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Agreements At The Constitutional Convention

Inspired by severe economic hardship that spawned radical political movements such as the Shays Rebellion and the call for a stronger central government, the Convention met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia (May 25 to September 17, 1787), supposedly to amend the Articles of Confederation. All states, with the exception of Rhode Island, responded to an invitation from the 1786 Annapolis Convention to send delegates. Of the 74 mePs elected by the national parliaments, only 55 participated in the procedure; 39 of them have signed the Constitution. Among the delegates were many leaders of that time. Among them were George Washington, elected president, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, James Wilson, John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, Oliver Ellsworth and Governor Morris. The first major change Rutledge insisted on was to severely limit the essentially unlimited legislative powers “in any case for the general interests of the Union,” which the Convention had granted to Congress only two weeks earlier. Rutledge and Randolph feared that the broad powers implicit in the language agreed to by the Convention had given too much power to the national government to the detriment of the States. In Randolph`s draft, the Committee replaced this language with a list of 18 specific “enumerated” powers, many of which were taken up in articles of Confederation that would strictly limit the authority of Congress to measures such as the collection of taxes, contracts, war, and the establishment of post offices. [126] [123]:170-71 However, Rutledge was not able to convince all members of the Committee to accept the amendment. . .

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