The Articles of Confederation created a weak national government with most of the governmental powers retained by the states. The Articles provided no separation of branches. There was no president or any other independent executive, nor was there a federal judicial branch. Congress, the legislature, was the only branch of government. Laws required unanimous votes. Members elected to congress did not vote as individuals, but as states. While congress did have some powers, it could not enforce its laws on the states or the people. States were permitted to coin their own money. There was no regulation of commerce between the states and states could even enter into treaties with foreign nations and declare war, "with the consent of Congress." Congress could not tax the states or the people, it could only request funds to run the government. ( didn't have power to tax, no power for army, weak federal government, no stability to protect lives & property) 74 delegates were chosen to attend the Constitutional Convention. Of these, 55 attended. 11/12 of the states' delegates attended, none of which were Rhode Island.
All delegates were wealthy, white, high-educated men. Over half were lawyers. Many served in the Continental Army and/or in other Constitutional Conventions. All of them had been members of Congress previously. Most of the men were merchants and plantation owners, and 31/55 attended a University. [There were 34 lawyers, 10 judges, 7 state governors, 39 members of Congress, 21 solders who had fought in the Revolutionary War, and 8 who had signed the Declaration of Independence).
The delegates met in Philadelphia in early May.
On May 25, the first meeting began in the State House of Philadelphia (which is now known as Independence Hall).
Of these delegates, there were several important people:
-The youngest delegate was Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, who was 28 years old.
-Ben Franklin of Pennsylvania was the oldest, being 81 years old.
-George Washington was the elected president of the Convention. I t was his job to see that the meetings ran smoothly.
-James Madison, a delegate from Virginia, wrote much of the Constitution, now nicknamed as "The Father of the Constitution".
-Another who attended was Governor Morris. Morris came up with most of the actual words of the Constitution. He had a wooden leg and could not use one arm, but he could put words together for everyone to understand.
-Edmund Randolph of Virginia was a spokesman for the states with large numbers of people.
-William Paterson of New Jersey was the spokesman for states with small numbers of people.
The Constitution was ratified by all 12 states delegations on September 17, 1787.
George C. Edwards III, Martin P. Wattenberg, Robert L. Lineberry Donald A. Ritchie, Richard C. Remy