Origins of the Federal Court System

Creation of the Court

Where was the Constitution itself created?

The U.S. Constitution was created during the summer of 1787 at a meeting of fifty-five delegates whose assigned job was to propose revisions to the Articles of Confederation, the authoritative document of the existing government, which did not provide enough power for a central government. The delegates actually went beyond their job duties and created an entire new Constitution during a process that author Catherine Drinker Bowen called “the Miracle at Philadelphia.” This process culminated on September 17, 1787, when thirty-nine men signed the new document. Various states then ratified the Constitution in 1787 and 1788 that put the Constitution into effect.

Virginia delegate Edmund Randolph was instrumental in bringing forth a plan to create a federal judiciary branch in 1789. Randolph went on to become the nation’s first attorney general. Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

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