Ratification of the United States Constitution - Essay Example

Published: 2021-08-16
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Carnegie Mellon University
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Foremost, ratification denotes to the official way of confirming something and is mostly through voting. Besides, regarding the constitution, it is validating a proposed bill to become law. United States constitutions were enacted during 1787 summer by the convention of delegates from a dozen of states. The United States constitution ratification sparked numerous debates between 1787 and 1787 (Kaminski & Saladino, 1986). During the ratification period, some people favored the constitution and those who opposed it. They were referred as federalists and antifederalists respectively. This paper seeks to explore the controversial issues that were raised during ratification of the United States Constitution as well as how they divided the nation.

Several issues created the controversies during the ratification of the constitution because there are those opposed it while others were supporting it. For instance, antifederalists argued that the formation of the constitution be illegal. Ideally, the people who contributed to the debate about the constitution opined that the release of the document was illegal. The issue raised a lot of ideological among the people in the United States. Antifederalists asserted that the delegates sent to the constitution convention had exceeded the limit of the work they were supposed to perform. More controversies arose during the ratification of the constitution when the articles that required to be abolished was amended as opined by federalists.

Secondly, centralization of power brought much disagreement during the ratification era. For example, antifederalists were convinced that new constitution gave all the powers to the federal government (Madison, 1787). Controversies arose because the articles of confederation gave the state sovereignty all the respect it deserved. In fact, the federal government could request the people to perform crucial things like money to pay the cost incurred during the war. The ratification of the constitution sought to quash the powers of the public which left the sovereignty of the people to the national government. Antifederalist rejected the federalist ideologies who argued that centralization be important since it would help the federal government handle all the difficulties faced by United States (Mason, 1972). Thirdly, the executive branch happens to be a dominant issue that brought controversies during the ratification of the constitution. The antifederalists were annoyed by the powers given to the executive branch which had not existed in the confederation articles. They asserted that the president would be too powerful because he was given the veto powers as well as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Another issue that brought controversies is the slavery phenomenon because the ratified constitution sought to give the slaves electoral powers like the United States citizens (Hunt, 1864). The northern states feared the influence that might come from the slaves after being given the electoral powers. The farmers of the constitution counted the slaves as three-fifths of a person for elections. Ideally, the opponents of slavery thought that the electoral process would be compromised. The last controversial issue during the ratification of the USA constitution is the bill of rights. Moreover, antifederalist argued that the drafted constitution only explain the procedures under which the federal government would operate (Johnson, 2011). They were disturbed by the constitution not providing the rights that would be exercised by the states. The pressure from the antifederalist made the federalists agree to attach the bill of rights at the end of the constitution after the voting exercise for validation.

The above issues brought numerous ideological conflicts between the antifederalists and the federalists since they supported different opinions on the ratification of the constitution. For instance, the slave issues came to haunt the federalists because many salves and refugees became very active in politics (Sylla, Wright & Cowen, 2009). Their swelling numbers motivated them to ask for more rights from the federal government. The laws passed to give the refugees and slaves rights to vote led to heightened conflict which made them leave for their countries after Americans grew more hostile towards them. Moreover, the powers conferred to the executive branch was misused by the president since he became an absolute dictator. He could not attend to all the grievances raised by the Americans, and therefore most leaders became rebellious on whatever the president suggested.

Similarly, the federalists and antifederalist turned against each other since they had different ideological differences. Extreme division in the whole United States was witnessed during the 1789-1799 (Scherr, 1995). Arguably, French revolution became radical where European nations waged war with it. The United States chose to remain neutral since it thought that they would experience economic disaster. Moreover, the illegal document of constitution destroyed the good relationship with other states since it did not favor their foreign policies. Ultimately, there was incessant division throughout the nation since there was no constitutional protection of political rights as it were in the confederation articles.

In conclusion, the ratification of the United States Constitution brought a lot of adverse effects to the citizens as well as the government. The ratification also affected the foreign policies of other nation states which consequently ruined their good relationship with the United States. Eventually, the sovereignty of the citizens was compromised by the ratification of the constitution because it deprived them numerous rights.


Sylla, R., Wright, R. E., & Cowen, D. J. (2009). Alexander Hamilton, central banker: crisis management during the US financial panic of 1792. Business History Review, 83(1), 61-86.

Kaminski, J. P., & Saladino, G. J. (Eds.). (1986). The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Volume XVI: Commentaries on the Constitution, Public and Private: Volume 4, 1 February to 31 March 1788 (Vol. 4). Wisconsin Historical Society.

Mason, A. T. (1972). The States Rights Debate: Antifederalism and the Constitution. Oxford University Press, USA. The list, K. K. (1983). The Role of William Cobbett in Philadelphia Party Press, 1794-1799. Journalism and Communication Monographs, 82.

Scherr, A. (1995). " Vox Populi" versus the Patriot President: Benjamin Franklin Bache's Philadelphia Aurora and John Adams (1797). Pennsylvania History: A Journal of Mid-Atlantic Studies, 62(4), 503-531.

Hunt, C. H. (1864). Life of Edward Livingston. D. Appleton.

Johnson, R. A. (2011). A Revolutionary Dinner: US Diplomacy toward Saint Domingue, 1798

1801. Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 9(1), 114-141.

Madison, J. (1787). The federalist no. 10. November, 22(1787), 1787-88.


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