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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H. (ed.) / Commentaries on the Constitution, public and private. Volume 5: 1 April to 9 May 1788
17 (1995)

[Cover],   pp. [unnumbered]-[ii]


The Documentary History oJ the Ratification of the
Constitution is a research tool of remarkable power.
The volumes are encyclopedic, consisting of manu-
script and printed documents compiled from
hundreds of sources, thoroughly annotated and in-
dexed. The Documentary History is an unrivalled ref-
erence work for historical and legal scholars, librar-
ians, and students of the United States Constitution.
Commentaries on the Constitution: Public and Private,
a six-volume series, is an integral but autonomous
part of The Documentary History. The documents in
this series present the day-by-day regional and na-
tional debate over the Constitution that took place
in newspapers, magazines, broadsides, pamphlets,
and private letters. Volume 5 of Commentaries covers
the six-week period from 1 April through 9 May
1788. During this time, Maryland, South Carolina,
and New York elected delegates to their ratifying
conventions. Federalists won substantial majorities
in the first two; Antifederalists won a two-thirds ma-
jority in New York. Federalists believed an effort was
underway to have the Maryland Convention adjourn
without ratifying the Constitution. They enlisted
George Washington in an effort to avert this political
disaster which would have deferred to the Virginia
Convention where the chances of ratification were
uncertain. With the ratification of the Constitution
by Maryland on 26 April, Federalists reversed a
trend that had built up some momentum for Anti-
federalists.
This fifth volume of Commentaries contains ap-
proximately 110 documents. Correspondence con-
sists of forty-two letters, including thirty-three let-
ters by Federalists, five by Antifederalists, and four
by diplomats (two French, one Spanish, and one En-
glish). About forty-five individual, non-serialized
newspaper items also are printed in this volume, in-
cluding the dissent of three members of the Mas-
sachusetts Convention, a Federalist allegorical piece
entitled New Breeches, Elbridge Gerry's response to
the Maryland Landholder, and the amendments pro-
posed in the Maryland Convention.
The last two numbers of The Federalist (Nos. 76
and 77) that originated in newspapers also are
printed in this volume-the remaining eight essays
by "Publius" appeared for the first time in the sec-
ond volume of the book edition published on 28
May. Within a one-week span (4-10 April), four ma-
jor Antifederalist series ended with the publication
of the fourth address of Luther Martin to the citi-
zens of Maryland in Baltimore, the eighteenth essay
by "Centinel" (Samuel Bryan) and the twelfth essay
by "Philadelphiensis" (Benjamin Workman) both in
Philadelphia, and the sixteenth essay by "Brutus" in
New York City. Between 12 April and 1 May all nine
of Federalist John Dickinson's "Fabius" essays were
published in Philadelphia.
Of prime importance during the period covered
(continued on back flap)


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