AN02a2_Building a New Nation: The Constitutional Convention
Timeline: Late 18th – Early 19th C.
FQ: The Constitutional Convention- A Risk Worth Taking?
I. Problems Galore
A. Shays’ Rebellion (1786):
– Veteran of Rev. War
– Farmer in debt avoiding banks that want to collect the debt.
– Highlighted the problems that the central government had regarding issues lingering from the revolutionary war period.
Note Difference in Context of Whiskey Rebellion (1791- Whiskey Excise Tax), but the similarity in a populace that was struggling with satisfying the needs and alleviating the fears of the group.
B. Inter-State Trade: Disputes over…
– Bank Notes
– Navigation Rights
C. State Constitutions
Generally the most democratic ‘national’ governments in the Western world, but a far cry from modern standards.
– Voting rights/ qualifications varied
– Institution of Slavery
– General distrust of central authority (governors).
II. A Stab at a Solution: May 1787. Philadelphia, Pa.
A meeting was set in 1786 in Annapolis, MD., to address the issues that caused Shay’s Rebellion. That meeting was poorly attended (5 of 13 State delegates attended).
A decision was made to reconvene in May, 1787 in Philadelphia, Pa. for the purpose of “addressing the shortcomings” of the Articles of Confederation.
12 State delegations (55 total) meet in Philadelphia to attempt to resolve the problems plaguing the confederacy. Outwardly, the delegates were tasked to ‘fix’ the Articles of Confederation. Secretly, the delegates were set on replacing the Articles of Confederation. Despite the heat, the windows were closed and the proceedings went on in relative secrecy.
III. James Madison was a participant in the proceedings. But, he was also tasked to record the proceedings in a journal. For that reason and his role in encouraging adoption by the States (Federalist Papers), he will forever be referred to as “The Father of the US Constitution”.