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How did the Federalists win ratification?

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Quick Answer

Federalists Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay wrote a series of 85 essays that they initially published in New York newspapers to win the approval of New Yorkers for the new Constitution. The Federalists collected these papers into two volumes. They explained the Constitution and refuted the Anti-federalist critics.

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Full Answer

Article VII of the Constitution requires it be passed by a minimum of nine states to become law, but the founders knew it would only gain real power with the ratification of all 13 colonies. Delaware was the first state to ratify it in December 1787. New Hampshire was the ninth state to ratify it in June of the following year.

New York and Virginia had not yet ratified the Constitution and were locked in debate. Loss of these two prosperous states would cause geographic division and reduce the new nation's vitality. Finally, the Federalists prevailed, winning these two states.

North Carolina only approved the Constitution once the Federalists agreed to the Bill of Rights. In 1790, Rhode Island formed a ratifying convention. This last, small state faced being a foreign country if it did not ratify the Constitution. Upon counting the votes, Rhode Island became the 13th state to ratify the Constitution but only by two votes.

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