It was a call to amend the articles of confederation

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confirmed by the legislatures of every state, will effectively provide for the same. It was a call to amend the Articles of Confederation. H. December 5, 1786. Washington was appointed one of seven Virginia delegates to the proposed convention of states. He declined the appointment, but later agreed to attend the convention in Philadelphia. By February 10, 1787, following Virginia’s lead, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Delaware, and Georgia elected delegates to the Convention. THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION PERIOD (1787-1789) By the end of the 1780’s, the Confederation Congress was unpopular, and most Americans were now convinced that the Articles of Confederation would not work. A group of wealthy, strong nationalists (Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, Robert Morris) called for major constitutional reforms (they wanted an amendment to collect a 5% tax (Impost of 1781) on imported goods sold in the states (the money was to be used to reduce the national debt. Rhode Island killed the proposal (the small state feared a powerful federal government that might erode the rights of citizens). A constitution is a special kind of law that sets down basic rules of government and the people who run them. A constitution (1) grants powers (some clear and some implied) (2) prohibits officials from conduct or actions that are considered harmful to citizens of the nation or a state (3) distributed powers between different parts of a government (balance of power). People in a nation or state with a constitution live under a “Constitutional Government.” The most successful constitutions are short or overly detailed. U.S. CONSTITUTION TRIVIA *Philadelphia had a population of 43,000, was the largest and most cosmopolitan city, and was known for its sophistication and culture. It was lively, attractive, well-ordered and had many features of a large European city. It contained a large, number of free blacks. It was a popular convention site (The First Continental Congress met here in 1774, the Second Continental Congress met here in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was written here). The city was also dirty, noisy (The city commissioner had a load of gravel and hay spread over the cobblestone street to cushion the noise), and hot during the summer. *Five days before the convention, the delegates adopted a proposal by Edmund Randolph (Virginia) to not revise the Articles, but
completely write a new constitution. *The goal of the convention was to save the loose Union of thirteen states from collapsing. *Rain and muddy roads delayed the arrival of the delegates. Only delegates from two states arrived on May 14, 1787. The convention did not reach a quorum until May 25 when 29 delegates from nine states arrived. The full number of 55 would not be reached until August 6. *The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and the shortest (contains 4400 words) written constitution of any major government in the world. It took four months of debate to complete the 23-clause document.

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