Displayed is an historically important 1788 hand-signed, free frank envelope, postal stamped "May 2, 1788" to a crucial letter sent from George Washington to James Madison during the period prior to the adoption of the United States Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. What Americans now know as the Constitution is actually the second constitution of our nation. The Articles of Confederation was the country's first constitution. The Articles of Confederation had seven articles, with Articles I-III involving the separation of powers, Articles IV-VI concerning Federalism, and Article VII involving the process used to ratify the Articles of Confederation. From May 25 - Sept. 17, 1787, representatives from 12 of the 13 original colonies (Rhode Island chose not to attend) met in Philadelphia in order to draw up a constitution. George Washington was the President of this Continental Congress of 1787. As for deciding on what form of legislature would be prescribed by the new constitution, two plans were under consideration: The "New Jersey Plan" favored a unicameral legislation, with only a single group of legislators, while the "Virginia Plan" called for a bicameral legislature, with two separate legislative chambers - a House of Representatives as well as a Senate. The Continental Congress eventually decided on the Virginia Plan, with its dual legislative chambers, and in a compromise measure, the Continental Congress also decided to continue slavery for 20 more years in the states that already allowed slavery. The offered envelope contained a letter (not included) that urged James Madison to have Virginia vote to approve the proposed Constitution, which was finally ratified on June 21, 1788, a little more than six weeks after Washington mailed his letter to Madison. Along with the aforementioned Washington addressed envelope, the offered item is part of a framed display. The offered envelope measures 7x7", and it exhibits the folds of when it was folded over for use as an envelope. The envelope also shows a mark from where the wax seal was placed, and some fading as well as a few tiny stains. The envelope has a stamped postmark of "Alex," for Alexandria, Virginia, and a stamped postmark date of "May 2." George Washington has written the following on the face of the envelope: "The Hon. James Madison For Free Orange County G Washington." As a return address, Washington wrote: "G. Washington Mt. Vernon May 2, 1788." All of Washington's writing on the envelope was done in ink, now faded, but still clearly observable. In addition to the Washington hand-written envelope, the display has two oval shaped colored images: On the right is Washington's image, roughly 7x8.1". On the left is James Madison's colored image, roughly 6x7.25". The attractive framed display also contains a 4x6" plaque-like section that reads, "George Washington/Free Franked Postal Cover Addressed and Signed by the First President to James Madison May 2, 1788." All of the above is matted and framed to 22x32". Comes with PSA LOA.