Constitutional Convention of 1787

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What was it and who attended?

The Continental Congress held in 1787 was a meeting to discuss the problems the founding fathers were having. Of the 343 people who attended, George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe and 90 other delegates were present.

Reasons the Constitutional Convention was held

The Constitutional Convention was held to settle disputes that have arose since the revolutionary war. Problems such as having no power to regulate domestic affairs, no power to tax, and no power to regulate commerce. Without these powers congress had to depend on the states financially and often times the states would deny them. Congress also had no money to pay the soldiers for their time in the revolutionary war and also what was spend during the war. This also led to the shays rebellion, with many angry farmers in Rhode Island who wanted their debts to be paid. These problems were all the result of the Articles of Confederation needing great modifications.

During the Convention

The convention was held a week later than scheduled, May 25, 1787. The first order of business was to conduct who would be the president of the convention and that person was George Washington, another one of the first things to be done was to set the rules for the convention. The rules stated that anything discussed in that room would be sworn to secrecy.

The first real discussions began 4 days later when Governor Edmund Randolph proposed his plan for a new structure of government called the ¨Virginia Plan.¨ This government was to be a strong national government with both branches of the the legislative branch appointed by population. However the delegates from smaller states did not approve of this new government representation by population so another form of government was created called the ¨New Jersey Plan¨ this form of government gave each state one vote of representation.

Over the course of the next three months many other problems came to order. New powers were created to regulate the economy, currency and the national defense. Congress however was not able to abolish the slave trade but slave were given a 3/5 representation when appointing representatives and determining electoral votes.

By September the final revisions were made and thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates (states) supported the new constitution.