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Today in Legal History – The Constitutional Convention


Today is a special day in U.S. history. On this date in 1787 the Constitutional Convention convened in Philadelphia, PA. Originally called to fix problems in the existing Articles of Confederation, the convention eventually came up with a new document; the document we are all familiar with today, the United States Constitution. 

While nothing monumental happened on this day, nothing at all really happened as only a small number of delegates had assembled, the gathering itself was what was important. The work that occurred between this date and the day the convention closed on September 17th laid the groundwork for birth of democracy not only in the United States, but also throughout the world.

While our political class appears divided and the interpretation of the Constitution is still an ongoing dispute, most citizens agree that our governing document has on the whole worked out pretty well, even though it has required a few tweeks here and there. 

For more information on the Constitutional Convention I would suggest the following:

The Constitutional Convention and the Formation of the Union by Winton U. Solberg. KF4510.C66 1990 (Academic study of the debates)

The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787 ed. by Max Farrand  KF4510 .U547 1966 (Multi-volume work providing Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention)

Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution by Richard Beeman

The Summer of 1787: The Men Who Invented the Constitution by David O. Stewart

Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May – September 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowman

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