Two outstanding defects in the Articles of Confederation were the failure to give the central government an assured annual revenue and the lack of any provision for securing uniformity in the regulation of commerce. The urgent necessity of strengthening the articles on these points inspired the calling of a constitutional convention at Philadelphia in the spring of 1787. Most of the leaders of public opinion were members of this convention, among them Washington, Madison, Hamilton, and Benjamin Franklin. It was deemed impracticable to secure the desired ends by merely amending the Articles of Confederation; so an entirely new constitution was prepared. The task occupied the entire summer of 1787, and when the document was finished it went to the thirteen States for their approval.〖H. C., xliii, 180-198.〗 In some of them the issue of adoption was doubtful, for many provisions in the new constitution were bitterly attacked. But its friends were as active in its defense; Hamilton and Madison wielded their pens to good purpose in a publicity campaign, and in the course of time all thirteen States gave the document their indorsement. These letters of Hamilton and Madison in advocacy of the new constitution, subsequently published as “The Federalist,” form a notable treatise on the principles of federal government.〖H. C., xliii, 199-207.〗 The new central government began its career forthwith; and in his first inaugural Washington called upon the representatives of the people “to lay the foundations of national policy” in a way that would “command the respect of the world.”〖H. C., xliii, 227.〗

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