The Writing of the Constitution


A constitution is the legal structure of our political system, establishing
governmental bodies , determining how their members are selected , and
prescribing the rules by which they make their decisions .

The nation's founders , fifty-five men , met in Philadelphia in the summer of
1787 to write a new constitution and to form a new government. George
Washington was elected chairman of the convention.The founders were all very
well-educated. Over half the delegates had collage degrees, which was rare in
the North American continent at that time.

They also had experience in governing . More than forty of the delegates held
high offices in state governments , including three who were governors. The
founders believed in the idea that the purpose of government was the protection
of individual life, liberty and property.

Following the election of George Washington as president of the convention,
Governor Edmund Randolph of Virginia presented a draft of a new constitution
.The Virginia Plan proposed a two house legislature. A lower house directly
elected by the people of the states based on the population , and an upper
house elected by the lower house.The congress was to have broad legislative
power ,with veto over laws passed by state legislatures .The President and
cabinet would be elected by legislature. The national judiciary would be
elected by legislature , and their would be a "Council of Revision" with power
to veto laws of Congress.

Delegates from New Jersey , New York and Delaware did not agree to the Virginia
Plan due to the great power delegated to the national government . William
Paterson of New Jersey submitted a counterproposal .The New Jersey Plan
proposed a one-house legislature, with equal state representation regardless of
population. Congress had some legislative power, including levying some taxes
and the regulation of commerce.The plan also proposed separate executive and
judicial branches , elected by Congress and removable by petition from majority
of state governors.The judiciary was appointed by the chief executive .The plan
also included the supremacy clause , stating that the Constitution and federal
laws would supersede over state constitutions and laws .

After several months of debate , Roger Sherman of Connecticut came forward with
a compromise.The Connecticut Compromise proposed a two-house legislature , with
numerical representation in the directly elected House and equal state
representation in the indirectly elected Senate. It also gave Congress broad
legislative power, including the power to levy taxes and to regulate commerce .
It proposed a single executive , chosen by an Electoral College .The judiciary
would be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate .It also
included the Supremacy Clause. This compromise was approved by the convention
on the 16th of July,1787.

Over time, constitutional changes have come about as a result of formal
amendments, judicial interpretations ,and presidential and congressional
actions. The most common method of constitutional amendment has been proposal
by two-thirds vote of both houses of Congress followed by ratification by
three-fourths of the states. In my opinion , two of the most important
amendments to the constitution are the Fifteenth Amendment(1870): the right to
vote shall not be denied because of race, and the Nineteenth Amendment (1920):
the right to vote shall not be denied because of sex.

In the future , the constitution will continue to be changed and modified ,