The convention was thus confronted with the question of whether the United States should be a country in the modern sense or remain a weak federation of autonomous and equal states represented in a single chamber, which was the principle embodied in the New Jersey Plan presented by several small states. They decided to adopt some of both: a strong central government with limited but effective powers of regulation and taxation.
The convention also debated whether the new nation should be based on a religious foundation. Some delegates wanted a strict separation of church and state, while others believed that religion should play a role in politics. The final draft of the Constitution included language regarding freedom of worship but also established a national day of prayer and appointed a president who was a member of one of the world's most powerful religions (then again, so is the pope).
In conclusion, the Constitutional Convention created a framework for a strong federal government that would allow it to function as a democracy. The document they produced has been criticized for being too complex and difficult to understand, but it has also been praised for its innovative design concepts that are used today in many governments around the world.
In May 1787, representatives from every states except Rhode Island gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for a convention. At this gathering, known as the Constitutional Convention, it was concluded that the best way to solve the issues of the nascent republic was to abandon the Articles of Confederation and establish a new constitution. The new government would be based on the idea of "checks and balances" between the three branches of government: a legislative branch, a judicial branch, and an executive branch. These are the same structures we have today; however, back then they were not defined as such, so many of their current powers were not yet established.
The convention began on May 14, 1787, in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. On that first day, the delegates elected Benjamin Franklin president of the convention and established the following committees: to prepare a statement of reasons and objections to the proposed federal government, to report proposals for improving the national government's operation, and to make recommendations regarding amendments to the Constitution.
On June 18, the committee presenting the reasons and objections to the proposed federal government delivered its report to the convention. In it, they stated that the existing Congress was unable to perform its duties under the Confederation because there was no direct election of senators and because members of Congress were paid only a small fraction of what they earned as state officials. By having each state appoint its own senators, the report said, the new government would be able to represent the interests of the people.
One of the primary concessions reached at the Constitutional Convention was between the small and large states. The small states desired that each state have the same number of congressional representatives. The large states desired population-based representation. The compromise was to have both a small state representative and a large state representative for every 10,000 people.
This provision is known today as the "one person, one vote" rule. It provides that voters in equally populated districts must be given equal weight when their representatives are elected. This prevents small states from being overrepresented in Congress or large states underrepresented.
In addition, the Constitution requires that members of Congress be citizens of the United States. This was added after some delegates objected to the idea of allowing foreigners to hold office.
Finally, the Constitution requires that senators be chosen by electors who represent them. Electors are public officials who meet in their state legislatures to choose presidential electors. They are usually selected by direct election or by delegation.
The framers of the Constitution believed that having an educated citizenry was essential to a healthy government. To this end, all citizens were required to read and write. The Constitution also requires that adults who cannot read or write be able to attend any other kind of school or institution of learning. This was seen as another way to provide the nation with a well-educated population.
"The delegates regarded each of their states to have separate interests," according to the correct wording. Between May and September 1787, the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia to address the difficulties caused by the Articles of Confederation's weak central authority. The convention created a new government for the 13 colonies based on principles of federalism: power was divided between a national government in Washington, D.C., and state governments in the individual states. Each state received a number of delegates equal to its representation in Congress. Maryland had two representatives, Delaware one, and New York eight. Other large states such as Pennsylvania and Virginia were allowed to send only one representative per state, but they were given special voting powers that enabled them to veto legislative actions.
At the convention, state leaders tried to persuade the delegates from their own states to support their position on issues before the group. Some states' leaders were able to influence the debate by sending delegates who supported their views on how the nation should be run. For example, Connecticut sent delegates who wanted a strong central government while Massachusetts sent delegates who wanted to keep control over domestic policies within the states themselves. But even though the states had different ideas about what kind of government should rule America, all of their opinions were taken into account by the convention's committees when they drafted proposals for amendments or new laws.