The Federalist Papers
During 1788 and 1789, there were 85 essays published in several New York State newspapers, designed to convince New York and Virginia voters to ratify the Constitution. The three people who are generally acknowledged for writing these essays are Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay. Since Hamilton, Madison, and Jay were considered Federalists, this series of essays became known as The Federalist Papers . One of the most famous Federalist Papers is Federalist No. 10, which was written by Madison and argues that the checks and balances in the Constitution prevent the government from falling victim to factions. Anti-Federalists did not support ratification. Madison also wrote Federalist No. 51, under the name "Publius" or "Public. " He argues here that each branch of government would not be dependent on other branches and, thus, forming factions within the national government. That way, the government can work in the best interests of the people and not each other.
Many individuals, such as Patrick Henry, George Mason, and Richard Henry Lee, were Anti-Federalists. The Anti-Federalists had several complaints with the Constitution. One of their biggest was that the Constitution did not provide for a Bill of Rights protecting the people. They also thought the Constitution gave too much power to the federal government and too little to individual states. A third complaint of the Anti-Federalists was that senators and the president were not directly elected by the people, and the House of Representatives was elected every two years instead of annually. On December 7, 1787, Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution. The vote was unanimous, 30-0. Pennsylvania followed on December 12, and New Jersey ratified on December 18, also in a unanimous vote. By summer 1788, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, and New York had ratified the Constitution, and it went into effect. On August 2, 1788, North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution without amendments, but it relented and ratified it a year later.