Document Type

Research Paper

Publication Date



United States, Government, History, United States History, Constitution, Constitutional Convention, State Ratifying Conventions, Republic, Founding Fathers


Although there have been amendments added over time, we continue to follow the foundation laid out in the Constitution over 200 years ago. However, there currently remains disagreement among scholars over the motivation behind decisions made during both the Constitutional Convention and the State Ratifying Conventions. Some scholars argue that the Constitution was the final result of thoughtful deliberation in which reason and principle prevailed. Other scholars suggest that reason had little to do with the Convention and both individual and state interests drove the decisions that were made. Some scholars come in with a third point of view, but still fall short of grasping the whole picture. By analyzing the arguments made by these scholars, as well as the actual records of the Constitutional Convention and State Ratifying Conventions, this essay comes to a new conclusion, provides new insight, and attempts to bridge this gap. Further, this project of understanding the motives behind our founders has become ever more important in today’s political climate. During this most recent presidential election, there has been an increased concern with how our government functions. By looking at the arguments that the founders made, we can better understand the logic behind their decisions, whether it is equal representation in the Senate, the function of the legislature in general, or how we elect the President. In doing so, we can come to our own conclusions on the benefits or drawbacks of the various details of our government.


This paper was nominated for the Libraries Undergraduate Research Award by Dr. Johann Neem, faculty in Western Washington University’s Department of History.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Political culture--United States--History; Founding Fathers of the United States; Constitutional history--United States

Geographic Coverage

United States--Politics and government--Philosophy

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