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Who wrote the original U.S. Constitution?

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Quick Answer

The first draft of the U.S. Constitution was written by a Committee of Detail consisting of John Rutledge, Edmund Randolph, Nathaniel Gorham, Oliver Ellsworth and James Wilson. A Committee of Style composed of William Samuel Johnson, Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, Rufus King and James Madison wrote the final draft.

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Full Answer

Soon after independence, it became apparent that the United States needed a stronger central government than the one provided for in the Articles of Confederation. To accomplish this, Alexander Hamilton invited delegates from the 13 states to assemble at a constitutional convention. The 55 delegates met at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia and unanimously chose George Washington as president of the convention. Although at first the delegates' plan was to amend the Articles of Confederation, the delegates soon realized that an entirely new document was necessary. Deliberations took months as the delegates put together a new government of checks and balances with executive, legislative and judicial branches.

One major point of contention involved representation of the states in Congress. The delegates solved this with the Connecticut Compromise, which created two legislative bodies, the Senate and House of Representatives. Another controversy involved slavery, which was an issue left up to the individual states. Each section of the Constitution was assembled slowly as the convention progressed. The Committee of Detail presented the first draft on Aug. 6, 1787, and the Committee of Style finished the final copy on Sept. 12, 1787. Jacob Shallus, an assistant clerk at the Pennsylvania State Assembly, transcribed the final document.

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