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Constitution of the United States

Constitution of the United States

9/17/1787
General Records of the United States Government

Learn more and read a transcript of the Constitution in the National Archives online exhibit The Charters of Freedom, and on the list of 100 Milestone Documents of American history on www.ourdocuments.gov.

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Constitution of the United States

The Federal Convention convened in the State House (Independence Hall) in Philadelphia on May 14, 1787, to revise the Articles of Confederation. Because the delegations from only two states were at first present, the members adjourned from day to day until a quorum of seven states was obtained on May 25. Through discussion and debate it became clear by mid-June that, rather than amend the existing Articles, the Convention would draft an entirely new frame of government. All through the summer, in closed sessions, the delegates debated, and redrafted the articles of the new Constitution. Among the chief points at issue were how much power to allow the central government, how many representatives in Congress to allow each state, and how these representatives should be elected—directly by the people or by the state legislators. The work of many minds, the Constitution stands as a model of cooperative statesmanship and the art of compromise.

Document contains: 4 pages.