"The Miracle in Philadelphia"

The Constitutional Convention of  1787


In class, we will be reliving some of the incredible proceedings from the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787.  This activity will give us a firm base when we begin to discuss the Constitution of the United States of America, the supreme law of the land. 





Your goals for this exercise are the following:

1)     You should be able to discuss the major problems of the government under the Articles of Confederation.

2)     You should be able to play a role of one of the "Framers" of the Constitution, and make judgments and decisions based on that specific person's background.

3)     You should be able to research a delegate’s viewpoint using primary resource materials.

4)     You should be able to identify the issues of strength of government, representation, and slavery as the major points of debate at the Constitutional Convention.

5)     You should be able to discuss the ideas carried forth in the Virginia Plan, the New Jersey Plan, the Connecticut Plan, and the Three Fifths Compromise.

6)     You should be able to describe why the Constitution could be considered "A Bundle of Compromises".





The role you will play is on the back of the "Miracle in Philadelphia" handout, as well as on the separate biography sheet and packet.  You need to come to class on Tuesday with the following:

 Remember - you are playing the role of a person who lived over 200 years ago.  You have been given limited information, but please try to do your best in this exercise.




Cool Convention Links

The US Constitution: The Delegates - From the National Archives, this site provides short biographies of each of the Founding Fathers who were delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

The Avalon Project : Notes on the Debates in the Federal Convention - The notes of the convention, as reported by James Madison, a delegate from the state of Virginia - very helpful for finding quotes for your role

James Madison tells the story of the Constitutional Convention - from Madison's letters - helpful for finding quotes for your role

Debates in the Federal Convention - Madison's notes, from the Constitution Society - helpful for finding quotes for your role

The Citizen's Gazette: A September 17, 1787 "Newspaper" - From the National Constitution Center, this newspaper details the news of the drafting of the Constitution and sending it out for ratification. 

The Constitutional Convention - An overview, from The U.S. Constitution Online - the site also includes the Convention Timeline.

The Formation of a National Government - A general overview from From Revolution to Reconstruction - A Hypertext on American History

Constitutional Convention Overview - from James Madison University

James Madison and the Constitutional Convention - from Northpark University

Ben's Guide (6-8): The Constitution -- History of the ...

Continental Congress & Constitutional Convention Broadsides Home - This website from the Library of Congress contains  274 documents relating to the work of Congress and the drafting and ratification of the Constitution. Items include extracts of the journals of Congress, resolutions, proclamations, committee reports, treaties, and early printed versions of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

To Form a More Perfect Union: The Work of the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention - This Library of Congress site gives an overview of the years between the Declaration of Independence and the Convention in Philadelphia, including the government under the Articles of Confederation.