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Read The Constitution - white
Read The Constitution - white

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The weather was already muggy in Philadelphia, May of 1787, and as the summer wore on it would only get hotter – both indoors and out. It was the beginning of the Philadelphia Convention, later called the Constitutional Convention, and for more than three months the delegates of thirteen separate states would be locked in a closed room to decide our nation’s future. Though the original purpose was supposedly to refine and polish the Articles of Confederation, the state-centric document governing America since independence, some delegates had a more ambitious plan in mind. John Jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton wanted to establish a much stronger federal government, including a national executive branch along with the legislature and high court.

Though their ideal image of government seems skeletal compared to today’s behemoth, at the time their designs were treated with a great deal of suspicion. Bitter fighting ensued between the delegates of big and small states, the latter fearing that rich and populous states would use their preponderance of votes to dominate the new union. Months of discussion, argument, and compromise finally resulted in the bicameral legislature, with a House designed to reflect population spread and a Senate restricted to exactly two delegates per state. Though it is hardly a perfect document, the Constitution is a well-crafted charter full of such delicate balances, a product of some of the finest minds in history. It is a shame so few today bother paying any attention to it at all.