Miracle in Philadelphia
There was one issue on which everyone at the Constitutional Convention was stubborn, and it had to do with the new government's legislative branchthe Congress. The original plan said that the number of congressmen each state would have should be decided by population. That meant that the states with the most people would have the most congressmen. The opposing plan said that each state should have an equal number of representatives. That meant that Delaware, with 59,000 people, would have the same number of congressmen as Virginia, with almost 692,000. Was that fair? Neither side would budge. And then Roger Sherman of Connecticut came up with a compromise. This is what he suggested: One house of the legislature should reflect a state's populationthe House of Representatives. One house should have an equal number of representatives from each statethe Senate. That was the most important compromise. And that simple solution meant there would be a constitution. On September 12, 1787, the final wording of the Constitution was presented to the convention . It began like this: "We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America ."
But when the framers said "We the people," did they really mean all the people? Most experts say no. They say the Founders didn't mean Native Americans , who were thought to be part of separate "nations." And they certainly didn't mean slaves. The South was not ready to give up slavery, and the southern states would not approve a constitution that eliminated it. So the delegates compromised. And though women were thought of as part of the people, citizenshipincluding the votewas not extended to them.