The Annapolis Convention: The Salvation of the New Nation

September 11 is one of the most important dates in American History…

The Annapolis Convention: The Salvation of the New Nation – By Daniel W. Sheridan

The states were in trouble after the war for Independence. These years, 1783 to 1787, have been called the “Critical Period” of American History.

Commerce was suffering, paper money flooded the country, and many were in debt. The states, once united in their fight against Great Britain, were now engaging in economic warfare against each other. There was little respect for law, and life and property weren’t secure. America threw off the yoke of tyranny and now it faced an even greater enemy – ANARCHY. The future of the nation was in doubt.

To discuss how to better regulate trade between the states and foreign nations, a convention met in Annapolis, Maryland, on this day, September 11, 1786, at Mann’s Tavern. The convention couldn’t implement any real solutions, however, since only five of the thirteen states attended – Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. But the members of this Patriotic convention, including such men as Alexander Hamilton, John Dickinson, Chairman of the Convention, and Edmund Randolph, understanding the precarious state our nation was in, and knowing action must be taken, made the most of their time by calling on Congress to authorize a national convention to adopt a new constitution to suit the needs of the union.

The Articles of Confederation were inadequate, as current circumstances proved, to meet the needs of the nation. “That there are important defects,” the convention wrote, “in the system of the Federal Government is acknowledged by…all those States, which have concurred in the present Meeting…” These defects caused the “embarrassments which characterize the present State of our national affairs, foreign and domestic…”

“Deeply impressed however,” the convention wrote, “with the magnitude and importance of the object confided to them on this occasion, your Commissioners cannot forbear to indulge an expression of their earnest and unanimous wish, that speedy measures may be taken, to effect a general meeting, of the States, in a future Convention…”

The Annapolis Convention concluded on September 14th. The recommendations of this patriotic gathering led to the Constitutional Convention which opened the following May. The result of that Convention was the creation of our current Constitution and the salvation of the new nation.

The Proceedings of the Annapolis Convention can be found here:

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch6s2.html

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