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Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
(1978)

I. Commentaries on the Constitution, 28 September-26 December 1787,   pp. 133-161


Page 133

I
COMMENTARIES ON THE CONSTITUTION
28 September-26 December 1787
Between September and December 1787, the three New Jersey news-
papers, compared with those of Pennsylvania and New York, printed
relatively little of the debate over the Constitution. Furthermore, most
of the material they published consisted of Federalist items reprinted
from out-of-state newspapers, particularly those of Philadelphia.
The principal Federalist items reprinted in New Jersey were: "An
American Citizen" I, III, IV (CC: 100-A, 112, 183-A); "Federal Con-
stitution" (CC: 150-B); James Wilson's speech in the State House
Yard (CC: 134); "Foreign Spectator" (CC: 124); "Plain Truth" (CC:
231-B); Roger Sherman and Oliver Ellsworth's letter to the Governor
of Connecticut (CC: 192); "A Countryman" II (CC:284); and Benjamin
Franklin's final speech in the Constitutional Convention (CC:77 F-G).
New Jersey newspapers also reprinted news items and squibs from
out-of-state newspapers which created the impression that the Con-
stitution would be ratified in other states with little difficulty. Among
other things, news reports gave accounts of public meetings supporting
the Constitution, of the passage of acts and resolutions calling state
conventions to consider the Constitution, and of the debates in the
Pennsylvania Convention. Newspapers also reported that Delaware
and Pennsylvania had ratified the Constitution.
Some squibs contained rumors that such prominent men as George
Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Henry Laurens supported the
Constitution, while others praised these men, especially Washington
(CC:87, 96, 101, 150-F, 150-J, 151-B, 233-B, 251 and CC:Vol. I, Appen-
dix, passim). A few squibs attacked George Mason and Elbridge Gerry,
delegates to the Constitutional Convention who had refused to sign
the Constitution, and likened the opponents of the Constitution to
Shaysites (CC:94, 150-J, 171).
The state's newspapers printed only three substantial items written
by New Jersey Federalists: "Cassius," 31 October; "A Jerseyman,"
6 November; and an anonymous reply to George Mason's objections
to the Constitution, 19, 26 December (all I below). Each maintained
that the Constitution would promote stability at home and respect-
ability abroad.


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