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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
(1976)

C. Public and private commentaries on the Constitution, 10 October-10 November 1787,   pp. 180-223


Page 180

II. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION
C. PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COMMENTARIES
ON THE CONSTITUTION
10 October-10 November 1787
Between 10 October and the election of Convention delegates on
6 November, the terms "Federalist" and "Antifederalist" were as
commonly used as "Republican" and "Constitutionalist." During this
period Pennsylvanians reiterated the Federalist and Antifederalist
arguments which had been presented during the first week of October
in the "Address of the Seceding Assemblymen" (I:B above); "Centinel"
I (II:A above); and James Wilson's speech in the State House Yard
(II:A above).
The Federalists controlled most of Pennsylvania's newspapers and
the bulk of the material published supported the Constitution. How-
ever, the Antifederalists published more major items during this
period, principally in the Independent Gazetteer. Five major Anti-
federalist pieces were published on a single day-17 October. They
were: "A Democratic Federalist" and "The Chronicles of Early Times"
(both in II:C below); "An Old Whig" II (CC:170); "Montezuma"
(Mfm:Pa. 140); and a pamphlet by John Nicholson (Mfm:Pa. 141).
Other important items were "M.C." 27 October and "An Officer of the
Late Continental Army," 6 November (both in II:C below); "Centinel"
II (CC:190); and "An Old Whig" I, III-V (CC:157, 181, 202, 224).
"Centinel" II, "An Old Whig" IV-V, and "An Officer of the Late
Continental Army" were also printed as broadsides (for still other
Antifederalist items, see Mfm:Pa. 154, 162, 164). Pennsylvania print-
ers also reprinted major Antifederalist pieces from the New York
Journal, such as "Cato" II; "Brutus" I; and "A Republican to James
Wilson" I (CC:153, 178, 196).
While the Antifederalists published more major items than the
Federalists, the latter had the advantage in the great number of squibs
and short items containing optimistic reports of the prospect for rati-
fication in various states (for examples, see Pennsylvania Gazette,
10 October, CC:150 A-L, and CC:Vol. I, Appendix). Moreover, Fed-
eralist newspapers were filled with reports of actions and sentiments
favoring the Constitution reprinted from out-of-state newspapers (for
examples, see CC:123, 156).
The principal writings by Pennsylvania Federalists during this
period were "One of the People," 17 October and "Wat Tyler, A
Proclamation," 24 October (both in II:C below); "Federal Constitu-
tion," 10 October (CC:150-B); and pamphlets by Noah Webster, signed
"A Citizen of America" (17 October, Mfm:Pa. 142) and by Pelatiah
Webster, signed "A Citizen of Philadelphia" (18 October, CC:125-B).
180


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