Constitution of the United States: Our Living Constitution

Essay by ages_1College, UndergraduateA+, November 2002

download word file, 4 pages 2.8

The United States Constitution has been governing our way of life for over 200

years. Throughout its time it has been viewed in many ways to make our lives easier. It

has been the legal structure of our political system, establishing governmental bodies,

determining how their members are selected, and prescribing the rules by which they

make their decisions.

The Philadelphia Convention, which was later called the Constitutional

Convention, began on May 25 1787. The 55 delegates that framed the Constitution

arrived at Philadelphia's Independence Hall, which was then known as the Pennsylvania

State House. This gathering brought together almost all of the nation's most famous men,

including George Washington, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and Benjamin

Franklin. At least one delegate from each state attended, except Rhode Island. During the

convention many issues discussed but the issues that brought more debate were,

congressional representation, slavery, presidency, and federal courts.

After many months

and votes the details were finally settled and a committee was assigned in September to

put the final results in and submit it to the people for ratification. They approved the text

on the Constitution on September 15, and on September 17 all but three of the remaining

delegates signed.

Before the Constitution could take effect it had to be ratified by at least nine

states. This nearly failed due to anti-Federalists, who opposed any sort of central

government. Also many people thought that the Constitution did not safeguard their


rights. Delaware became the first state to ratify, on December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania,

New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, and South Carolina

followed it. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify, thus

making the Constitution legally effective. But without ratification by New York and

Virginia, they doubted that the Constitution could...