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to the fact that the first class were able to convert the majority of the third one.
205. Friends of the Constitution.-Mr. Curtis divides these into three classes : (1) A large body of men who recognized in the Constitution the admirable system which it proved to be when put into operation ; (2) men who believed it to be the best attainable government, overlooking defects which they acknowledged, or trusting to the power of amendment; and (3) the mercantile and manufacturing classes, who regarded the commercial and revenue powers with great favor.1
206. Its Enemies. — The same writer divides its enemies into four classes: (1) Those who had always opposed any enlargement of the Federal' system ; (2) those whose consequence as politicians would be diminished by the establishment of a government able to attract to its service the highest classes of talent and character; (3) those who conscientiously believed its provisions and powers dangerous to the rights of the States and to the public liberty ; and (4) those who were opposed to any government, State or National, that would have vigor or energy enough to protect the rights of property, to prevent schemes of plunder in the form of paper money, and to bring about the discharge of public and private debts.
207. Arguments against the Constitution. The old arguments against strengthening the government were all revamped and many new ones invented. But the main objections sprang from the old root, the antagonism in. volved in the dual system inherited from Colonial times. Most Americans now living have thoroughly adjusted the two loyalties and the two patriotisms, but a century ago few had made that adjustment. Morover, National feeling was then weak, State feeling strong. A collection of arguments soberly advanced in opposition to the Constitution could be made, that to-day would be most amusing.
1 History of the Constitution, Vol. II., p. 495. 2 Ibid, Vol. II., p. 496.
208. No Bill of Rights.—Most of the State constitutions contained bills of rights. They consisted of propositions, mainly copied from the great English charters, asserting certain civil rights as belonging to the people. A motion for a committee to prepare such a bill to accompany the Constitution had been lost in the Convention. But when the Constitution came before the people for their ratification, the strongest attack was made at this point. The omission of such a bill was declared a fatal defect. The "little despised things called maxims" were declared to be the real safeguards of freedom. Mr. Hamilton replied to this criticism that bills of rights are by their nature contracts between kings and their subjects, abridgments of prerogative in favor of privilege, reservations of rights not surrendered to the prince ; that they have no application to constitutions professedly founded upon the power of the people and executed by their representatives and servants; that, in a republic, the people surrender nothing; that the preamble of the Constitution is a much better recognition of popular rights than volumes of such aphorisms as commonly composed bills of riguts. It was also contended that the Constitution itself was a bill of rights in every rational sense, and to every useful purpose ; also that the State bills of rights would still be in force, and that they would prove all-sufficient.
209. State Conventions Called.—. The Convention recommended that the Constitution be sent for ratification to State conventions elected by the people, and not to the Legislatures, because it was virtually a National system, and not a confederacy. Besides, conventions called for this special purpose would give a much better opportunity for calm and thorough discussion than the Legislatures. The Legislature of Rhode Island alone refused to comply, but submitted the Constitution to a popular vote, which ccüid not affect the issue one way or the other.
1 The Federalist, No. 84.
210. Conditional Ratification Proposed.—The Convention had scarcely adjourned when there began a most determined attempt to have the ratifications made conditional. More definitely, the plan was to have the State conventions propose
amendments to be referred to a second General Convention, and then ratify the Constitution, provided these amendments were adopted, or at least considered. The supporters of the Constitution said the true plan was to ratify first, and leave amendments to the machinery of the Constitution itself.
The First Ratifications.-Delaware led the way, ratifying unanimously, December 7, 1787. Pennsylvania followed, December 12, with a vote of 46 to 23. Then came New Jersey, the 18th of the same month, with a unanimous vote. Georgia also was unanimous, January 2, 1788. Connecticut ratified the gth of same month by a vote of 128 to 40. The Massachusetts convention came next in order, and there the first determined battle was fought.
212. The Massachusetts Plan.—The Massachusetts convention was the sixth to act. Here the opposition were determined that the Constitution should not go into operation until it had been referred, with amendments, to a second General Convention for revision. At last this plan, which came to be called the “ Massachusetts plan,” was agreed upon : The convention should unconditionally ratify, but recommend to the favorable consideration of Congress certain amendments. Upon this plan a majority was obtained after a month's debate. The vote was taken February 6, 1788, and stood 187 to 168. The friends of the Constitution in several other States overcame the opposition by following the example set by Massachusetts. Without this mode of procedure, it is highly probable that the Constitution would have failed altogether.
213. The Remaining Ratifications.-Maryland voted 63 to 11, April 28 ; South Carolina, 149 to 73, May 23. The New Hampshire Convention at its first session could not come to a decision, but at the second one, June 21, gave 57 votes for and 46 against the Constitution. This was the ninth ratification and made the Constitution valid in respect to the nine States. Virginia gave her approval after a protracted and bitter resistance, June 21, 89 yeas to 79 nays. New York, at the end of a long struggle, and more determined than that in Virginia, July 26, gave the narrow majority of three in a total vote of 57. To secure even this small majority, the friends of the Constitution were compelled to agree to a recommendation that a second Federal Convention should be called, to act upon the amendments that had been or should be proposed. This was the last ratification until the new government had been some months in operation. The first North Carolina Convention, by a decisive vote, refused to ratify until a second Federal Convention should be called ; the second one, November 21, 1789, ratified by a majority of 11. "The Rhode Island ratification was not given until May 29, 1790, and then only by a vote of 34 to 32. As rapidly as they were made, the ratifications were transmitted to Congress.
214. Washington and Ratification.- Washingtoù expressed his 'views as to the scheme to defer fratification in the strongest terms. “Clear I am,” said he, “if another Federal Convention is attempted, that the sentiments of the members will be more discordant or less accommodating than the last. In fine, they will agree on no general plan. General government is now suspended by a thread; I might go further and say it is at an end; and what will be the consequence of a fruitless attempt to amend the one which is offered before it is tried, or of the delay of the attempt, does not, in my opinion, need the gift of prophecy to predict. The Constitution or disunion is before us to choose from. If the first is our election, when the defects of it are experienced, a constitutional door is open for amendments, and may be adopted in a peaceable manner, without tumult or disorder.” Moreover, the popular conviction that he was sure to be chosen to preside over the inauguration of the new government was a great factor. With hin the interests of the people would be safe. Monroe wrote to Jefferson, “Be assured Washington's influence carried this government.”
215. Patrick Henry.- This distinguished orator had refused a seat in the Federal Convention, but accepted one in the Virginia convention called to ratify it, where his course well illustrates the most
determined opposition that was made. “He could not endure,” it has been said, “the thought of a government external to that of Virginia, and yet possessed of the power of direct taxation over the people of the State. He regarded with utter abhorrence the idea of laws binding the people of Virginia by the authority of the people of the United States; and thinking that he saw in the Constitution a purely national and consolidated government, and refusing to see the Federal principle which its advocates declared was incorporated in its system of representation, he shut his eyes resolutely upon all the evils and defects of the Confederation, and denounced the new plan as a monstrous departure from the only safe construction of a Union. He belonged, too, to that school of public men-some of whose prin. ciples in this respect it is vain to question-who considered a bill of rights essential in every republican government that is clothed with powers of direct legislation.” 1
216. Foreshadowings of Political Parties.-In the conflict attending the establishment of the Constitution, the beginnings of the future political parties appeared. They arose out of the absorbing question of the times—the expansion of the National Government. The names “National,” pertaining to a nation, and “Federal,” pertaining to a fædus, federation, or league, justly describe the two parties that divided the country in 1787. These parties survived that struggle, although there was some changing of sides and of names. The Nationalists now assumed the name Federalists, because they favored the ratification of the Federal Constitution, and the Federalists became Anti-federalists, because opposed to such ratification. A few years later believers in loose-construction were called Federalists, while believers in strict-construction called themselves Republicans and Democratic Republicans. Change of name did not imply a necessary change of principle. Hamilton and Madison were Nationalists in 1787, because they favored strengthening the Government; they were Federalists in 1788, because they favored ratifying the Federal Con. stitution; afterwards they separated, the first becoming a Federalist and the second a Democratic Republican, because they did not agree as to the powers of the Government under the Constitution. Again, Patrick Henry was a Federalist in 1787, an Anti-federalist in 1788, and a Federalist again after the Government was put in operation.
217. Course of History Reviewed. In the preceding history two things stand out with prominence. One is that it was the ratifications of the State conventions, speaking the voice of the people, which gave the Constitution all its binding force. Or, as C.-J. Marshall said: “From these conventions the Constitution derives its whole author
1 Curtis : History of the Constitution, Vol. II., P. 554.