The Evolution of the Constitution

The Evolution of The Constitution U. S. Constitution has been the basis of our government for more than 200 years. (Schmidt 35) Since the Ratification of the Constitution in 1787 we have continued to evolve the Constitution to meet our governmental needs. There are many milestones that have led us to our present condition however, one event in particular led to the creation of what we are today in society. May 14, 1787 the Constitutional Convention was held.

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Its main purpose was to restore relationships between states and the central government, determine the powers of national legislature, the need for executive leadership and establish policies for economic stability. (Schmidt 43) According to The Virginia Plan, there was a call for two chambers and a legislature which would give each state a different number of representatives based on the state’s population; this was unfavorable to the smaller states.

Next up for consideration was the New Jersey Plan which was an alteration of the Articles of Confederation. One state, one vote, Congress would regulate trade, a large executive body would be elected which would act as the Supreme Court. Since neither the larger nor the smaller states could agree with either plan, they made a compromise. The “Great Compromise” consisted of two chambers, the upper consisting of two members from each state elected by the state legislation, the lower chamber, population based.

There was, however an issue as how slaves should be counted. The northerners thought that slaves should not be counted at all for state population whereas the southerners wanted slaves counted the same as whites. Out of fear that they would loose the southern states, they made a compromise known as the three-fifths compromise. All slaves would be considered three-fifths of the population, benefitting the south as slavery was more concentrated.

The next issue at hand was how the judiciary and executive branches were to separate powers, which is where the Madisonian Model came into play. This model gave each of the three branches independence from each other while each having the same amount of power. (ex: Checks and Balances) The U. S. Constitution was a groundbreaking document in so many ways, it established a new government like no one had seen before. This document gained a relationship with its national government, the people and the states.

A significant accomplishment was how “we the people” created a federal system with a supreme national government, separating the powers of government into three branches that check and balance each other so that no one area has more power than the other. Its flexibility allows for the Constitution to grow as we grow, as a nation, thus creating a republican form of government. I couldn’t think of a better way to have our government run. Although the system isn’t always favorable to everyone, it is the best system to provide for the majority of the people.


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