The Constitutional Convention of 1787
Commissioned by the PA, DE, NJ State Societies, Daughters of the American Revolution. Independence National Historical Park Collection.
"It appears to me, then, little short of a miracle, that the Delegates from so many different States... should unite in forming a system of national Government, so little liable to well founded objections."
This look at the Constitutional Convention provides a glimpse into the debates that resulted in an enduring framework of government. Read day-by-day entries recording the proposals, conflicts and compromises as the men struggled to live up to the resolution that had called them to Philadelphia to "render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union."
The entries begin on May 13, 1787, with the arrival of George Washington in Philadelphia and conclude on September 17, 1787, with the signing of the United States Constitution. The synopsis of each day's debates coupled with the words of James Madison, George Mason, Benjamin Franklin and others, provide an understanding of the sense of urgency and necessity motivating the men through a long summer of often tedious work.
George Washington, the Convention's president, marveled to the Marquis de Lafayette of the Convention's success, "We are not to expect perfection in this world; but mankind, in modern times, have apparently made some progress in the science of government."
Did You Know?
George Washington, the nation’s first president, ran his two administrations in Philadelphia from his rented house near the corner of Sixth and Market Streets. Wife Martha, two young grandchildren and as many as 24 servants, including enslaved men and women from Mount Vernon, made up his household.