Ratification of the Federal Constitution 1787–90


Map Code: Ax00568

Between 1787–1788, 16,000 elected delegates debated whether to provide ratification of the newly proposed Constitution. Outside this private arena, the public were being bombarded with leaflets, pamphlets and broadsides outlining the merits and demerits of the new constitution. The Federalists, who were pro more centralized government control and wanted the Constitution to be ratified, were a minority in six states, with New York being even. The anti-Federalists were opposed to the idea of national consolidated principles, believing that it introduced too many constraints on state legislature freedom. The debate caused tension between the Federalists and anti-Federalists, with civil war nearly breaking out in Rhode Island. The Constitution was finally ratified by 12 states after a compromise solution was agreed. A bill of rights was introduced, which contained ten amendments that addressed the objections raised by the anti-Federalists. The 13th state, Rhode Island, ratified the Constitution in 1790.

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