Convention and Ratification
When delegates to the Constitutional Convention began to assemble at Philadelphia in May 1787, they quickly resolved to replace rather than merely revise the Articles of Confederation. Although James Madison is known as the “father of the constitution,” George Washington’s support gave the convention its hope of success.
Division of power between branches of government and between the federal and state governments, slavery, trade, taxes, foreign affairs, representation, and even the procedure to elect a president were just a few of the contentious issues. Diverging plans, strong egos, regional demands, and states’ rights made solutions difficult. Five months of debate, compromise, and creative strategies produced a new constitution creating a federal republic with a strong central government, leaving most of the power with the state governments.
Ten months of public and private debate were required to secure ratification by the minimum nine states. Even then Rhode Island and North Carolina held out until after the adoption of a Bill of Rights.
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