The Foundations of American Nationality

By Evarts Boutell Greene | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXVIII
THE NEW UNION

THE friends of the Constitution began their fight for ratification with one great advantage. Several of their leaders, having sat in the convention, had become thoroughly familiar with most of the questions which were likely to be discussed. There were also many other men who had taken an active part in the movement for a stronger Union; they knew what they wanted and felt that the new Constitution, though not perfect, was a long step in the right direction. So in most of the states this "Federal" party was well organized and equipped for the struggle. On the "Anti-Federalist" side, organization and leadership were less effective. A few dissatisfied members of the convention, like Martin of Maryland and Mason of Virginia, were ready to carry the fight into the states, and they could count on the help of some veteran revolutionists like Patrick Henry; Samuel Adams also, though finally won over to the Federal cause, was dubious at first. On the whole, however, the Anti-Federalist leaders were comparatively obscure and second-rate men. Furthermore, the working up of a political campaign on short notice was slower and more difficult in the Anti-Federalist areas of the interior than in the more compact communities of the seaboard, which generally took the Federal side.

The Federal party and its opponents.

The advantage of an early start was soon apparent. Within less than four months after the close of the Federal Convention, the Constitution was ratified by five states, a majority of the nine required to put the system into effect. Four of these five belonged to the "small-state" group in

Early ratifications.

-603-

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