In May of 1787, when the delegates to the Federal Convention convened to overhaul the Articles of Confederation, debate over the issues the new nation faced brought the delegates to the conclusion that the original governing document should be set aside, and an entirely new frame of government established.
The end result was the Constitution of the
Competing visions of government were considered and debated, and a draft emerged on August 6th. Two weeks later, commerce and slavery collided, and nearly ceased the proceedings. A week into September, the delegates were exhausted and ready to return home, and the final draft was turned over to committee for the preparation of the final draft, which was returned finished on September 12. On September 15, it was voted on by the convention for the last time, and it passed unanimously. Every vote on the roll call was “aye.”
From there, it went to the states, where now the fight was between the Federalists who backed ratification and the anti-Federalists who opposed.
Passions were high.
When the Federalist-dominated state ratifying convention lacked a quorum of members to conduct the vote on September 29, an angry mob took Participatory Democracy to a whole new level.
They went to the homes of two anti-Federalist lawmakers and dragged them to the statehouse, forcing their presence, and a quorum.
Anti-Federalist sentiments ran equally high, however, and in
A counter offensive was undertaken by Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, with the help of James Madison. Before the end of 1787, the first of the Federalist Papers would be published. The 85 essays, most penned by
The fight was not over. By January 1788, only five of the nine states needed for ratification had voted to do so –
That made six.
But the Federalists were not on the homestretch yet. The
The Federalist leaders were getting nervous. They turned their focus to
That made seven.
Heroes of the Revolution, Patrick Henry foremost, had opposed the new Constitution because it was vague, and it was only adopted when the amendments we know as The Bill of Rights were added.
It was an age of debate and participation and compromise. In the end, the founders gave us a Republic. It is our charge to keep it.