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GOV CH 2-5 CONSTITUTION CONVENTION

Multiple Choice
Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question.
 
 
The Philadelphia convention was supposed to start on May 14, 1787, but few of the delegates had actually arrived in Philadelphia by that date. The convention formally opened in the East Room of the Pennsylvania State House (later named Independence Hall) on May 25. Fifty-five of the seventy-four delegates had arrived. Only Rhode Island, where feelings were strong against creating a more powerful central government, did not send any delegates.

Who Were the Delegates?
The fifty-five delegates were relatively young. James Madison was thirty-six, Alexander Hamilton was thirty-two, and Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey was twenty-six. Thirty-three of the delegates were members of the legal profession. Half of them were college graduates in a country in which less than 1 percent of the population finished college. Seven were former chief executives of their states; eight were important businessmen; six were large-plantation owners; and three were physicians.

Several men stood out as leaders. George Washington, who had served as commander in chief during the Revolutionary War, was already a national hero. Among all the prominent men assembled at the Philadelphia convention, Washington was immediately recognized as a leader. Benjamin Franklin was a world-famous scientist and diplomat. At eighty-one years old, he played an active role in the debates (even though he had to be carried in on a portable chair held by four prisoners from the local jail). Virginia had sent James Madison, a brilliant supporter of a strong central government. Madison's carefully taken notes are our primary source of information about what happened at the Constitutional Convention. He is often called the "Father of the Constitution" because he authored the basic plan of government that was ultimately adopted. Thomas Jefferson, unfortunately, could not be at the convention because he was serving as ambassador to France. John Adams could not attend either, as he was serving as ambassador to Great Britain.
 

 1. 

What is the author trying to communicate about the constitutional convention in Philadelphia.
a.
that the delegates were knowledgeable, experienced cross section of citizens
c.
that only 1 percent of the delegates were college graduates
b.
that the delegations were too young
d.
that there was a great deal of disunity among the delegates
 

 2. 

Who was considered the “father of the constitution?”
a.
Thomas Jefferson
c.
James Madison
b.
George Washington
d.
Benjamin Franklin
 

 3. 

Which state refused to participate in the convention?
a.
Virginia
c.
Pennsylvania
b.
New York
d.
Rhode Island
 
 
Working Conditions
The delegates worked for 116 days and actually met on 89. In their meeting room, the windows were usually shut. None of the delegates wanted anyone to hear what they were doing. They did not want rumors spread about the form of government on which they would ultimately decide. Besides, if they opened the windows, hordes of flies would descend upon them. The air became humid and hot by noon of each day. At the end of each session, they retired to a nearby tavern, the Indian Queen.

George Washington was chosen to preside over the meetings. Each state had one vote on all questions, and a simple majority rule was used. Delegates from at least seven states had to be present in order for business to be transacted.

All of the delegates agreed on a number of basic concepts. They wanted the powers of the national government to be divided among three branches: legislative, executive, and judicial. They wanted the central government to limit the power of the states to print their own money. And they all wanted, in varying degrees, a more powerful central government. Delegates therefore did not debate these fundamental issues. Rather, they argued over how to put these principles into practice
.
 

 4. 

What motivated the delegates to work under such adverse conditions at the constitutional convention?
a.
the desire to improve the government of the United States
c.
the desire to make their individual states more powerful
b.
they were not motivated
d.
the desire to make more money
 

 5. 

The over-all plan for government called for the government to be divided into _____ branches.
a.
three
c.
two
b.
four
d.
five
 
 
Revolutionary Plans and Compromises
James Madison had spent months reviewing European political theory before he went to the Philadelphia convention. His Virginia delegation arrived before anyone else, and he put the delegates to work immediately

On the first day of the convention, governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia was able to present fifteen resolutions, which became known as the Virginia Plan. This was a masterful political stroke on the part of the Virginia delegation. It immediately set the agenda-the plan of things to be done-for the remainder of the convention.
 

 6. 

