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What necessitated change?
Need for change?
 Articles couldn’t impose taxes
 Articles couldn’t raise an army
 Articles were clumsy in foreign affairs
 Problems with Spain and Britain were growing
 Articles required unanimous consent (1781, 1783,
and 1785 examples)
 Incapable of conducting national business due to the
incredible regional interests
Pushing for change
 Federalism-was a
developing philosophy
and had several
prominent supporters.
Namely Alexander
Hamilton who thought
the nation’s economic
woes could be solved
by a stronger central
Hamilton’s legacy
Hamilton a unique man
 Youth
 Nationalist
 Temper and demeanor
 Death
 Legacy
 James Madison
 Madison had little
compassion for this
confederacy that had been
created. Felt it mortally
 “luxiurancy of the
legislature had become a
 Future co-author
(w/Hamilton and John
Jay of the Federalist
Shay’s Rebellion
 In the eyes of Madison
and Hamilton it was so
weak that it couldn’t
even protect against
internal insurrection by
a disorganized militia
within one state!
“reverse the flow”
 Madison coined those
words in describing the
importance to create a
way to reverse the flow
of government back to
a National government.
 9 states agreed to meet
as Shay’s Rebellion was
ongoing—to discuss
changing the articles.
 Madison invited the
group to discuss
commercial problems.
 Rather than adjourn
and talk about
insisted they deal with
the bigger problem.
 A resolution was
drafted to discuss “all
matters necessary”.
The Convention
The Philadelphia Convention
 “the chair”
 70% of delegates were
from Continental
Congress (not John
Adams…or we’d watch!)
 33% served in the
 “an assembly of demigods”. Jefferson (en
Suspicious elements
 Patrick Henry:
emerging leader of a
state’s rights group
known as AntiFederalists.
 Suspicious that the
deliberations were kept
 Washington to the
surprise of no one was
selected as President.
 Each state would vote
as a unit.
Nothing Spoken
 Nothing spoken would be
otherwise printed or
published, those who did
would be excused from
the preceedings!
 Why?
 Official journals are
succinct and are too
incomplete for historians.
 Madison kept detailed
notes on his own.
Competing Plans
 Early on it looked that the
room had two distinct
 Small states and large
 New Jersey Plan: singular
 Virginia Plan:
 The Great Compromise
Bridging the Gap
 Compromise looked
 “Something must be
done or we shall
disappoint not only
America but the whole
world”. Eldridge Gerry
 A recess took place on
7/4/87 to celebrate.
 A key part of bridging
the gap—one of more
depressing and vile
legacies—the 3/5
A Committee of Detail
 Bridge the gaps
between the
 Prepare a
Constitutional Principles
 Republicanism
 Federalism
 Indirect Election
(Electoral College)
 Delegated Powers
 Presidential system
 The key opening lines—
committee on style
 “We the People of the
United States, in Order to
form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure
domestic Tranquility,
provide for the common
defence, promote the
general Welfare, and secure
the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity,
do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United
States of America.
 At the end of the
convention. George
Mason proposed
adding a “Bill of
Rights”. This would
take no time, the states
would provide an
 Rationale?
Mason starts a fight