United We Stand, Divdided We Fall. Why the AFs voted yes.
CJohnson at law.utexas.edu
Wed Oct 19 07:21:53 PDT 2005
In New York and Virginia (but no where else) Anti-Federalist won a majority of the delegates to the Ratification Conventions. Ratification in those two states required (heroic) elected AFs to change their mind. They left a lot of reasons as they switched over.
Edmund Randolph left the Philadelphia convention voting against the Constitution on the grounds it gave too much general pwoer to the national government. But then he said he would rather lose his right arm that see the Union dissolve and he then he wrote some of the best analyses of the case for the Constition in the whole debates. For Randolph the Constitution is all a fiscal issue getting enough funds to pay the Revolutionary War debts.
Also Patrick Henry's campaign was primarily on slavery: adopt this Constitution and the Eastern States can and will abolish slavery. A bunch of West Virginia delegates found that message not all that magnetic. Had Va. expelled W. Va. early, it would not have ratified.
In NY Publius' Federalist lost more votes than it gained because many readers thought Publius wanted a standing army. But John Jay was said at the time to be miraculous in convincing AFs that their salvation lay in
the Constituion. Jay's primary pitch was preservation of the ideals of the Revolutionary War. 'We are basically one nation, of one religious more or less and one culture, in a fertile land, who have fought a long and hard war against the strongest nation on earth and after much blood persevered to independence. We are one, united in our ideals. We are a "band of brothers"
Antifederalism was led in NY and Va, by a standing Governor and the point in each was perservation of state power. For each state, the AFs tried to get as much power preserved for their state officers as possible. But when it really came down to this Constituion or Nothing, the majority of Americans deicded overwhelmingly that they were Americans and did not want to succeed.
From: RJLipkin at aol.com [mailto:RJLipkin at aol.com]
Sent: Wed 10/19/2005 7:35 AM
To: Calvin Johnson; CONLAWPROF at lists.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: The Founders of the Bill of Rights
But if the demand for a Bill of Rights was a ruse, why did the Anti-Federalists vote to ratify the Constitution? I suppose the more important question is if the Anti-Federalists were a majority of the population, and I remember someone on the List once stating that they were, how did the Constitution ever received enough votes for ratification? What placated them? Why tipped the vote in favor of the Constitution?
Robert Justin Lipkin
Professor of Law
Widener University School of Law
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