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

D. The election of convention delegates, 6 November 1787,   pp. 224-265


Page 224

II. DEBATE OVER CONSTITUTION
D. THE ELECTION OF CONVENTION DELEGATES
6 November 1787
Federalists and Antifederalists campaigned strenuously. They wrote
innumerable newspaper articles as well as some broadsides and pamph-
lets. Most of the items did not refer specifically to the election. In-
stead, writers continued to attack opposing leaders and their positions
on the Constitution, and so too did the meetings held to nominate
slates of candidates. On 22 October, a Northampton County Federalist
meeting voiced strong support of the Constitution and attacked the
assemblymen who had seceded from the previous Assembly (II:D
below). In Philadelphia, some leading Federalists required candidates
to commit themselves to vote for the Constitution before placing
their names bn the Federalist ticket (Pennsylvania Herald, 7 November
and William Shippen, Jr. to Thomas Lee Shippen, 7-18 November,
both II:D below).
As most political observers predicted, a large majority of the Con-
vention delegates elected on 6 November supported the Constitution.
James Madison reported from New York that he had been informed
that the delegates elected "reduced the adoption of the plan in that
state to absolute certainty and by a greater majority than the most
sanguine advocates had calculated" (to Edmund Randolph, 18 Novem-
ber, CC:270). On 21 November, the second day of the Convention, the
Pennsylvania Gazette estimated that two-thirds of the members were
Federalists (Mfm:Pa. 235).
Despite the Federalist victory, Antifederalists were heartened by the
election of some of their principal leaders, and later two Antifederalist
newspapers declared that more votes were cast for Antifederalist than
for Federalist candidates (Independent Gazetteer and Freeman's Journal,
5 December, both II:D below).
Only four assemblymen were elected to the Convention, but all were
Antifederalist leaders and all voted against ratification. They were
Joseph Powell of Bedford and Robert Whitehill of Cumberland coun-
ties who had been members of the 11th Assembly, and Joseph Hiester
of Berks and William Findley of Westmoreland counties who had been
members of the 11th Assembly and were reelected to the 12th As-
sembly on 9 October.
Three members of the Supreme Executive Council whose terms ex-
pired on 8 October were elected to the Convention. They were William
Brown of Dauphin, Jonathan Hoge of Cumberland, and John Whitehill
of Lancaster counties. John Baird of Westmoreland and John Smilie
of Fayette counties were reelected to the Council on 9 October and
elected to the Convention. All five men were Antifederalists and all
voted against ratification.
224


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