The Making of the Constitution
Part 2: The Constitutional Convention

After a report from the prominent delegates who attended the Annapolis Convention had made such a recommendation, the colonies decided to call a "Grand Convention" to discuss the need to reform the national government. Delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies (all except Rhode Island) arrived in Philadelphia in May, 1787. The Constitutional Convention, as it became known later, began on May 25 and lasted for four months.

At first, it was merely a discussion of how to make the existing government stronger. But all that changed when Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph got up to speak.

Randolph proposed a new national government, one that would rule over the states. In what would become known as the Virginia Plan, Randolph proposed that this new national government have a national executive and a national judiciary.

He also proposed that the one house of the Confederation Congress be replaced with two houses of a new Congress. These two houses would be an upper and a lower house. The voters of each state would elect the members to the lower house. The members of the upper house would be chosen by state assemblies. Further, the numbers of representatives allowed to each state in both houses would be based on the population in that state. Larger states would get more representatives than smaller states.

Lastly, the new federal judiciary would be able to reject laws passed by the state governments. This last provision especially infuriated delegates from smaller states. They didn't like it that they couldn't have as many representatives as the larger states, and they really didn't like it that the laws that their states did pass could be rejected by the federal government.

Delegates from smaller states got together and presented an alternative plan.

Next page > The Great Compromise > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Search This Site

Custom Search

Get weekly newsletter


Social Studies for Kids
copyright 2002–2023
David White