What was the supposed “challenge” people like Madison faced when writing the Constitution? What was their answer?

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The biggest challenge that the writers of the US Constitution faced was balancing the wishes and needs of the various factions within the young country. Generally, representatives from large states had a different vision than those from small states. Some factions supported federalism while others opposed it. There was also a debate between slaveholders and those who opposed their interests. Madison, and others dedicated to the success of the Constitutional Convention, solved this by seeking compromises between the various factions.

Madison, and others who desperately wanted to draft a new governing document, knew that if all these various needs were not addressed to a satisfactory degree, the whole nation could crumble. Madison proved to be a master at striking compromises. As a Federalist, he managed to create a new governmental system along Federalist lines. Yet he appeased the Anti-federalists through the creation of the Bill of Rights, which guarantees the liberties of Americans and individual states.

Large states and small states found their compromise in the creation of a bicameral legislature. Large states liked that they had representation based on population in the House of Representatives. Meanwhile, small states enjoyed equal representation in the Senate.

Slavery was a trickier compromise to manage. The Three-Fifths Compromise settled the issue of how slaves would be counted for tax and representation purposes. In the end, a resolution to the divisive issue of slavery was delayed through a clause that stated that the issue of slavery would be revisited in 1808.

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