who wrote the fundamental parts of the United States Constitution? constitutions

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
The United States Constitution was written by committees. I agree that there is no way to tell exactly who wrote what. You could analyze the writing, but that would only tell you who phrased the words. The ideas were created and compromised by committees.
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Actually, it is practically impossible to know who, if any one person, was responsible for the actual writing of the Constitution. At its opening session, the Convention first chose George Washington as its President and James Madison as its recording secretary. The second motion was to keep the proceedings secret. The room in which the convention met in Philadelphia is on the second floor of independence hall so that the windows could be opened and eavesdroppers could not listen in. It is widely reported that Benjamin Franklin, well into his eighties at the time, often left the proceedings early to refresh himself at a nearby tavern. When he became somewhat loose tongued about events in the meeting, young men who were sent to accompany him often gently steered him away.

Madison is commonly called the Father of the Constitution because the only record we have of its proceedings are his Notes on the Constitutional Convention. One can only surmise as to his actual participation in the meeting, as it is not mentioned. Although he authored the Virginia Plan, it was modified by the Connecticut Compromise, one of several compromises which comprise the Constitution.

So the safest answer is no one really knows if one individual more than others was directly responsible for the finished product.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

John Locke was an English philosopher whose philosophy regarding the importance of individual liberties and development of a social contract between a government and the governed citizens was very influential in shaping the thinking of the Founding Fathers as they gathered for the Constitutional Convention of 1787. However, Locke had no part in the actual writing of the Constitution.

James Madison is recognized as having been the primary author of the Constitution, first presented in the form of the Virginia Plan which Madison had written before the Convention convened. Many of the basic tenets of the Virginia Plan survived and were incorporated into the final document.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial