Ratifying the U.S. Constitution DBQ

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The U. S. Constitution was a milestone in our countries history. While it is fully integrated into our society today at the time it was written it was incredibly controversial. Its ratification was precluded by many arguments about whether it was a good fit for our country. The Constitution of the United States was fiercely debated; states rights were a hot topic, while economics and individual rights were the most controversial. Whether the Constitution was needed to tie the states together or whether it gave to much power to the federal government was intensely discussed.

In a letter written by George Washington to John Jay, Washington discusses how the Articles of Confederation did not have a strong enough central government and how the States would never come to an agreement. In his opinion a stronger central government was needed for anything to ever get done. Another group of people who shared this view was the Federalists led by Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton and the Federalists were strong supporters of the Constitution and fought for its ratification, they believed that a central government was needed to preserve the Union.

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However on the flip side of this there were the Anti-Federalists with Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. In a speech given by Patrick Henry he argued that a Constitution would take the states independence away from them. This was a common view for the Anti-Federalists whose arguments stemmed from the fact that they had just fought a war to free themselves from tyranny and they did not want to destroy the work of the Revolution Some U. S. itizens wanted the Constitution to help regulate and relive economic pressure while others perceived it as a way for congress to make themselves rich. The Massachusetts Sentinel, a Massachusetts based newspaper, made a point of saying how poor the economy was doing and how it needed a protecting federal government. This was a very Federalist view with which Hamilton agreed. He published his Report on Manufactures and his Report on the Public Credit.

Both of these documents said that the economy needed intervention by the government which the Constitution would allow it to do. Amos Singletree, a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Ratification Convention, disagreed with the notion that government intervention was needed in our economy. He thought that all the small, average joe people would be left behind while the men in Congress would work it so that all the money went into their hands. He was worried that the smooth talking government would trick people like him out of their money and their individual rights.

Individual rights were under the biggest scrutiny by the American people, whether the Constitution would inhibit their unalienable rights was the cause of much controversy. Mercy Otis Warren in her Observations on the New Federal Constitution and on the Federal and State Conventions , states her fear that the Constitution does not provide security to individual rights and that the executive and legislative braches are to closely combined. Thomas Jefferson and the Anti-Federalists were big advocators of this idea.

They believed that the Constitution would strip them of all their individual rights that they just gained from Britain. They were fearful that since the Constitution no where listed rights guaranteed to the people that it would give the central government more power than Britain ever had. Jonathon Elliot recognized the Anti-Federalists complaints and stated that certain amendments and changes be made to the Constitution to calm the fears of loss of individual rights.

These amendments and changes are known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights contains all the unalienable rights of the people and lists their liberties. It is with these first ten amendments that the Constitution is finally ratified. The ratification of the Constitution of the United States was a long road which eventually ended in success. Although it ended with success The major arguments over states rights, economics and individual rights caused much controversy and debate in the States.

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Ratifying the U.S. Constitution DBQ. (2017, Mar 16). Retrieved from


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