Countdown to the Constitution – Virginia Plan Debated

June 1st, 2012 by

Philadelphia – The end of May saw the Convention responding to the Virginia delegation’s bold plan. The Virginians had proposed replacing the Articles of Confederation – a task far beyond what many Convention delegates thought they were authorized to do – with a powerful national government. When proponents of this plan failed to win agreement Read more…

Delaware: The First State

December 7th, 2011 by

On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the new United States Constitution.  Delaware was concerned about their small size and lack of economic viability and decided that ratifying the Constitution would be in their best interest. . Because the Articles of Confederation did not provide an effective national government, a Constitutional Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Brearly Committee – Powers of Congress

September 7th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – As September began, the Convention had made remarkable progress toward drafting a new Constitution, but many questions had been left for later. The delegates agreed “to refer such parts of the Constitution as have been postponed, and such parts of Reports as have not been acted on, to a Committee of a member Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Reviewing Committee of Detail Report

August 29th, 2011 by

Philadelphia—The delegates, having now tackled topics as challenging as representation in Congress and several issues related to slavery, are beginning to see a light at the end of the tunnel. But decisions remain related to the separation of powers between the three national branches, as well as to federalism: the assignment of powers between the Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Slavery

August 22nd, 2011 by

Philadelphia – When the Convention began their work in earnest in the spring of 1787, its delegates must have known that the complex issue of slavery would be a “make-or-break” matter for the new republic.  Indeed, the volatile issue would wait a full three months into the Convention before being tackled with any level of Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Council of Revision

July 22nd, 2011 by

Two months into the Convention, the delegates could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel. Delegates had debated the resolutions presented by the delegation of Virginia, amended them, and debated them again. Before sending the revised amendments to a Committee of Detail that would create a rough draft of the Constitution, however, Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Reviewing Committee of Detail Report

July 18th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – As the convention pressed into the late days of July, debate turned to the revised Virginia Plan’s resolutions on the Executive Branch. The ninth resolution proposed that “a National Executive be instituted to consist of a single person, to be chosen by the National Legislature for the term of seven years…”. All delegations Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Representation: Down to the Details

July 11th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – The Gerry Commission report gave form to the idea, which had been bubbling up in debate, of a union “partly national, partly federal”. Because this idea was gaining momentum, the Gerry Commission report might be seen as the “Nationalists’ Last Gasp.” The bloc of delegates – including James Madison, James Wilson, and Gouverneur Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Gerry Committee

July 4th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – The eleventh anniversary of independence saw the Convention at an impasse. The delegates could not agree on the question of how to structure a legislative body for the union – because all knew this decision raised the question of whether they should merely strengthen the confederation, or create a new national government in Read more…

Countdown to the Constitution – Connecticut Compromise

June 30th, 2011 by

Philadelphia – Well over a month into the convention, the delegates are still at odds over how to settle the question of representation in the new government. All believed that the answer to this question would determine whether the states would continue as distinct political societies, or whether the new national government would form one Read more…