-Source-History.com- -Quote of the Day-Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. John Wayne In Philadelphia delegates to the Constitutional Convention begin debating the first complete draft of the proposed Constitution of the United States. The Articles of Confederation ratified several months before the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781 provided for a loose confederation of U.S. states which were sovereign in most of their affairs. On paper Congressthe central authorityhad the power to govern foreign affairs conduct war and regulate currency but in practice these powers were sharply limited because Congress was given no authority to enforce its requests to the states for money or troops. By 1786 it was apparent that the Union would soon break up if the Articles of Confederation were not amended or replaced. Five states met in Annapolis Maryland to discuss the issue and all the states were invited to send delegates to a new constitutional convention to be held in Philadelphia. On May 25 1787 delegates representing every state except Rhode Island convened at Philadelphias Pennsylvania State House for the Constitutional Convention. The building which is now known as Independence Hall had earlier seen the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the signing of the Articles of Confederation. The assembly immediately discarded the idea of amending the Articles of Confederation and set about drawing up a new scheme of government. Revolutionary War hero George Washington a delegate from Virginia was elected convention president. During an intensive debate the delegates devised a brilliant federal system characterized by an intricate system of checks and balances. The convention was divided over the issue of state representation in Congress as more-populated states sought proportional legislation and smaller states wanted equal representation. The problem was resolved by the Connecticut Compromise which proposed a bicameral legislature with proportional representation in the lower house (House of Representatives) and equal representation of the states in the upper house (Senate).
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