Constitutional Compromise | iCivics (2024)

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Constitutional Compromise | iCivics (8)

Constitutional Compromise challenges you and your students to find a way forward for a young nation as disagreements mount. Engage in the ideas discussed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and discover the compromises made by the 55 delegates.

In this game, you and your students will hear from delegates as they cast their vision for the future of the United States and weigh the options. Students will balance the interests of a diverse set of states, navigate the interests of delegates who envision vastly different roles of the new government, and process the difficult decisions addressing the institution of slavery in the states. This game invites students to not only understand how issues were resolved in 1787, but to further explore the unfinished work of the Convention in securing liberty and happiness for all.

Not all compromises are (or were) the ideal outcomes. While based on real debates and historical arguments, this game should not be considered a historical reenactment. Players cannot win the game by simply choosing as the delegates did. Rather, the purpose of this game is for players to work through the challenges of the time. In the end, your students will discover how their game play compares to what really happened in Philadelphia.

In Constitutional Compromise, your students will:

  • Experience the main historical debates of the Constitutional Convention
  • Identify points from each side of a debate to build a compromise
  • See how game compromises compares to the historical outcome
  • Discover the modern relevance of each debate

For English and Multilingual Learners: Use the support tool, Spanish translation, voiceover, and glossary.

Teachers, check out theExtension Packwith activities and teaching tools to reinforce key game concepts.

This game was made in partnership with George Washington's Mount Vernon, with support from Kenneth C. Griffin.

Constitutional Compromise Extension Pack Activities and teaching tools to reinforce key game concepts.


  • Explore the key questions debated during the convention
  • Evaluate the arguments made during the debates
  • Describe the compromises made in the convention to maintain forward momentum
  • Describe George Washington’s role in the Constitutional Convention
  • Connect the experience with the original constitution and current constitutional law


  • Constitutional Compromise Game Guide.pdf

This Game is included in the following units:

Road to the Constitution

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Constitutional Compromise | iCivics (2024)


What was the constitutional compromise summary? ›

Great Compromise

Also known as the Connecticut Compromise, a major compromise at the Constitutional Convention that created a two-house legislature, with the Senate having equal representation for all states and the House of Representatives having representation proportional to state populations.

What were the 4 major compromises of the Constitutional Convention? ›

There were four main compromises that were necessary in order to adopt and ratify the Constitution. These compromises were the Great (Connecticut) Compromise, Electoral College, Three-Fifths Compromise, and Compromise on the importation of slaves.

Why were compromises important to the success of the Constitutional Convention? ›

The Great Compromise settled the big state / small state controversy that threatened the very existence of the United States of America as a single, unified nation. The larger, more populous states wanted representation in the Congress to be solely in proportion to population.

What compromise in the Constitution matters most today? ›

Called the “Great Compromise” or the “Connecticut Compromise,” this unique plan for congressional representation resolved the most controversial aspect of the drafting of the Constitution.

What was the main idea of the compromise? ›

The Compromise of 1850 was made up of five separate bills that made the following main points: Permitted slavery in Washington, D.C., but outlawed the slave trade. Added California to the Union as a “free state”

Is compromise always fair? ›

Certainly, not all compromises must be fair and, if fairness is not a concern, negotiation or bargaining processes work fine.

What happened at the Great Compromise? ›

The compromise provided for a bicameral legislature, with representation in the House of Representatives according to population and in the Senate by equal numbers for each state.

When did the compromise get passed? ›

The Compromise of 1850 consists of five laws passed in September of 1850 that dealt with the issue of slavery and territorial expansion. In 1849 California requested permission to enter the Union as a free state, potentially upsetting the balance between the free and slave states in the U.S. Senate.

Could the Constitution be written without compromise? ›

Without compromise a new constitution, a stronger functioning central government, would never have been ratified. Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut, provided the opening salvo when he proposed early on a bicameral legislature.

Who signed all three founding documents? ›

Roger Sherman is the only person to have signed all four of the most significant documents in our nation's early history: the Continental Association from the first Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the United States Constitution.

Were there any weaknesses in the Constitution? ›

It is no secret that the Constitution signed on that fateful day of September 17, 1787 was highly flawed. It denied women and minorities, especially black individuals, their basic human rights for decades to come. It protected slavery. It denied civil liberties that should have been guaranteed to all.

What were the three major issues at the Constitutional Convention? ›

The major debates were over representation in Congress, the powers of the president, how to elect the president (Electoral College), slave trade, and a bill of rights.

Why was the Constitutional Convention necessary? ›

Delegates gathered to correct the various problems that had arisen while the newly-independent nation was operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. The historic result of the Convention was the crafting of the United States Constitution.

What are three important achievements of the Constitutional Convention? ›

There are three possible achievements of the Constitutional Convention that could be considered the most important: drafting the Constitution, ratifying the Constitution, and creating the three branches of government.

What compromise finally made the Constitution the law of the land? ›

In the end, they settled on the Great Compromise (sometimes called the Connecticut Compromise), in which the House of Representatives would represent the people as apportioned by population; the Senate would represent the States apportioned equally; and the President would be elected by the Electoral College.

What was the Great Compromise in simple terms? ›

The Great Compromise established the United States legislature as a bicameral, or two-house law-making body. In the Senate, each state would be allowed two representatives; in the House of Representatives, the number of representatives allowed for each state would be determined by its population.

What was the constitutional compromise on slavery in 1787? ›

Three-fifths compromise, compromise agreement between delegates from the Northern and the Southern states at the United States Constitutional Convention (1787) that three-fifths of the enslaved population would be counted for determining direct taxation and representation in the House of Representatives.

What was the key compromise in the Great Compromise of the Constitution? ›

Their so-called Great Compromise (or Connecticut Compromise in honor of its architects, Connecticut delegates Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth) provided a dual system of congressional representation. In the House of Representatives each state would be assigned a number of seats in proportion to its population.

What was one compromise of the Constitution? ›

Representation would be adjusted every ten years through a federal census that counted every person in the country. By coming up with a mixed solution that balanced state sovereignty and popular sovereignty tied to actual population, the Constitution was forged through what is known as the Connecticut Compromise.

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