Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787

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Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention, May to September 1787

Author: Catherine Drinker Bowen
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Copyright: 1966
Pages: 346
Cover Price: $ 16.00

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The 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia was called in response to the perceived inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation, under which the United States had been operating since the end of the Revolution. It is interesting to consider the degree to which compromise is now considered a sin by people who nevertheless praise the Founding Fathers. And the Founding Fathers were compromisers, hammering out a document that was acceptable to both big states and small, slave states and states dominated by small, independent freemen.

Benjamin Franklin remarked at the end that it was not the document that he would have written, but that it was probably the best constitution that could be produced. Even then, it was not completely acceptable and would not have been ratified except for the addition of the first ten amendments, which have been known ever since as the Bill of Rights.

Background Information

The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia in 1787 to produce a successor to the inadequate Articles of Confederation. The Articles of Confederation were drawn up during the American Revolution to define the national government, but were too weak to achieve their goals and were replaced by the US Constitution. Benjamin Franklin was America's most famous scientist, a successful businessman, and its chief diplomat during the Revolution. The first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution guarantee certain freedoms for Americans and are collectively terms the Bill of Rights.