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Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788
By Pauline Maier. ISBN 978-0-684-86854-7. Copyright 2010. Hardcover with 589 pages including appendix and index, plus 16 pages of glossy black and white illustrations.
Winner of the 2011 George Washington Book Prize.
When the delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in September 1787, the new Constitution they had written was no more than a proposal. Elected conventions in a least nine of the thirteen states would have to ratify it before it could take effect and there was reason to doubt whether that would happen. Some denounced the Constitution for threatening the liberty that Americans had won at great cost in the Revolutionary War and one group of fiercely patriotic opponents even burned the document in a raucous public demonstration on the Fourth of July! It was a dramatic yearlong battle over ratification before the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Virginia, and New York agreed.