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1.6 The Debate over Ratification

The Federal Convention submitted the Constitution together with its recommendations on ratification, to the Congress. On September 28, the Congress voted to submit the document to the states without any indication of approval or disapproval.


1.6a Federalists and Antifederalists:

Those who favored ratification of the Constitution were called Federalists. They enjoyed superiority of leadership. In New York, some of them like Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay jointly wrote a series of 85 letters analyzing the Constitution and praising its merits. These letters were published in the newspapers and later published in the form of a book under the title The Federalist.

Their opponents, the Antifederalists included Elbridge Gerry, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee and James Monroe. Many of the small farmers, debtors, the poorer classes in the towns and cities and the state politicians were opposed to ratification. They believed that the ratification to the Constitution gave excessive powers to the government at the center, so that the states had very little powers. Some were even convinced that the process of ratification itself was illegal, as only a unanimous consent for the amendment was necessary. To win their support a promise was given to include a bill of rights along with a series of amendments to the new Constitution in order to provide a fundamental guarantee of the traditional liberties of a free people. All the states finally ratified the Constitution. However North Carolina and Rhode Island only did so after it went into effect and they could not remain outside the Union.

Index

1.0 - Introduction
1.1 The Continental Congress
1.2 The Articles of Confederation
1.3 The Constitutional Convention
1.4 Key Concepts in the Constitution
1.5 Summary of the Constitution
1.6 The Debate over Ratification
1.7 The Amendment Process
1.8 The Bill of Rights
1.9 Subsequent Amendments (1789-1992)

Chapter 2





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