Essay On Ratification Of The Federal Constitution

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North Carolina’s Ratification of the Federal Constitution: A Tale of Trials and Triumphs
Frustration was mounting. As he sat in the state’s ratifying convention and listened to the roll call of their membership, William Richardson Davie worried that his federalist movement in the state of North Carolina would die a slow and agonizing death before him. Davie, an ardent proponent of federalism and its promotion of a strong national and central government, had spent nearly a year arguing and debating the necessity and importance of ratifying the newly proposed federal Constitution. One by one, as the names were read aloud, Davie realized the composition of the convention’s membership favored those who opposed the federal Constitution.
A year earlier, during the months of May through September, 1787, delegates from twelve of the thirteen states (Rhode Island chose not to attend) met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to discuss the current governing document, the Articles of Confederation. Enacted in March 1781, the Articles of Confederation was an agreement which allowed for the separate and independent thirteen states to establish the United States of America as a confederation - or an association - of the thirteen sovereign states. With the ratification of the Articles, the United States became, not a government, but rather a “firm league of friendship.” This amalgamation of sovereign states attempted, through the Articles, to ensure unity and strength in numbers during the American Revolutionary War, but with its lack of power and authority, it succeeded in creating a weak and ineffectual central government.
For Davie and the other delegates meeting in Philadelphia, the intent had been to deliberate over the Articles’ inadequac...

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...t with the extension of individual liberty and states’ rights. Federalist were also concerned with other issues, for instance, public debt and the inability of the state to repay it; limited commerce and private industry; and the fact that Congress under the Articles of Confederation could do little to address any of these issues.
William Davie knew that with the unfortunate and unequal number of Federalist and Antifederalist present at the ratifying convention, he would have to take a prominent role in defending the actions taken in Philadelphia the previous year. Since the Federalist consisted of only thirty-one percent of the convention’s membership, Davie shouldered the burden of defending the Constitution and upholding the Federalist cause.
Thus began two weeks of debate beginning with the initial language of the Constitution’s preamble: “We the People…”

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