From Confederation to the Constitution.

Constitution - a framework for settling political disputes. It "involves a set of fundamental rules and customary procedures designed to resolve political differences and make political decisions legitimate." There are two types - written and unwritten.

In May 1787, delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies met in Philadelphia for the purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation. Philadelphia Convention.

Rhode Island did not send a delegation. They feared a strong national government. .

It was called the Federal Convention at the time.

55 delegates took part. George Washington presided over the convention but he did not play an active part in the debates.

30 were active in the proceedings. All were well educated and fluent in Latin and Greek.

They relied on classical liberalism for their philosophical underpinnings.

Proceedings were kept secret.

The Convention initially limited its mission to "the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation.".

Delegates quickly abandoned the goal of revising the Articles and got on with the task of drafting a new document to establish an effectual national government.

Virginia Plan .

On 29 May, Edmond Randolph and James Madison of Virginia offered the first proposal for a new government. Delegates agreed to debate this plan and in so doing formally abandoned the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation.


Separation of government into 3 branches:.

LEGISLATIVE - law making branch.

EXECUTIVE - law enforcing branch.

JUDICIAL - branch which interprets law.

Bi-cameral (two house) legislature.

FIRST - elected by people.

SECOND - state legislature put forward candidates whom the first chamber chooses.

Each state's representation in the legislature should be in proportion to its population. (For this reason, the larger, more populous states endorsed this plan).