Annapolis Convention (1786)
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Annapolis Convention 1786

The Annapolis Convention, formally titled as a Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government, was a national political convention held September 11–14, 1786 at Mann's Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland, in which twelve delegates from five states (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) gathered to discuss and develop a consensus on reversing the protectionist trade barriers that each state had erected. At the time, under the Articles of Confederation, each state was largely independent from the others, and the national government had no authority to regulate trade between and among the states.[1] New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and North Carolina had appointed commissioners, who failed to arrive in Annapolis in time to attend the meeting, and Connecticut, Maryland, South Carolina, and Georgia had taken no action at all.[2]


Most of the delegates to the meeting were tasked only to take up the issue of trade among the states, but New Jersey's delegates were authorized to discuss a broader scope of reforms. The group realized that the issue of trade touched upon many other aspects of the Confederation and that a future meeting with a broader scope would be necessary to adequately address the problems.

The final report of the convention was adopted unanimously and sent to the Congress of the Confederation and to the states. It sought support for a broader constitutional convention to be held the following May in Philadelphia. It hoped that more states would be represented and that their delegates or deputies would be authorized to examine areas broader than simply commercial trade.[3]


Because of the few representatives in attendance, their authority was limited. It is unclear how much weight the convention's call carried, but the urgency of the need for constitutional reform was highlighted by a number of rebellions that took place all over the country. Although most of them were easily suppressed, Shays' Rebellion lasted from August 1786 to February 1787. The rebellion called attention to both popular discontent and government weakness.[4]

The direct result of the Annapolis Convention's report and the ensuing events was the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, when the United States Constitution was drafted.


These states were represented with delegates:[5]


  1. ^ Ferling, John (2003). A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic. Oxford University Press. p. 276. ISBN 9780195176001. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Annapolis Convention Resolution, 1786". Ashland, Ohio: Ashbrook Center at Ashland University. Retrieved 2016.
  3. ^ Morris, Richard Brandon (1987). The forging of the Union, 1781-1789. Harper & Row. p. 254. ISBN 9780060157333. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ Milkis, S., Nelson, M., The American Presidency. Washington: CQPess, 2003. Fourth Edition. Print
  5. ^ Wright, Jr., Robert K.; MacGregor Jr., Morris J. "Appendix A: The Annapolis Convention". Soldier-Statesmen of the Constitution. Washington D.C.: United States Army Center of Military History. LCCN 87001353. CMH Pub 71-25.

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