The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800

By Carol Sue Humphrey | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 10

Ratification Struggle, 1787–1789

The Constitution contained within itself the mechanism for its ratification and implementation. Since the proposed new structure called for a strengthening of the national government, the Convention delegates feared that the state governments would refuse to consider the Constitution. The ratification process called for each state to call a special convention to discuss the proposed change. When 9 of the 13 states had ratified, the new government would take effect.

Once the Constitution was published on September 19, 1787, many states acted quickly to consider the proposal. Delaware became the first state to ratify the new government on December 7, 1787. Seven other states soon followed suit. By June 1788, eight states had ratified the Constitution, and it was being considered in three others. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire became the ninth state to adopt the proposed Constitution so the new government would take effect. New York and Virginia also ratified before the end of June. The stage was now set for a change in government in the United States.

During the ratification debates, the newspapers printed many items related to the discussions. Most of the printers favored the Constitution, and so the majority of materials published supported the proposed new government. Still, pieces appeared on both sides of the issue and debated the pros and cons of the Constitution.

The documents in favor of the Constitution tried to present all the positive aspects of the change in government structure. The first selection argues that the new government will be able more capably to control foreign trade, which will improve the American economy. The second piece is the first in probably the most famous set of essays in favor of the Constitution, “The Federalist Papers.” The third selection states that Americans should ap-

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The Revolutionary Era: Primary Documents on Events from 1776 to 1800
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Series Foreword vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Chronology of Events xix
  • Chapter 1 1
  • Chapter 2 33
  • Chapter 3 49
  • Chapter 4 67
  • Note 79
  • Chapter 5 81
  • Chapter 6 93
  • Chapter 7 105
  • Chapter 8 119
  • Chapter 9 127
  • Chapter 10 137
  • Chapter 11 161
  • Chapter 12 181
  • Chapter 13 189
  • Chapter 14 201
  • Note 210
  • Chapter 15 211
  • Chapter 16 223
  • Chapter 17 233
  • Chapter 18 243
  • Chapter 19 253
  • Chapter 20 263
  • Chapter 21 277
  • Chapter 22 295
  • Chapter 23 303
  • Chapter 24 313
  • Chapter 25 323
  • Notes 335
  • Chapter 26 337
  • Selected Bibliography 349
  • Index 353
  • About the Author 359
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