The Constitutional Convention
During what historians often call the “critical period” after the American Revolution, many were concerned that the Articles of Confederation were inadequate for the states to grow commercially and economically. Not only that, but George Washington was especially worried that a disparate group of states would not nurture the uniquely American character he had fought for in the Revolution. In response to the recommendation of the Annapolis Convention, the Confederation Congress announced a meeting to revise the Articles of Confederation. This meeting would take place in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787.
But not everyone was convinced that the Articles needed revision—or that complete revision of the Articles was necessary or desirable. Patrick Henry from Virginia, for example, said that he “smelt a rat” and declined to attend. Later, Henry would become a leading opponent of the Constitution. The Anti-Federalists like him were suspicious of the strong, centralized power of a nation. They feared the cost to liberty of a national government with vast new powers over all the states and the people as individuals.