The first step towards the Annapolis Convention was the Alexandria Conference on March 28, 1785. Originally scheduled to take place at Alexandria for a discussion between the states of Maryland and Virginia to discuss navigation and commerce on Chesapeake Bay, the meeting was actually held at Mount Vernon at the invitation of George Washington. An agreement was reached, but the parties expressed a wish to include other states with an interest in the same topic.
On September 11, 1786, twelve representatives of five states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia) met at the Maryland State House in Annapolis to discuss interstate commerce. In attendance were Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. No decisions were made, but a consensus was reached that an even larger convention involving all the states should be held in Philadelphia the following May.
Hamilton produced the report of the convention, which was sent to Congress. It concluded:
Under this impression, Your Commissioners, with the most respectful deference, beg leave to suggest their unanimous conviction, that it may essentially tend to advance the interests of the union, if the States, by whom they have been respectively delegated, would themselves concur, and use their endeavours to procure the concurrence of the other States, in the appointment of Commissioners, to meet at Philadelphia on the second Monday in May next, to take into consideration the situation of the United States, to devise such further provisions as shall appear to them necessary to render the constitution of the Foederal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union; and to report such an Act for that purpose to the United States in Congress assembled, as when agreed to, by them, and afterwards confirmed by the Legislatures of every State, will effectually provide for the same.
Thus was launched the Constitutional Convention of 1787.