Annapolis Convention (1786)
The Annapolis Convention was a meeting in 1786 at Annapolis, Maryland, of 12 delegates from five states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) that unanimously called for a constitutional convention. The formal title of the meeting was a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government. Long dissatisfied with the weak Articles of Confederation, Alexander Hamilton of New York played a major leadership role. He drafted its resolution for a constitutional convention, and in doing so brought his longtime desire to have a more powerful, more financially independent federal government one step closer to reality.
The convention met from September 11 to September 14, 1786. The commissioners felt that there were not enough states represented to make any substantive agreement. New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina had appointed commissioners who failed to arrive in Annapolis in time to attend the meeting, while Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina and Georgia had taken no action at all.
They produced a report which was sent to the Congress and to the states. The report asked support for a broader meeting to be held the next May in Philadelphia. It expressed the hope that more states would be represented and that their delegates or deputies would be authorized to examine areas broader than simply commercial trade.
It is unclear how much weight the Convention's call carried, but the urgency of the reform was highlighted by a number of rebellions that took place all over the country. While most of them were easily suppressed, Shay's rebellion lasted from August 1786 till February 1787. The rebellion called attention to both popular discontent, and government's weakness.
The states represented, and their delegates were:
- New York: Egbert Benson and Alexander Hamilton
- New Jersey: Abraham Clark, William Houston, and James Schureman
- Pennsylvania: Tench Coxe
- Delaware: George Read, John Dickinson, and Richard Bassett
- Virginia: Edmund Randolph, James Madison, Jr., and St. George Tucker
- Richard B. Morris, The Forging of the Union, 1781-1789 (1988) p. 255
- John E. Ferling, A leap in the dark: the struggle to create the American republic (2003) pp 276-8
- Milkis, S., Nelson, M., The American Presidency. Washington: CQPess, 2003. Fourth Edition. Print
- Wright, Jr., Robert K.; MacGregor Jr., Morris J. "Appendix A: The Annapolis Convention". Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution. Washington D.C: United States Army Center of Military History. LCCN 1987 E302.5.W85 1987. CMH Pub 71-25.