John Rutledge (1739–1800) of South Carolina chaired the five-member Committee of Detail assigned on July 23, 1787, to produce a draft constitution. As the basis for the document, the committee used the nineteen resolutions adopted by the convention; a plan presented by South Carolina delegate Charles Pinckney (1757–1824); and the rejected New Jersey Plan. The Committee of Detail draft boldly refocused the convention. The multiple annotations by William Samuel Johnson (1727–1819) of Connecticut illustrate the hard work remaining for the delegates.
Title: Draft United States Constitution: Report of the Committee of Detail
Medium: Printed document with annotations by William Samuel Johnson
Date: ca. August 6, 1787
Collection: Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
After two years of planning and compromise, the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States was ready to go to the states for ratification. No one expected that nearly four years would elapse before they were ratified. The Articles called for a weak executive, no national power of taxation, and each state being limited to one vote. These flaws contributed to the failure of the Articles of Confederation and the need for a constitutional convention to replace them.
Title: Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union Between the States. . . .
Publisher: Alexander Purdie
Collection: Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), America's consummate "wise man," was among the first to imagine a national confederation. In 1754 he proposed a union of American provinces at a conference of provincial delegates at Albany, New York, to better battle the French and their Indian allies. The Albany Plan, calling for proportional representation in a national legislature and a president general appointed by the King of Great Britain, served as a model for Franklin's revolutionary Plan of Confederation in 1775.
Author: Benjamin Franklin
Title: Plan of Proposed Union (Albany Plan)
Collection: Hazard Papers in the Peter Force Collection, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress