Author Archives: FTB1(SS)
Eleven times over the course of a couple of years, the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations calls conventions to consider ratification of the Constitution. And eleven times, the State refuses to agree to the Constitution and continue to operate under their state Charter/Constitution of 1633. this allows Rhode Island to continue to manipulate its currency and to protest slavery.
The problem is that she cannot go it alone. And it becomes obvious that the worst fears of the Anti-Federalists are not immediately coming to pass, pressure mounts on the Governor, a staunch Country Party leader named John Collins, to state the obvious – that the Constitution represents the best interests of the people of the State of Rhode Island. his supporters who elected him to the Governorship still don’t agree.
The twelfth convention is called in Newport, as Congress passes a bill to economically isolate Rhode Island. this time, John Collins will sacrifice his political career for the betterment of the nation, not the Country Party.
As Virginia and New York debate and ratify, North Carolina’s delegates gather in Hillsborough to decide the fate of the ratification in North Carolina. The Delegates were elected back in March at the direction of the State Legislature, and the Federalists are badly (2:1) outnumbered. They know that they will most likely lose. The Anti-Federalists aren’t against the Constitution per se. They are just dead set that they will not vote to ratify without a Bill of Rights.
Among them is one Timothy Bloodworth and he is an example of everything that is right with The United States and the Anti-Federalist idea.
In an unusual twist to the debates so far, the Federalists believe that the Constitution doesn’t go far enough in the powers it grants to the new central government. But they are resigned to defeat in the matter. Consequently, they do two things:
First, they hire a stenographer. If (when) they lose, they intend to make it stick to the Anti-Federalists. Secondly, they decide to take a long view of the matter. Like New York, they realize that the Constitution is a done deal.
Even though North Carolina will vote to neither ratify or reject, the stage will be set for the final battle.
In the process of show prep I came across this BRILLIANT song parody:
After a long public debate in the media, the delegates for New York have arrived in Poughkeepsie to decided if New York will ratify the Constitution. While there is a STRONG Anti-Federalist contingent in the State, there is something else going on. Governor George Clinton is the leading opponent of ratification but even he is beginning to understand that the very purpose of the Constitution supersedes the arguments against its ratification. After Massachusetts and Virginia ratify, it is beginning to dawn on New York that going it alone is an untenable position.
At the convention, Melancton Smith will be the primary speaker for the Anti-Federalist position. He is most likely the author of numerous Anti-Federalist papers, including the “Letters from a Federal farmer.” He is a simple man, a country farmer, not as well polished as Hamilton but he is focused (unlike Hamilton), polite (unlike Hamilton) and he is of “a gentle, liberal, and amiable disposition” (unlike Hamilton). He is so persuasive that the issue in New York is never really in doubt.
The biggest problem now is that the ground has shifted. While the numbers are clearly in favor in the Anti-federalist position, the realization is dawning on the Delegates that New York may have waited too long to ratify. The realization that the only way to get what the amendments that they “require” for ratification, is to be able to send delegates to the new Congress. The realization is dawning that only way to keep New York together is to ratify.
Melancton Smith, the man who will try to broker an acceptable system of ratification, realizes that despite their numbers, Hamilton is right. Not Ratifying is no longer an option. Clinton is furious at him, but at the end of the day, even the future Vice President has to accept what Melancton Smith has accepted – the Ben Franklin cartoon drawn all those years ago still applies. Join or Die.
And on the verge of eternity, New York ratifies the Constitution…