How did Virginia set the agenda for the rest of the convention
a.
by introducing their plan first it became the main topic of discussion throughout the convention
c.
by having more votes than any other state at the convention
b.
by controlling the chairmanships of most of the committees
d.
by controlling the way the states were organized
 

 7. 

Albert Einstein was to the theory of relativity as James Madison was to __________
a.
colonial America
c.
the state of Virginia
b.
the constitution
d.
the revolutionary war
 
 
The Virginia Plan
The fifteen resolutions under the Virginia Plan proposed an entirely new national government. The plan, which favored large states such as Virginia, called for the following:
·     
Bicameral legislature-that is, a two-house legislature. (House and Senate)

Members of the lower house were to be chosen by the people. The upper house was to have fewer members, who were to be chosen by the elected members of the lower house. The number of representatives from each state would be based on the state's population, so the larger states would have more representatives. The national legislature could void any state laws.

A national executive branch, which would be elected by the legislature.

A national court system, created by the legislature.

The smaller states immediately complained. After all, under the Articles all states were equal, and the convention had no power to change this arrangement. In the Virginia plan the states with the most population would have the most members in the House of Representatives.
After two weeks of debate, the smaller states offered their own plan.

CONGRESS
LEGISLATIVE
PRESIDENT
EXECUTIVE
SUPREME COURT
JUDICIAL
House of Representatives
Senate
President
Supreme Court
 

 8. 

The Virginia plan favored the
a.
big states with more territory
c.
small states with smaller populations
b.
smaller states with less territory
d.
big states with more population
 

 9. 

How many branches of government were there under the Virginia plan?
a.
one
c.
two
b.
three
d.
none
 

 10. 

Why did the small states object to the Virginia Plan?
a.
the small states had less power in congress because they had less population
c.
all of these reasons
b.
under the Articles of Confederation all states had equal power
d.
the small states were afraid of the power of the big states
 

 11. 

Under the Virginia plan, who elected the president?
a.
the states
c.
the congress
b.
courts
d.
the people
 
 
The New Jersey Plan
William Paterson of New Jersey presented an alternative plan favorable to the smaller states. The New Jersey Plan, as it was called, was based more closely on the Articles of Confederation. He suggested the following:

·      That Congress be able to regulate trade and impose taxes.
·      That each state have only one vote.
·      That acts of Congress be the supreme law of the land.
·      That an executive office of more than one person be elected by Congress.
·      That the executive office appoint a national supreme court.
 

 12. 

Under the New Jersey plan, who had the power?
a.
the states, equally
c.
the people
b.
New Jersey
d.
the president
 
 
The Great Compromise
The Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan differed in several ways, but the major disagreement involved how states would be represented in the national legislature. Whereas the Virginia Plan would base representation on state population, the New Jersey Plan would provide equal representation for all the states. Since the large states had more population, they would have more power in the legislature (congress).

As the summer grew hotter, so did the tempers of the delegates. Most were unwilling to consider the New Jersey Plan. When the Virginia Plan was brought up again, delegates from the smaller states threatened to leave, and the convention was in danger of dissolving. The convention was deadlocked.

On July 16, Roger Sherman of Connecticut proposed a plan to resolve the large-state/small-state controversy. His plan became known as the Connecticut Compromise, or the Great Compromise. Sherman's plan, which dealt only with the disagreement about how states would be represented in the national legislature, proposed a two-house legislature with the following parts:

·A lower house, the House of Representatives, in which the number of representatives from each state would be based on the number of people in the state.
·     
An upper house, the Senate, which would have two members from each state elected by the state legislatures.

The Great Compromise broke the deadlock. Like any good compromise, it gave something to both sides. Representation in the House would be based on population, as the larger states wanted. But all states would be equally represented in the Senate, which is what the smaller states wanted.
 

 13. 

What is the main idea of the passage above?
a.
The delegates were willing to compromise over representation in the courts.
c.
Even though the delegates did not want to fail, they were more interested in preserving their own power in the new congress.
b.
Even though the delegates were interested in their own state interests they were willing to compromise over representation in the executive.
d.
Even though the delegates were interested in their own state interests they were willing to compromise over representation in the congress..
 

