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Annapolis Convention

ANNAPOLIS CONVENTION

ANNAPOLIS CONVENTION. In January 1786, the Virginia legislature invited other states to send commissioners to a meeting where proposals granting the Continental Congress authority to regulate commerce would be discussed. Congress had previously sought similar authority, but its proposed amendment to the Articles of Confederation had failed to secure the required ratification by all thirteen states. The Virginia commissioners eventually fixed a mid-September meeting date at Annapolis, Maryland. Although eight states appointed commissioners, only a dozen delegates from five states appeared at Mann's Tavern in Annapolis by September 11. Those present included James Madison and Edmund Randolph from Virginia; John Dickinson, the principal author of the Articles of Confederation, from Delaware; and Alexander Hamilton from New York. With so few commissioners present, the convention could hardly act with any authority. Yet neither did its members want to disband empty handed, for doing so would concede another setback in their efforts to strengthen the Confederation. Seizing on a clause in the credentials of the New Jersey delegates, the commissioners endorsed a report, drafted primarily by Hamilton, calling for a general convention to assemble in Philadelphia the following May, for the purpose of considering the condition of the federal Union.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Rakove, Jack N. The Beginnings of National Politics: An Interpretive History of the Continental Congress. New York: Alfred Knopf, 1979.

JackRakove

See alsoConstitution of the United States ; andvol. 9:From Annapolis to Philadelphia .

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Annapolis Convention

Annapolis Convention, 1786, interstate convention called by Virginia to discuss a uniform regulation of commerce. It met at Annapolis, Md. With only 5 of the 13 states—Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia—represented, there could be no full-scale discussion of the commercial problems the nation faced as a result of the weak central government under the Articles of Confederation. The main achievement of the convention was the decision to summon a new meeting for the express purpose of considering changes in the Articles of Confederation to make the union more powerful. An address was drawn up by Alexander Hamilton and was sent to all the states, asking them to send delegates to Philadelphia in May, 1787. The move was extraconstitutional, but Congress passed a resolution urging attendance. The call from Annapolis was heeded and delegates from 12 states met. From that Federal Constitutional Convention was to emerge the Constitution of the United States.

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