North-South Alliances During the Drafting of the Constitution: The Costs of Compromise

Chapter
Part of the Studies in Public Choice book series (SIPC, volume 35)

Abstract

This chapter challenges the long-standing conclusion that North-South alignments helped bring the 1787 Constitutional Convention to a successful conclusion. The widely divergent economic interests between the regions regarding commercial and merchant activities, imports and exports, and slavery and the slave trade created such widely divergent sectional differences that the North-South agreements and compromises that were necessary to complete the Constitution created a governing institution that sowed the seeds of its own downfall. By 1861, the Constitution’s original design could no longer serve as the nation’s governing institution; its design created circumstances that led to southern secession and a civil war that killed and wounded more than a million Americans, cost several billion dollars, and required three major amendments to “save” the Constitution as the nation’s governing institution. This chapter draws on economic reasoning, political theory, and the historical record of the 1787 Constitutional Convention to challenge the long-standing conclusion that the North-South alignments helped bring the convention to a successful conclusion. The methodological approach involves juxtaposing economic principles and the issue positions of the framers and their states on the major North–South agreements and compromises among the delegates.

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The University of AkronAkronUSA

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