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The Constitutional Convention of 1787 was held from the months of May to September at the Philadelphia State House Representatives from twelve of the thirteen colonies attended to debate a wide range of constitutional provisions from the Bill of Rights to the power of taxation The issue on the mind of almost every representative was what kind of government was best for a republic Certain states submitted plans for a republican government however the most popular was the plan submitted by the Virginia delegation lead by James Madison The Virginia Plan called for a government with three distinct branches legislative executive and judicial Using Montesquieus theory of checks and balances it was intended to ensure that no group could have too much authority which could lead to tyranny Although the delegates supported most of the proposed principles of the Virginia Plan they were in disagreement in certain areas of the plan The highest debate concerned the section on representation in the legislative branch The Virginia Plan proposed that representation in the legislatives houses would be based on population of the state Small states objected saying that it would leave them helpless in a government dominated by large states In turn they supported plan proposed by New Jersey that gave all states an equal representation regardless of the population The New Jersey Plan set up a two-part legislature where representation in the House of Representatives was based on population and in the Senate each state was guaranteed a fixed two representatives The issue of representation transformed into the debate over who would be counted as part of a states population Delegate from southern states argued that slaves should be counted for the purposes of representation but not for the purposes of taxation Representatives of Northern states felt the exact opposite and argued that slaves should be counted when determining the states share of taxes and not counted in representation because they are considered to
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