Creating the United States Constitution
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Draft United States Constitution: Report of the Committee of Style, September 8-12, 1787. Printed document with annotations by George Washington and William Jackson. George Washington Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress.


George Washington's annotated copy of the Committee of Style draft constitution of September 12, 1787, is the core document for this exploration of the antecedents of some critical phrases and principles in the United States Constitution. Few critical alterations were made to the Committee of Style's draft before it was signed by the delegates in Philadelphia on September 17, 1787. Although the roots of the federal Constitution were deep in American, British, and European political philosophy, American experiences of trying to establish a national government proved to be essential in the creation of the Constitution. The antecedents displayed here are not meant to be a definitive or complete list, but only important illustrative examples that were known to drafters of the federal Constitution.