Little did William Penn know that his plans for a “Great Towne,” set up in rectangular form between the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers, would become the site of some of the most important meetings in our nation’s founding, including the meeting that formed our national government. The Constitutional Convention was held in the Pennsylvania State House during the hot summer of 1787. The windows were kept shut and guards posted so that outsiders could not hear the discussions.
The United States has the oldest written national framework of government in the world. At the end of the twentieth century, there were about 159 other national constitutions in the world, and 101 had been adopted since 1970. While the United States has been governed by a single framework of government for over two centuries, France, in contrast, has had 10 separate and distinct constitutional orders (including five republics, two empires, a monarchy, and two dictatorships). The country of El Salvador has had 36 constitutions since 1824....
On the 200th anniversary of the ratification of the US Constitution, Thurgood Marshall, the first African American to sit on the Supreme Court, said that the Constitution was “defective from the start.” He pointed out that the framers had left out a majority of Americans when they wrote the phrase, “We the People.” While some members of the Constitutional Convention voiced “eloquent objections” to slavery, Marshall said they “consented to a document which laid a foundation for the tragic events which were to follow.”
Deficiencies of the Articles of Confederation
No separate executive branch to carry out the laws of Congress
No national judiciary to handle offenses against the central government’s laws or to settle disputes between states
Congress did not have the power to levy taxes
Congress could not regulate interstate and foreign commerce
The states as well as Congress had the power to coin money, no national currency
Congress could not support an army or navy and was dependent on state...