law in the country .
Since the country had just emerged from a civil war, the drafters of this constitution could not agree on so many issues. Therefore they made a number of compromises that made the constitution acceptable to as many states as possible. One of the main compromises they made was The Great Compromise. During the drafting of the constitutions, there was a disagreement in the manner in which states would be represented. Two plans emerged suggesting how the states would be represented at the federal government. The first plan, referred to as the Virginia Plan, suggested that the states would be represented depending on the population of the state. The second plan, known as the New Jersey plan, proposed that representation will be equal regardless of the population of the state. A compromise, known as The Great Compromise, was arrived at by setting up two chambers of representation. The first chamber would be the Senate which would be a house of equal representation while the second chamber will be the House of Representatives which would be based on the population of the states .
The second point of contention came from the House of Representatives since the chamber was to be based on the population of each state. At the time of drafting the constitution, the southern states had many slaves while the northern states were not populated by many slaves. Thus the delegates from the northern states were of the opinion that slaves should not be included in determining the population since they were not considered to be Americans. On the contrary, the southern states agitated for their inclusion into the population estimates giving them a higher number of representatives in the chamber. Thus a compromise, known as the Three-Fifths Compromise was arrived at, which stipulated that every five slaves counted would be deemed as three persons in representation .
The third compromise was the election of the President. Prior to the constitution, the Article of Confederation that ended the civil war did not have a provision for the president of the United States. Therefore during the drafting of the constitution, delegates considered it necessary to have a position of the Chief Executive who would be democratically elected. While there was agreement on the fact that the president who be elected democratically, some delegates feared that the voting public might not be informed enough to make a principled decision. Furthermore, political brainwash was common at the time leading to the many wars like the civil war. Some proposed that each state should have a Senate that would elect a president. Eventually, the delegates made a compromise that created an electoral college. In this approach, the electorate would choose electors from each state who would then vote for the president and the Vice President.
The final compromise that was made was The Commerce Compromise. Delegates from the northern states were wary of goods and services from foreign countries dominating the American market and so they proposed tariffs to be levied on all goods in the market. In contrast, the southern states felt that tariffs on their good would considerably affect their commerce. As a consequence, a compromise was reached to impose tariffs on imports from other countries only and not goods from the United States.
The constitution was finalised with most of the states ratifying it proposals. It has undergone fundamental amendments over the years making it one of the most acceptable constitutions in the world.
Bassett, J. S. (1921). A short history of the United States, 1492-1920. Macmillan Co.