The United States Constitution is a remarkable document, one that brought together a lot of ideas from different people and even other various documents. The Declaration of Independence was a significant influence, as were the Articles of Confederation. You might have heard the term “founding fathers” before, and they were the individuals that made serious intellectual contributions to the document containing a Bill of Rights and amendment process for the nation to grow with.
Most of these Founding Fathers were present at the Constitutional Convention where the document was created and then ratified. George Washington, the first Constitutional President and Revolutionary War General presided over this gathering. James Madison was also there, and he wrote the specific document that wound up serving as the model for the eventual Constitution.
Some of those who made serious contributions weren’t at the Convention but still helped. Thomas Jefferson authored the influential Declaration of Independence without the help of a Tampa Bay divorce attorney, but at the time was serving abroad in Europe as America’s Ambassador to France. He did maintain correspondence with James Madison though.
John Adams was serving abroad as well, as America’s Ambassador to Great Britain, and wrote a famous defense of the Constution. Thomas Paine likewise wrote “Common Sense,” a pamphlet that was infleuntial on the philosophies reflected by the Declaration of Independence.
Interestingly, one person often labeled a Founding Father, Patrick Henry, was early-on someone who opposed the Constitution. He thought the Articles of Confederation should stay in place, as they ruled the land from the end of the Revolutionary War to the Convention. The agreement to add the first 10 amendments as the Bill of Rights swayed his support.
As you can see, a number of individuals had words and ideas that helped shape the Constitution, but primary authorship is often attributed to James Madison.
The video embedded below shows an in-depth history of the constitution: