In 1786, a series of events began that would eventually lead to a new form of government for the United States. In September of that year, delegates from five states met in Annapolis, Maryland, to discuss ways to promote trade among their states.
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The 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention, as the Philadelphia meeting became known, were a very impressive group.
Most of the delegates arrived at the Constitutional Convention without a clear idea of what to expect. Some thought they would only draft amendments to the Articles of Confederation.
The first order of business was to elect a president for the convention. Robert Morris of Pennsylvania nominated George Washington
On May 29, the delegates began the real work of designing a new national government. Presiding over the convention, George Washington recognized Edmund Randolph as the first speaker.
In response to the Virginia Plan, New Jersey delegate William Paterson presented an alternative on June 15. The New Jersey Plan called for a legislature with only one house.