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The Constitutional Convention in America marked a widely contested attempt by the states to unite under one central government after the failed Articles of Confederation. In general, there were two sides to the debate; the Federalists, and the Antifederalists. Both these parties compromised their ideals and morals to create the strong Constitution under which America acts today. The ratification process nearly threatened to blow the veil of secrecy by which the Constitutional Convention happened.

FEDERALISTS: At the constitutional convention, opposing the Antifederalists were the Federalists. The Federalists were typically the richer gentry class of America; they were well educated and held much personal property. Additionally, they were typically from the seaboard and the coastal regions, as these areas allotted for easy access to their merchant business’ to gain mass amounts of wealth. Some famous federalists include Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These men stand for a larger federal government, as they believed the Articles of Confederation lacked the proper amount of power to keep the uncooperative states in check with the rest of the union.

The Constitution to them held several purposes, the first of which being the protection of the rights of people through the national government. While they did believe that there was no need for a bill of rights, the Federalist Framers believed it to be a right of the citizens to overthrow the government in case the rights of the peoples were infringed upon. Additionally, as they personally held a great amount of wealth and education, the federalists believed that only the experienced and talented men should lead the union, as the idea of “Mobocracy” threatened the sanctity of the Union. Finally, the Federalists were willing to pass the Constitution on any terms, such that compromises over slavery and other hot topics were able to be contested in debate.

The Federalists knew that the Constitution would go unratified unless they acted quickly and attempted to persuade the public to accept. In fact, the first three states to ratify the Constitution, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, did so in December of 1787, with five others ratifying by June of 1788. This quick ratification was in part due to the Federalist Papers, which were created under pen names by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. The authors argued that a centralized power would be necessary for the foreign affairs, not only to gain respect but also to negotiate with greater ease. Additionally, they argued this central government wouldn't become too strong, as the checks and balances, proposed by Madison who took the idea of Montesquieu, would keep the individual branches' power in check, and would consequently protect the rights of the individual peoples.
ANTI-FEDERALISTS: Those known as Anti-Federalists opposed a strong centralized government and the ratification of the Constitution for a multitude of reasons. Of these, a prominent one was the belief that the delegates had far exceeded their congressional authority by partaking in an act that replaces the Articles of Confederation with an illegal new document. Yet another point made by the Anti-Federalists was that the delegates represented on the elite and constructed a document that would serve their interests and the interests of those in the same socio-economic position. Anti-Federalists also generally held that the Constitution gave too much power to a centralized government and, in doing so, took away power from the states.
The thought that the republican form of government outlined in the Constitution could and would not be able to function on a large national scale, was also held. Furthermore, these men did not feel that the rights of the individual were properly and sufficiently protected by the new Constitution. This leads to their main objection; the need of a Bill of Rights. This argument can be seen as the foundation of these men’s argument. Americans just fought a war to defend their rights, and they did not want a intimidating national government taking those rights away again. Thus, this lack of a bill of rights was the primary focus of the Anti-Federalist campaign against the ratification of the Constitution.

Ratification:

Unlike the Articles of Confederation, which needed unanimous consent to be ratified, only 9 out of the 13 states needed to give their consent for the Constitution to be ratified. After the final meeting date of the Constitutional convention and the document was finalized and signed on September 17th, 1787, it took 10 months for the first nine states to ratify it. Of these states, Delaware was the first state to ratify by a 30-0 unanimous vote. The last three states to ratify were New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. If New York and North Carolina failed to ratify, it would reduce the new union by two large, populated, wealthy states, and would splinter the union geographically. In all three states, however, the Federalists prevailed and Rhode Island, the last state to ratify, did so on May 29th, 1790.
Vocab:
Constitutional Convention: the convention of United States statesmen who drafted the United States Constitution in 1787
Federalists:Those who favored a stronger national and centralized government and supported the ratification of the proposed U.S. Constitution; later became first political party of the U.S.

Federalist Papers: a series of 85 political essays supporting the ratification of the constitution written by John jay, James Madison, and Alexander Hamilton.

Anti-Federalists: Those who favored stronger state governments and opposed giving a centralized government more power. Opposed ratification of the proposed U.S. Constitution

Ratification: Making something valid by formally ratifying or confirming it, here pertaining to the acceptance of the Constitution

Mobocracy: the common people, the masses, populace or multitude would rule in mob-like fashion, and threaten the sanctity of the Union.


Works Cited (#YOLO #MURICA)Works Cited
"ANTIFEDERALISTS VS FEDERALISTS." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. <http://staff.gps.edu/mines/APUSH%20-antifederalists_vs_federalists.htm>.
"Constitution of the United States - Federalists Versus Anti-federalists Read More: Constitution of the United States - Federalists Versus Anti-federalists - Government, Madison, National, and Papers - JRank Articles Http:law.jrank.orgConstitution-United-States-FEDERALISTS-VERSUS-ANTI-FEDERALISTS." N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Sept. 2012. <http://law.jrank.org/pages/5603/Constitution-United-States-FEDERALISTS-VERSUS-ANTI-FEDERALISTS.html>.
"Constitutional Topic." N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <http://www.usconstitution.net/consttop_faf.html>.
"Federalist & Antifederalist Positions." N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. <http://faculty.polytechnic.org/gfeldmeth/chart.fed.pdf>.
"Federalists versus Antifederalists." Federalists versus Antifederalists. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Sept. 2012. <http://www.apstudynotes.org/us-history/topics/federalists-versus-antifederalists-/>.
"Teaching With Documents: The Ratification of the Constitution." Observing Constitution Day//. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2012. <http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/constitution-day/ratification.html