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A More Perfect Union: America Becomes a Nation is a 1989 American feature film dramatizing the events of the Constitutional Convention.


Plot summary

The film depicts events surrounding creation of the United States Constitution, dwelling mainly on the life of James Madison, the person who wrote most of that document.[1]

The period immediately following the American Revolutionary War was marked by intense political unrest, owing to huge debts, the interruption of trade and business, shortages of labor, and personal turmoils, all created by the War. It soon became painfully evident that the Articles of Confederation were insufficient to address the country's needs. A movement was soon afoot to upgrade or replace the Articles, and Madison was foremost in the movement. However, he needed the support of George Washington; he needed to show that a new government would be sufficient to address such challenges as Shay's Rebellion and the growing trade problems between the independent States.

Madison was strongly opposed by those who feared a strong central government, people known either as States Rights Advocates or as Anti-Federalists, such as Roger Sherman and John Dickinson. Madison was in favor of a bicameral congress, but envisioned both houses being elected according to proportional representation. In this he was strongly opposed by the States Rights Advocates, and he eventually accepted the compromises necessary to address their concerns. The film highlights the basis for these compromises.

Production notes

The movie was filmed on location at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Williamsburg, VA and other historical sites. The film is shot almost entirely from the viewpoint of James Madison, with the script being based primarily on his writings.



  1. ^ IMDB entry on A More Perfect Union, accessed 18 October 2009


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