The Creation of the Constitution
October 11-13, 2013
This seminar recounts the challenging and creative process that resulted in the United States Constitution of 1787. The story begins with the perceived inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation and the struggle to convene the Philadelphia Convention. Its primary focus, however, will be on the theoretical and pragmatic battles that took place within the secret proceedings of the Constitutional Convention itself. Participants will explore how certain features of the Constitution—some of which may appear inexplicable or indefensible to our eyes—took shape. We will examine the compromises that were necessary to win the support of all the states and the ideas that were discarded along the way. Finally, the course concludes by providing a brief overview of the struggle to ratify the new Constitution and the states’ demands for a bill of rights.