The Writing of the American Constitution

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The Writing of the Constitution

A constitution is 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 nation's founders , fifty-five men , met in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 to write a new constitution and to form a new government. George Washington was elected chairman of the convention.The founders were all very well-educated. Over half the delegates had collage degrees, which was rare in the North American continent at that time.

They also had experience in governing . More than forty of the delegates held high offices in state governments , including three who were governors. The founders believed in the idea that the purpose of government was the protection of individual life, liberty and property.

Following the election of George Washington as president of the convention, Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia presented a draft of a new constitution .The

Virginia Plan proposed a two house legislature. A lower house directly elected by the people of the states based on the population , and an upper house elected by the lower house. The congress was to have broad legislative power ,with veto over laws passed by state legislatures .The President and cabinet would be elected by legislature. The national judiciary would be elected by legislature , and their would be a 'Council of Revision' with power to veto laws of Congress.

Delegates from New Jersey , New York and Delaware did not agree to the Virginia Plan due to the great power delegated to the national government . William Paterson of New Jersey submitted a counterproposal .The New Jersey Plan proposed a one-house legislature, with equal state representation regardless of population. Congress had some legislative power,