Historical context[ edit ] Before the Constitution was drafted, the nearly 4 million inhabitants  of the 13 newly independent states were governed under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Unioncreated by the Second Continental Congressfirst proposed inadopted by the Second Continental Congress in and only finally unanimously ratified by the Original Thirteen States by It soon became evident to nearly all that the chronically underfunded Confederation government, as originally organized, was inadequate for managing the various conflicts that arose among the states. James Madison suggested that state governments should appoint commissioners "to take into consideration the trade of the United States; to examine the relative situation and trade of said states; to consider how far a uniform system in their commercial regulations may be necessary to their common interests and permanent harmony".
At first, the convention was very secretive. No members of the press were allowed to observe, and no official journal of the proceedings were kept.
In fact, chaperones were assigned to Ben Franklin at all times, the eldest of the delegates, who had a reputation for being talkative. The chaperones assumed the responsibility for making sure that Franklin did not publicize the details of the debates.
They were convinced of the need for a stronger national government. The vast majority of delegates entered the proceedings similarly convinced by their experiences under the Articles.
The first question facing the delegates was whether to attempt to amend the Articles of Confederation or to throw out the Articles and create a new framework of government.
The decision was made early on to create a new framework embodied in a new national constitution. At this point, the convention became known as the Constitutional Convention. Once the drafting of the Constitution had begun, it became clear that the major stumbling block to agreement on a governmental system would be achieving a balance between the needs of large and small states.
James Madison presented the first suggested framework of government which contained a solution to this conflict of interests in the Virginia Plan. The Virginia Plan called for a strong, unified national government rather than a loose confederation of states.
The Plan gave Congress unbridled powers of legislation and taxation, and allowed Congress to veto state laws and use military force against the states. The Plan further called for a bicameral legislature with representation in both houses based on state population.
The lower house would choose the members of the upper house from a pool selected by the state legislatures. These houses would jointly name the president and federal judges. The Virginia Plan met with staunch opposition, especially in regard to the scheme for representation as proportional to population.
The New Jersey Plan called for a unicameral congress in which each state would have an equal number of seats. This was the only main difference between the plans, as both would strengthen the national government at the expense of state power. The debate over representation resulted in a long impasse that held up the proceedings of the convention for weeks.
Finally, the delegates from each state agreed to assign one member to a "grand committee," which would decide the issue once and for all. On July 17, the committee approved the Connecticut Compromise, which gave each state an equal vote in the upper house, and made representation in the lower house proportional to population.A summary of The Constitutional Convention in 's Building the State ().
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Although authorized by the Congress of the Confederation, the Constitutional Convention of was nevertheless cloaked with secrecy and confidentiality. The official papers of the Convention sat in the Department of State, untouched, until Monday, September 17, , was the last day of the Constitutional Convention.
Pennsylvania delegate Benjamin Franklin, one of the few Americans of the time with international repute, wanted to give a short speech to the Convention prior to the signing of the final draft of the Constitution.
The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation (popularly known as the Constitution Annotated) contains legal analysis and interpretation of the United States Constitution, based primarily on Supreme Court case law. This regularly updated resource is especially useful when researching the constitutional implications .
The Constitution provides two methods for proposing constitutional amendments: the congressional proposal method and the convention method. Under the convention method, when two thirds of the state legislatures apply for a convention, the Congress is required to call for a “Convention for proposing Amendments.”.
The Constitutional Convention Summary On May 25, , 55 delegates, representing every state but Rhode Island, met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, which is now known as Independence Hall. Notable delegates included George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.