Constitutional FAQ Answer #152 – The U.S. Constitution Online – USConstitution.net

Constitutional FAQ Answer #152

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Q152. “Why did the Convention take place in

A. An excellent question. Of course, there was no Washington, D.C. at the
time — that plot of land was mostly a swamp. But there were cities other
than Philadelphia. The Congress was meeting in New York City at the time of the
Constitutional Convention, so it might have
been a logical choice. Annapolis, Maryland, was another former home of the
Congress. Boston was also a major city of the time, a hub of commerce.

But Philadelphia was special. For one thing, it was the biggest city in the
United States at the time, and home to some of the new nation’s most prominent
citizens, including Benjamin Franklin. It had many features, some influenced by
Franklin himself: libraries, theaters, poets, newspapers, and magazines. It was
centrally located for most potential delegates (it is about as far from North
Carolina as it is from New Hampshire). It also hosted the Congress for a very
long time.

But it was also a hub of the American spirit — the birthplace of the
nation, where the Declaration of Independence was
signed. When the delegates to the Annapolis
met and wrote up the recommendation for the Convention,
Philadelphia was specifically mentioned as the meeting place. The delegates to
that conference were not fools. They immediately lent gravitas to the
Convention by holding it in Philadelphia, and in doing so, attracted many of
the nation’s most prominent citizens.

Last Modified: 16 Aug 2010

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