Jensen, Merrill (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Delaware, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut
I. Commentaries on the Constitution, 28 September-26 December 1787, pp. 133-161
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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