THE FEDERAL CONVENTION
THE body of delegates which met in Philadelphia in 1787 was the most important convention that ever sat in the United States. The Confederation was a failure, and if the new nation was to be justified in the eyes of the world, it must show itself capable of effective union. The members of the Convention realized the significance of the task before them, which was, as Madison said, "now to decide forever the fate of Republican government." Gouverneur Morris, with unwonted seriousness, declared: "The whole human race will be affected by the proceedings of this Convention." James Wilson spoke with equal gravity: "After the lapse of six thousand years since the creation of the world America now presents the first instance of a people assembled to weigh deliberately and calmly and to decide leisurely and peaceably upon the form of government by which they will bind themselves and their posterity."