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The U.S. Constitution outlines the structure of the U.S. government and describes its powers and limits. The 55 delegates who framed the document in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787 sought to overcome the failures of the Articles of Confederation. It had not provided for an independent executive, and it vested primary power in the states, which acted in some matters as independent nations. George Washington, the president of the Constitutional Convention and the first president of the United States, had set a great example of civil-military relations by subordinating his command over U.S. forces during the Revolutionary War to Congress and by resigning his command at the end of the conflict. This entry outlines the Constitution, discusses the powers that the Constitution delegates to ...

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