In the video below, Professor Joanne Freeman discusses the debate over the Constitution at the Federal Convention of 1787—a convention that by no means had an inevitable outcome. Indeed, even attending the Convention at all was a subject of debate in the individual states; many people feared that the Convention would produce a pseudo-monarchical form of government that would abandon the true significance of the Revolution. Ostensibly called to revise the Articles of Confederation, the meeting ultimately produced an entirely new form of government, in part, thanks to the influence of James Madison’s “Virginia Plan” of government. Professor Freeman focuses on three subjects of debate among the many that occupied the Convention: the debates over representation, slavery, and the nature of the executive branch.
Read a transcript of Professor Freeman’s lecture here.