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What were the major ideological disagreements that arose during the Constitutional Convention?

The major ideological disagreements during the Constitutional Convention centred on representation, slavery, and the power of the federal government.

The Constitutional Convention, held in Philadelphia in 1787, was a pivotal moment in American history. Delegates from twelve of the thirteen states gathered to create a new constitution to replace the ineffective Articles of Confederation. However, the process was fraught with ideological disagreements, the most significant of which revolved around representation, slavery, and the power of the federal government.

The first major disagreement was over representation in the new Congress. Delegates from larger, more populous states favoured the Virginia Plan, which proposed representation based on population. In contrast, smaller states supported the New Jersey Plan, which advocated for equal representation regardless of population size. This dispute was eventually resolved with the Great Compromise, which established a bicameral legislature with one house based on population (the House of Representatives) and the other providing equal representation for all states (the Senate).

Another contentious issue was slavery. Southern states, where slavery was integral to the economy, wanted slaves to be counted as part of their population for representation purposes. Northern states, on the other hand, opposed this, arguing that if slaves were property and not citizens, they should not be counted. This dispute led to the Three-Fifths Compromise, which determined that each slave would be counted as three-fifths of a person for both representation and taxation purposes.

The third major disagreement was over the power of the federal government. Some delegates, known as Federalists, believed in a strong central government that could override state laws. Others, known as Anti-Federalists, feared that a powerful central government would infringe upon states' rights and individual liberties. This ideological divide persisted even after the convention, influencing the ratification process and leading to the creation of the Bill of Rights to protect individual liberties.

In conclusion, the Constitutional Convention was a complex and contentious event, marked by significant ideological disagreements. These disputes over representation, slavery, and the power of the federal government not only shaped the constitution but also laid the groundwork for future conflicts in American politics.

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