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  • In 1786 a series of events happened that would eventually lead to a new form of government for the U.S. The Annapolis, led by Alexander Hamilton of New York, called for the states to send representatives to Philadelphia the following May to discuss changes.
  • George Washington, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson (Constitutional Convention) met and talked about the rights of the people.
  • They all showed up to the meeting not knowing what to expect. Some thought they would only draft amendments to the Articles of Confederation. Others thought they would design an entirely new plan for the government. But they all agreed that the government should protect people's rights. By May 25,1787, at least 2 delegates from each of 7 states had arrived in Philadelphia. With 29 delegates in attendance, the convention was underway.
  • The first oder was to elect a president for the convention. Robert Morris of Penn. nominated George Washington. Every delegate voted for him.  In the next meeting they decided they wanted to consider all the ideas and to be able to change sides in any debate. They did not want to be pressured by the politics of the day. Their discussions would remain secret.
  • On May 29, the delegates began the real work for designing a new national government. Randolph offered a plan for a whole new government. The plan became known as the Virginia Plan.  They would have 3 branches of law. The legislature, executive, and judiciary.
  • William Paterson presented an alternative on June 19. The New Jersey Plan called for a legislature with one house. Each stated would have one vote. During the rest of June, the delegates argued over representation in the legislature. Then the committee offered the Great Compromise. To satisfy the smaller states each state would have an equal number of votes in each state.
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