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the Articles of Confederation


Liberty bell in Pennsylvania
Liberty bell in Pennsylvania

By 1787 the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, which had been adopted as the basic law of the new republic in 1781, had become apparent, and a convention met in Philadelphia to organize a stronger national government. The convention erected the Constitution of the United States. When it was offered to the states for ratification, revolutionary leaders of Pennsylvania strongly opposed it because they still feared centralized government. However, the moderates in the state, who had gained power, succeeded in securing its passage, and on December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

Enthusiasm for the U.S. Constitution inspired a movement to write a new state constitution. The state constitution of 1776, created by colonists fighting against centralized authority, had established a government that lacked force and stability. It consisted of a unicameral legislature, elected annually, and an executive council that replaced the governor. The weaknesses of this structure had soon become apparent. In September 1790 a state convention proclaimed a constitution modeled on the federal document. It provided for a bicameral legislature and an elected governor, who had power to appoint judges and other officials, control the militia, and veto legislation. The governor could serve three terms of three years each. The basic structure of Pennsylvania government changed little after 1790. The constitutions of 1838 and 1874 altered only details.

Philadelphia had been the banking capital of the colonies before the American Revolution. Philadelphia merchants Robert Morris and Haym Salomon oversaw the financing of the war for independence, making loans and negotiating foreign subsidies. After the Constitution was ratified, Philadelphia served as the national capital from 1790 to 1800 and also as the financial center of the nation. The city was the headquarters for the first and second Banks of the United States, and the U.S. Mint was opened there in 1792. "Pennsylvania" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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