The Constitutional Convention was a political assembly that occurred between May and September of 1787 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and determined how the United States of America was to be governed. Following the drastic failure of the Articles of Confederation, the Framers gathered, looking toward a new ideal: one with a stronger national government, which would unify the states as one sovereign country. Prompted by the outset of the majority of its proponents, the conference had unanimously concurred the creation of a constitution, which would direct the new government.
However, the drafting process of the composition was greatly debated, as economic differences between the states created many conflicts. During the Convention, the North and South disputed over the issues of tariffs and slavery. To begin with, the purpose of tariffs was a major controversy for the country. The northern states believed that tariffs were necessary for their businesses to prosper, as taxes on British goods would make those products cost more than similar ones in America, resulting in a higher likelihood of American goods to be bought instead.
On the contrary, the South argued that tariffs unfairly favored the North, as they would increase the cost of European-manufactured goods for their own profit. Also, southerners feared that Great Britain might, in the same way, place taxes on the American agricultural products, which would make those goods much more difficult to sell overseas. Another argument between the North and the South was slavery. The economy of the South was predominantly agricultural, as they grew cash crops such as cotton, tobacco and indigo.
Many southerners were financially dependent on slaves because cheap labor made their goods more profitable. Those from the North, however, did not necessarily rely on slavery economically, and believed it was morally corrupt, hence their objection. Essentially, the North and South disagreed on the controversies of tariffs and slavery during the Convention. Following the intense debates of the Constitutional Convention, the Framers composed a Great Compromise over the issues of tariffs and slavery of the nation, which were therein implemented in the U. S. Constitution. Firstly, Article I, Section 8 resolved the issue of tariffs, which states the authority and responsibility of Congress to lay and collect taxes and duties, as well as to regulate national and foreign commerce relative to the country.
In the ninth section of Article 1, Congress was temporarily prevented from restricting slavery in the United States, as transcribed by the Founding Fathers: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing… hall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight. ” The second section, three-fifths clause, was an arrangement provided that in population-levied taxes, slaves would be counted as threefifths of the populace for the determination of the amount of taxes the states would pay. Also, Article IV, Section II, known as the fugitive slave clause, required that all runaways “held to service or labour” shall be returned to their owners.
In brief, Article 1, Sections VIII to IX, as well as the fugitive clause in Article IV, were the parts of the US Constitution that resulted from compromises over political disagreements during the Convention. The Framers were prudent in conducting the compromises on slavery, tariffs and other controversies because the settlements resolve political issues between the North and the South and ultimately led to a general agreement for the US Constitution by the states.
To begin, the compromise helped settle the trade affair, giving Congress the power to lay and collect taxes and duties, and regulate national and foreign commerce within the country. Without the pact, the north and south would not agree to, and would likely reject, the Constitution, as their economies established their authority in the country. Furthermore, the compromise on slavery satisfied the demands of the south. Although the majority of the country was opposed to slavery, many southerners were financially dependent on slavery and wanted the practice to continue.
By a majority of the Framers, it was accepted that the “migration and importation of slaves” were not to be prohibited by Congress prior to the year of 1808 in order to obtain the support of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, states needed to further gain support for the Constitution. Clearly, the Framers were judicious in making the tariff and slavery compromises because the agreements led to cooperation between the states regarding the US Constitution.
The slavery compromises written in the constitution have consequences that are found in modern day, often found in child labor laws. Although the compromise that stopped slave importation settled some differences, it did not do much to stop the oncoming expansion of slavery after cotton became a growing product in 1808. For example, due to the loopholes in child labor laws in America, teenagers work in harsh tobacco fields, and adolescents are given the same conditions of that of the eighteenth century slaves, having about as much nicotine in their systems as a regular smoker.
Despite the varying definition of slavery, the aspect is unfailing to all who are enslaved. In brief, the slavery compromises did not stop the onset considerably, but rather prompted modern day slavery. In conclusion, the disagreements between the North and the South were settled through compromises on the issues of tariffs and slavery, and these establishments by the Framers of the US Constitution essentially formed what our country is today.