What Were Some of the Major Compromises of the Constitutional Convention?

Some of the major compromises agreed to by the United States Constitutional Convention of 1787 were the national government’s lack of veto power regarding new state laws, the method by which members of Congress would be apportioned and the continuance of the slave trade for at least another 20 years. One of the major debates revolved around how “proportional representation” was to be defined. The delegates representing the smaller states were wary of a strong federal government and did not want the degree of their representation to be based on population.

The original intent of the Constitutional Convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation that created the U.S. so that the provisions of the Constitution would be more “adequate to the exigencies of the Union.” Some of the delegates, however, viewed the convention as an opportunity to create an entirely new government. After winning the Revolutionary War, many of the states began to display a greater concern for their own interests rather than the needs of a strong federal government.

The method by which the president was to be elected represented a significant compromise. The delegates were concerned that a direct election would result in people voting only for candidates who were from their own region or state. Political parties had not been formed at the time of election and it was well known that information and news traveled slowly in the 18th century. A small, but vocal, block of delegates felt that the president should be elected by the state governors. One of the last major differences among the delegates to be resolved, the issue was settled by the agreement to form an electoral college.