During the long, sweltering summer of 1787 a delegation of more than
fifty men from twelve former British colonies cloistered themselves behind
the locked doors of Philadelphia's Independence
Hall. The stated purpose of their meeting was to amend the Articles
of Confederation, a loose framework for our young nation's government.
However, when the delegation adjourned in September its members had instead
fashioned an entirely new Constitution
and with it the uniquely American institution of the presidency.