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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
On February 21, 1787, the Continental Congress resolved that:
is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of
delegates who shall have been appointed by the several States be held
at Philladelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the
Articles of Confederation...
The original states,
except Rhode Island, collectively appointed 70 individuals to the
Constitutional Convention, but a number did not accept or could not
attend. Those who did not attend included Richard Henry Lee, Patrick
Henry, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Samuel Adams and, John Hancock.
In all, 55 delegates
attended the Constitutional Convention sessions, but only 39 actually
signed the Constitution. The delegates ranged in age from Jonathan
Dayton, aged 26, to Benjamin Franklin, aged 81, who was so infirm that
he had to be carried to sessions in a sedan chair.
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 at
first present, the members adjourned from day to day 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,
the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All
through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and
redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. 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 work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a
model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect
Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the
common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings
of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America.
To Learn More about this historic document of Freedom: