Decision in Philadelphia: The Constitutional Convention of 1987 details the workings of the drafting of the United States Constitution in 1787. The book points out evens that occurred which could have hindered the process of the constitution drafting and implementation. The key issues that were focused on during the process of constitution making included how much of the power the central government should possess, ways of protecting the smaller states from the larger ones, ways of making sure that the president does not become an emperor, ways of protecting the rights of the Southern citizens to trade and own slaves. The whole process of constitution drafting portrays the United State as a country that was trying to impose democracy in its governance. The book also reveals how the Supreme Court was not involved in the process of constitution drafting and implementation.
In 1787 the American constitution was written but it came into effect in 1789 after replacing the articles of confederation and it is still the basic law in the United States. The drafting of the constitution in 1787 was driven by the need to have drastic changes and the likelihood to suffer a serious problem. There were great hopes from delegates who had been appointed to take part in the drafting of the constitution that an effective central government will be put in place and it will help in wiping out the weaker Congress that had been established by Articles of Confederation. The secrete debate on how to come up with a constitution lasted for four months after which the proposed constitution was submitted to the States for approval. Although the vote was close in some states, the constitution was eventually ratified and the new federal government came into existence in 1789.
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A plan of the government to the convention was submitted by Edmund Randolph on behalf of the Virginia delegation and it contained fifteen propositions. Most of the delegates who were in attendance had been advised by their legislatures to advocate for the revision of the Articles but it emerged the Virginia delegates were advocating for a new instrument of government that had separate branches of government. A committee of the whole was the formed with an aim of checking into the fifteen propositions that had been recommended by the Virginia delegates. The agreement that was later made by the delegates proposed that the government be composed of three separate branches which were the legislative, judicial and the executive. The three branches were designed to have distinct powers in an effort to balance the other two branches. There was also an agreement that the legislative branch just like that in Britain and the state legislature be made up of two houses. At times, very sharp opinions were raised up which actually threatened the process of the convention and even threatened to cut it short even before the drafting started. In one instance, the smaller states were dissatisfied by the proportional representation that was provided by the Virginia Plan. The conflict that emerged in regard to this plan was that the large state voted in favor of proportional representation in the legislature. These would have made each State to have a voting power based on the population that it had which made equal representation to be regarded as “confessedly unjust”. The small States were of the opinion that the large States would, in the long run, dominate them hence the need for equal representation for all the States.
The old Congress had all the powers to either expedite or block the ratification of the new constitution. Philadelphia Convention finally presented a document which was just a revision of the Articles of Confederation. The document only needed to be ratified by nine states for it to go through which raise an issue of concern but it was finally ratified by all thirteen states.
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