The first hurdle they had to overcome was getting agreement to go beyond their instructions from Congress. The instructions said that the convention was meeting for “the sole and express purpose of revising the articles of confederation.” With a little parliamentary maneuvering, the delegates reset the goal of the convention. They agreed that “a national government ought to be established, consisting of a supreme legislative, a supreme executive, and a supreme judiciary.” In one audacious move, they voted to unshackle themselves from the Articles of Confederation.
None of this was easy. Pierce Butler, a delegate from South Carolina said that the manners, mode of thinking, and interests of the North and South are “as different as the interests of Russia and Turkey.” The newspapers of the time were full of opinion pieces that suggested the convention should form two or three different countries. Some inside the chamber agreed, but Washington, Madison, and Hamilton continued to fight for a single nation built on first principles.
You can learn more about the Constitutional Convention in my novel, Tempest at Dawn.