What Was the Purpose of the Philadelphia Convention?

The Constitutional Convention, also known as the Philadelphia Convention, was an official meeting of the United States government that was convened to make changes to the Articles of Confederation, an early federal government document. The Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1777 before the Revolutionary War had been won, and over the next decade, it became clear that this founding document was flawed in many ways, including that it placed severe limitations on the powers of the federal Congress. The most significant outcome of the Constitutional Convention was the creation of the United States Constitution, a document that is still in effect as of 2015.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the United States had to rely on states to voluntarily pay taxes to the federal government, and in general, the document made the central government very weak. Some of the Philadelphia Convention attendees wanted to completely reform the United States’ governmental structure, but ultimately, the delegates agreed to create a new governing document that granted more powers to the federal government, including powers related to national defense, taxation and federal currency regulation. The convention also established the rule that each state in the nation would be granted two senators and that seats in the House of Representatives would be determined by population.