Category Archives: Ratification
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…
At long last, the Virginia Delegates to the States Ratification Convention arrive in Richmond. Unlike other States, the Virginia Convention will be open to the public. It will be raucous and passionate and it will feature some of the biggest names in American history.
The Federalists initially outnumber the Anti-federalists by a slim margin with at least four delegates undecided. Everybody already knows what everybody’s position is on the matter of Ratification. But the debates must go on, and those who oppose ratification, led by the greatest orator in America, Patrick Henry, will state their position with clarity and firmness.
And when it is all over and done, Virginia will become the 10th State to ratify the Constitution. It’s what happens after that which makes Jay Leno’s lament all the more poignant…