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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H. (ed.) / Commentaries on the Constitution, public and private. Volume 6: 10 May to 13 September 1788
18 (1995)


cate political maneuvering that developed in the at-
tempt to defeat the ratification of the Constitution
and, once the Constitution was adopted, to obtain
amendments. One series of seventeen letters illus-
trates the attempt of New York Antifederalists to
coordinate the opposition to the Constitution in
states that had not yet ratified the Constitution.
Other Antifederalists, such as Nathan Dane, Mercy
Warren, Richard Henry Lee, Charles Pettit, El-
bridge Gerry, and Samuel Osgood, also wrote per-
ceptive and revealing letters.
The documents in this volume suggest the political
complexities involved in ratifying the Constitution,
the sense of awe at what America had accomplished
by drafting and adopting a new form of government
using reason and accommodation instead of force
and intimidation, the rivalry among states over the
location of the new federal capital, the continuing
demand for amendments, and the importance of
George Washington as the inevitable first president
under the Constitution. Federalists looked forward
to the auspicious beginning of a new nation under
its new national constitution, and Antifederalists an-
ticipated amendments to the Constitution, especially
a bill of rights.
RICHARD LEFFLER have been editing The Doc-
umentary History of the Ratification of the Consti-
tution since 1970. CHARLES H. SCHOENLEBER
joined the staff in 1987. Dr. Kaminski is also
the author of George Clinton: Yeoman Politician
of the New Republic (1993); editor of A Necessary
Evil? Slavery and the Debate over the Constitution
(1995); and co-editor of The Constitution and
the States (1988), A Great and Good Man: George
Washington in the Eyes of His Contemporaries
(1989), and The Bill of Rights and the States
(1992). He and Dr. Leffler have co-edited Fed-
eralists and Antifederalists: The Debate over the
Ratification of the Constitution (1989).

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