Model Research Paper

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Model Research Paper

ENG302B: American Literature | Unit 4 | Lesson 1: What is a Research Paper?

Model Research Paper
The Constitution: A Model of Collaborative Effort By Jeffrey Twinning Who wrote the Constitution? Was it Thomas Jefferson? No, Jefferson was the main author of the Declaration of Independence, but he did not attend the Constitutional Convention in 1787 because he was in France serving as the American minister to that country. Was it George Washington? No, he was president of the convention but used his influence to maintain peace between the arguing factions rather than contributing his own ideas. Was it Benjamin Franklin? No, Franklin, the oldest delegate at age 81, contributed some of his wry wisdom to the debate but did not play a primary role in inventing the new government. Was it James Madison or Alexander Hamilton? No, these two giants were perhaps the thinkers most responsible for planning the structure of the new government and persuading the states to adopt the Constitution, but they were not its “authors” in the sense of writing the document. Instead, the Constitution was a collaboration among many people over a period of months and years, and this factor was critical in making it effective and durable. In fact, the man who put the 1787 Constitution into its written form was a delegate whom relatively few Americans today have heard of: Gouverneur Morris of Pennsylvania. Morris, a proponent of a strong central government, “spoke more frequently than any delegate” (Asimov 138) and contributed the idea of a decimal money system to replace the clumsy British pound system. According to a U.S. State Department website, “Morris actually ‘wrote’ the Constitution” (About America 8). Among other achievements, Morris put the Preamble into its inspiring 55-word form (Brinkley 111). However, it would be misleading to call Morris the author of the Constitution. As drafter and reviser, his task was to find clear, concise wording for the ideas that his fellow delegates had agreed upon.

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Model Research Paper

ENG302B: American Literature | Unit 4 | Lesson 1: What is a Research Paper?

The best way to study the Constitution’s collaborative origin is to follow the convention stage by stage as various delegates and states contributed. It was Alexander Hamilton who had the idea to hold the convention. He proposed the idea at an earlier convention, the Annapolis Convention of September 1786, whose purpose was a very narrow one—to resolve a dispute between Virginia and Maryland over control of the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac River. At Annapolis, discontent with the weakness of the Articles of Confederation boiled to the surface, and Hamilton seized the opportunity to call for a convention the following May to address all the problems of the national government. On schedule, a group of 55 delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island did not attend) arrived in Philadelphia in the spring of 1787. They were men of learning, insight, and experience, who were fully aware of the importance of their task, but they had to work hard to overcome their many sectional, political, and economic differences. From the beginning, the Constitutional Convention was divided between delegates who wanted a strong central government and those who felt that most power should remain in the hands of the states. Some delegates walked out during the four months of the convention, disappointed at not getting their way. Nevertheless, most stayed and participated in healthy debate. A series of plans took center stage, each one crafted to uphold the interests of its supporters. The first major plan presented was the Virginia Plan, created by Edmund Randolph, who was the governor of Virginia and one of the authors of that state’s constitution. Randolph wanted the United States to have a Congress consisting of two houses....
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