What was Discussed at the Constitutional Convention?

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As the United States was first being constructed, our country’s government started collectively as independently governed states. Throughout time, our government’s terms and laws have changed to the constantly advancing times, culture, and technology. With Alexander Hamilton’s governmental intervention, known as the Constitutional Convention, along with many other innovative minds, our government and country has been able to mold to its inevitable future.

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“What was Discussed at the Constitutional Convention?”

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New York’s Alexander Hamilton saw many flaws in the United States Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation was an early Constitution that was mainly directed towards the states individually, instead of the country as a whole. The states were not unified with no central nor national government, this caused the states to function as if they were their own country, which created many economical problems with travel, trade, and currency. Hamilton recognized this issue and decided to call together a Constitutional Convention to discuss this dilemma.

The Constitutional Convention was a committee of delegates in the United States who secretly came together in Philadelphia during the spring of 1787 to discuss the Articles of Confederation. The intention of the convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation, but the congress neglected the revision and instead designed a completely new constitution that was based centrally on a strong national government.

The delegates, also referred to as the framers of the Constitution were made up of fifty-five men that represented the original thirteen states, excluding Rhode Island, who did not want to have a strong national government. The convention was held in what is known today as Independence Hall, formally called the Pennsylvania State House. The delegates consisted of farmers, merchants, lawyers, and bankers, many of which had also served in the Continental Army.

During the convention, the committee of delegates devised three branches of government, the legislative, judicial, and executive branch. The legislative branch consists of two houses known as the Senate and House of Representatives, the obligation of the legislative branch is to produce laws. The judicial branch is ordered to elucidate the laws, where as the where as the executive branch conducts the laws made by the legislative branch. These branches were instituted to divide the power amongst the government. The system of Checks and Balances assures that no one branch of government is able to obtain distinct domination over another branch of government.

Slavery was a topic that was rarely brought up in the formation of the Constitution, primarily due to the cause that delegates were from both the North and the South. Southerners supported the idea of slavery, but viewed slaves as property and not people, whereas the Northerners pictured slaves as people and that they should not be viewed as property. Both the Southerners and Northerners has a constant fear that if the topic of slavery was brought up, uneasy controversies would arise and the convention would be called to an end. Eventually, the idea of slavery was called to attention, the delegates appointed the issue and announced a solution known as the three-fifths clause. The three-fifths clause was a compromise that proposed that every slavery in specific states will be accounted as three-fifths of a white person in the population numbers of that state. The three-fifths clause will eventually be declared unconstitutional through the thirteenth amendment when slavery is outlawed.

George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army was one of the delegates who was requested to attend the Constitutional Convention. Throughout the convention, Washington displayed compelling leadership mannerism, and was anonymously elected the first president of the United States, he also came to be the first delegate to sign the United States Constitution. Washington stated, “It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different states… should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections, this quote signifies the importance of the delegates working together to form a unified country and a government that will succeed in the formation of the country.

James Madison was one of the delegates that represented the state of Virginia. Eleven years before the Constitutional Convention, Madison conducted the Virginia Plan, which served as a debate for the development of the Constitution and was solely based on the argument of a strong central government. Madison presented this debate in hope to officially unify the United States. In the duration of the convention, Madison served as a note taker and was present at each and every one of the Congress’ meetings to write down the events that the congress had discussed. Without Madison’s transcriptions, we would know very little of the proceedings that had taken place during the Convention.

Madison became an affiliate of the House of Representatives in 1789, the primary contribution Madison devoted to the Constitution was the initiation of the amendments. The amendments are presently known as the Bill of Rights. James had first produced a total of nineteen amendments, the Congress had only passed twelve of the amendments to be further evaluated by the thirteen states, after several months, ten of the original amendments were proven constitutional and then added to the Constitution. The first ten amendments guarantee the rights of United States citizens.

As of 2011, the United States Congress has passed a total of twenty-seven amendments from 1789, when the Bill of Rights was first presented. Since amendments are ratifications to the Constitution, the United States Congress is allowed to continually add new and improved amendments to justify advancing times, cultures, and technology, not specified in the original document of the Constitution. The amendments are the primary resource for the constantly changing Constitution, as new advancements take place in the United States, the Constitution presented in 1787 may not have the same effects in current time as it did in the 1700’s and 1800’s, hence the need for improved laws and practices in today’s society.

The United States would not be where it stands today if it were not for the many innovative and determined Founding Fathers of the United States Constitution. The formation of the Constitutional Convention plays a key role in the principles of government found in our Constitution, which has brought our country to its inevitable future, that will continue to grow and strive.


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What was discussed at the Constitutional Convention?. (2019, Dec 31). Retrieved January 28, 2023 , from

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