Read the selection and take the quiz to see how well you read. Go to to find the meaning of any word.

The Constitutional Convention

The first man to go to Philadelphia for the Constitutional Convention was James Madison. He went early so he’d have extra time to think about this job. He didn’t think that the rulesshould be rewritten. He thought that the framers should start over and write a whole new set ofrules. He wanted America to have a government run by the people. Of course he knew that therewere too many people to do the job together. But he thought that we ought to have a new kind of government – called a republic. In a republic, the people elect a few others to run the government for them. He also believed that the government should be broken into parts so that no one part would have too much power. And he believed that the country’s government should have more power than each of the state governments had.

Thus began the Constitutional Convention with GeorgeWashington chosen as the leader of the convention. Imagine the55 men, each with his opinions about how government should work. Imagine thearguments and the debates that they had. Don’t you wonder how they everagreed on one plan?

There was much to decide. How would each state get its fair share of power? Some states were big while others were small. Should they have the same amount of power? Or should the bigger states be stronger? Would that be fair to the smaller states?

The debates raged on. Alexander Hamilton said that we should have a government run the way England’s was. Not too many agreed. But everyone agreed on some things and those were the points that led to the writing of the Constitution.

First, everyone agreed that Congress didn’t have enough power. They also agreed that the government should be set up in three branches – one for the President, one for the lawmakers, and one for the judges. And they agreed that the states should have some power but that the national government should have power, too. They just couldn’t quite decide which should have more. They all thought that we should have some kind of leader. But since they hadn’t liked having a king, it was hard to decide what kind of leader we should have. They also had trouble deciding how we should pick the leader. Some of the framers didn’t think that Americans would do a good job choosing a leader in an election. They thought that the Congress should just pick a leader.

As you can see, writing the Constitution wasn’t easy. The framers had much to talk about. They had important choices to make.

Copyright Hot Topics Hot Serials. No portions may be distributed digitally without permission.