Inventing a Nation: the U.s. Constitution - Research Article from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library

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Gathering in Philadelphia

In February 1787, Congress authorized state legislatures to elect delegates to attend a meeting in Philadelphia beginning May 14. The delegates would be the states' official representatives and vote on their behalf. Congress gave the delegates a specific assignment, asking them to revise the Articles of Confederation in order to strengthen the national government. Congress did not authorize the delegates to start from scratch and write a new constitution. Only Rhode Island rejected the opportunity to send delegates. The state's leaders were suspicious that the delegates would try to strengthen the national government far beyond what they supported.

The states nominated seventy men as delegates. Fifteen of these men did not attend the meeting. Some had family or personal health problems; some were busy running their businesses; and others did not favor strengthening the national government. Patrick Henry (1736–1799), a brilliant orator...

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This section contains 6,362 words
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Buy the Inventing a Nation: the U.s. Constitution Encyclopedia Article
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Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library
Inventing a Nation: the U.s. Constitution from Shaping of America, 1783-1815 Reference Library. ©2005-2006 by U•X•L. U•X•L is an imprint of Thomson Gale, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. All rights reserved.
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