The original purpose of the Constitutional Convention was to revise the Articles of Confederation ratified by the states in 1781. However, the Articles of Confederation were soon dropped in favor of a plan to create a new form of government and draft a new U.S. Constitution.
Delegates from 12 of the 13 states attended the convention. Immediately after assembling, the convention selected George Washington as its president. When the Articles of Confederation were assessed as too weak, work began on a new plan of government. A number of topics generated considerable debate, controversy and compromise, including state representation in the House of Representatives and the Senate, the executive branch of government, the counting of slaves as part of state population, fugitive slave regulations, trade regulations, foreign policy and the appointment of judges.
The Constitutional Convention met from May 25 to Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Penn. After the final version of the Constitution was drafted, 39 out of the 55 delegates signed it. The first state to ratify the Constitution was Delaware in December 1787. When New Hampshire ratified it in June 1788, the minimum requirement of nine states for ratification was reached. The last founding state to ratify the Constitution was Rhode Island in May 1790.