 14. 

In the compromise plan, the large states would have more power in the _____ and large and small states would have equal power in the _____ .
a.
senate - house of representatives
c.
congress - executive
b.
house of representatives - senate
d.
congress - judicial
 

 15. 

Why was representation in the congress such an important issue to the delegates?
a.
congress makes the laws for the country
c.
congress runs the day to day operation of the government
b.
congress is in charge of the states
d.
congress can change the constitution
 
 
The Slavery Question
A second important compromise settled a disagreement over how to count slaves for the purposes of determining how many representatives each state would have in the House of Representatives. Although slavery was legal in every state except Massachusetts, most slaves and slave owners lived in the South. The southern states wanted slaves to be counted equally in determining representation in Congress. Because they did not have many slaves, the northern states took the opposite position. They did not want slaves counted for representation purposes. The Three-Fifths Compromise broke this deadlock. Three-fifths of the slaves were to be counted for purposes of representation. (The three-fifths compromise was overturned in 1868 by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.)

The Three-Fifths Compromise did not satisfy everyone present. Many delegates wanted slavery banned completely in the United States. The delegates compromised on this question by agreeing that Congress could limit the number of slaves imported into the country after 1808, but the issue of slavery itself was never addressed. The South won twenty years of unrestricted slave trade and a requirement that slaves who escaped be returned to their owners.
 

 16. 

If the slaves were counted as part of the population of a state it would give the _____ more representatives in the new congress.
a.
three-fifths of the north
c.
north
b.
south
d.
three-fifths of the south
 

 17. 

(Read the entire passage above before answering this question)
The north was against slavery so it wanted the slaves counted as full citizens in state populations.
a.
true
b.
false
 
 
Other Issues
The delegates debated many other issues at the Constitutional Convention. These issues included the court system, the duration of the president's term of office, and the way the president should be elected. Commerce (trade) was also an issue. An important example involves export taxes.

The South's economic health depended in large part on its exports of agricultural products. (Exports are sales of goods to other countries.) The South feared that Congress might pass taxes on these exports. Another compromise was reached. The South agreed to let Congress have the power to regulate interstate commerce-commerce among the states-as well as commerce with other nations. In exchange, the South was guaranteed that no export taxes would ever be imposed on their products. Today, the United States is one of the few countries in the world that does not tax exports.
 

 18. 

Which statement below is true.
a.
the U.S. government can control trade between the states but cannot tax exports.
c.
the U.S. government can control trade between foreign countries but not between the states
b.
the U.S. government cannot control trade in the United States and cannot tax exports.
d.
the U.S. government can tax exports but not imports.
 

 19. 

The passage above shows that
a.
the delegates were willing to compromise over a wide range of issues
c.
the delegates were unwilling to compromise over trade issues
b.
the delegates did not care about trade issues
d.
what happened at the constitutional convention has very little effect on the real world we live in today
 
 
Ethics and Political Compromises

The founders are sometimes taken to task for not having banned slavery outright. After all, the Declaration of Independence stated that “All Men are created equal.” Additionally, many of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention thought that slavery was morally wrong. Why, then did the founders ignore the slavery issue and leave it for future generations to resolve?
The fact is, those delegates who strongly believed that slavery should be banned had to face reality. Slavery was an economic issue for the south who needed the slaves to work the plantations. The southern states would never accept the constitution if it interfered with the practice of slavery. The southerners believed that without slavery their economies would collapse. So, in order to create a new and stronger government, the founders compromised on the slavery question.
 

 20. 

If the anti-slavery people had insisted on banning slavery in the new constitution, what would have been the likely outcome.
a.
there would have been a civil war to keep the north from succeeding from the union
c.
the south would have walked out of the convention and there would be no new government
b.
the states would have gotten used to the idea and there would have been no problems.
d.
there might have been a revolt of the slaves against the south
 

 21. 

The main reason the south wanted to keep slavery was
a.
scientific
c.
ethical
b.
tradition
d.
economic
 



 
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