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   Chapter 60 No.60

Formation of the Union By Albert Bushnell Hart Characters: 1933

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


[Sidenote: A convention suggested.]

[Sidenote: Annapolis Convention.]

[Sidenote: Action of Congress.]

That Congress did not possess the confidence of the country was evident from the failure of all its amendments. It had, therefore, been suggested first by Hamilton in 1780, later by Tom Paine in his widespread pamphlet "Public Good," that a convention be specially summoned to revise the Articles of Confederation. The initiative in the movement was finally taken by the States. In 1786 the intolerable condition of internal commerce caused Virginia to suggest to the sister States that a conference be held at Annapolis. The few delegates who appeared separated, after recommending that there be held "a convention of delegates from the different States … to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the federal government adequate." Congress was no longer able to resist the movement: on Feb. 1, 178

7, it resolved that a convention be held "for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation, and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall, when agreed to by Congress and confirmed by the States, render the federal government adequate to the exigencies of government and the preservation of the union."

[Sidenote: Convention assembled.]

By May, 1787, delegates to the proposed convention had been chosen in all the States except New Hampshire and Rhode Island. Many of the ablest and most experienced public men were included. Among them were Francis Dana and Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, Alexander Hamilton of New York, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, and James Madison and George Washington of Virginia. The convention was the most distinguished body which had ever assembled in America; if its work could not command public confidence, there was no hope for the Union.

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