Constitution of the United States


The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were present initially, the members adjourned from one day to the next until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles of Confederation, the convention would draft an entirely new framework for the government. All through the summer, the delegates debated, drafted, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution in closed sessions. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected--directly by the people or by the state legislators. The Constitution was the work of many minds and stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

Last updated: April 6, 2016