Was the purpose of the Convention primarily political or was it economic? Was it to strengthen and preserve the integrity of the recently independent confederacy or was it to defend and perpetuate the special advantages of property owners? Were the delegates more afraid of disunion and foreign intervention, or of the growing numbers and influence of less wealthy citizens?
I believe, and shall argue, that the priority concerns of the Convention, although clearly and consciously carrying economic implications, were fundamentally political.
The nature of the problems, and the proper solutions, were seen by different delegates from several divergent and often conflicting perspectives. The special circumstances and interests of the separate states strongly influenced these perspectives but did not always determine them--hence the divided votes within state delegations.
The nationalists were eager to arrest two interrelated postwar trends,