On This Day, May 25, 1787 – George Washington opens Constitutional Congress

annapolis convention


1787 – The Constitutional convention opened in Philadelphia with George Washington presiding.

Subsequently, Washington was unanimously elected its president. The Convention (also known as the Philadelphia Convention, the Federal Convention, or the Grand Convention at Philadelphia) met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from May 14 to September 17. Delegates gathered to correct the various problems that had arisen while the newly independent nation was operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from Great Britain. The historic result of the Convention was the crafting of the United States Constitution.

Washington had to be convinced even to attend the Convention.

Washington initially refused to attend because he suspected that he would be made the Convention’s leader, and probably be proposed as the nation’s first chief executive. Washington did not want to be perceived as grasping for power, and active participation in the Convention—with its implied Presidential caveat—could have been perceived as such by the public.

James Madison and General Henry Knox, however, were eventually able to persuade Washington to attend the Convention. As strong believers in a more national system of government, each believed that Washington needed to play a central role because of the great trust and respect he had accumulated during the War. With Madison’s skillful personal courting, Washington agreed to attend.

1844 – The gasoline engine was patented by Stewart Perry.

1844 – The first telegraphed news dispatch, sent from Washington, DC, to Baltimore, MD, appeared in the Baltimore “Patriot.”

1895 – Oscar Wilde, a playwright, poet and novelist, was convicted of a morals charge and sentenced to prison in London.

1925 – John Scopes was indicted for teaching the Darwinian theory in school.

1927 – Ford Motor Company announced that the Model A would replace the Model T.

1927 – The “Movietone News” was shown for the first time at the Sam Harris Theatre in New York City.

1935 – Babe Ruth hit his final homerun, his 714th, and set a record that would stand for 39 years.

1935 – Jesse Owens tied the world record for the 100-yard dash. He ran it in 9.4 seconds. He also broke three other world track records.

1961 – America was asked by President John Kennedy to work toward putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade.

1969 – The Hollies recorded “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” with Elton John on piano.

1977 – “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” opened and became the largest grossing film to date.

1977 – An opinion piece by Vietnam verteran Jan Scruggs appeared in “The Washington Post.” The article called for a national memorial to “remind an ungrateful nation of what it has done to its sons” that had served in the Vietnam War.

1978 – Keith Moon performed with The Who for the last time.

1979 – An American Airlines DC-10 crashed during takeoff at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. 275 people were killed.

1983 – “The Return of the Jedi” opened nationwide. It set a new record in opening day box office sales. The gross was $6,219,629.

1986 – Approximately 7 million Americans participated in “Hands Across America.”

1992 – Jay Leno debuted as the new permanent host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”

1996 – In Nimes, France, Christina Sanchez became the first woman to achieve the rank of matadore in Europe.

1997 Senator Strom Thurmond became the longest-serving senator in U.S. history (41 years and 10 months).

1999 – A report by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China concluded that China had “stolen design information on the U.S. most-advanced thermonuclear weapons” and that China’s penetration of U.S. weapons laboratories “spans at least the past several decades and almost certainly continues today.”


Sources: MountVernon.org; On-This-Day.com