Getting to Union

Navigating Differences in the Constitutional Convention

Part IV. The Founders Established a Government that Requires Successfully Navigating Differences to Keep the Union.

Part IV. Step 1. Navigating Our Differences to Keep the Union

The delegates of the 1787 Constitutional Convention finished their work on September 17 and sent copies of the draft federal constitution to each of the states for ratification. Though they were deeply divided by their differences, the delegates were able to agree to a set of rules that created space to address issues. This built trust among the delegates and made it possible to draft a new proposed Union. Yet, the framers were worried. They had created a republic and every historical example of republics they knew about had failed. Their new experiment in liberty required each generation of Americans to understand how our rights function, feel a responsibility to protect the rights of others, and respectfully engage in the process of navigating differences.

We can look to the Constitutional Convention as a model for how to navigate our deep differences today and keep the Union.

Class Discussion

  1. In what ways might the Constitutional Convention be a model for navigating differences to create unity today?
  2. What are some responsibilities each generation must take on to keep the American experiment in liberty going?
  3. What are some examples of deep differences in our society today that could benefit from a deliberative process similar to the 1787 Constitutional Convention?


Learn more about how to promote the 3Rs — rights, responsibility, respect — in your school and community.