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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

Organization,   pp. 10-13


Page 12

(3) Newspaper items consisting of ongoing debates that repeat
arguments, examples of which are printed in the volumes relating to
ratification.
(4) Photographic copies of petitions with the names of signers.
(5) Pamphlets that circulated primarily within one state and which
are not printed in either Ratification of the Constitution by the States
or in Commentaries on the Constitution.
(6) Miscellaneous documents such as town records, election certi-
ficates, pay vouchers and financial records, attendance records, "recol-
lections" of past events, etc.
Commentaries on the Constitution: Public and Private
The public debate and private commentary about a new government
began before the Constitutional Convention met in the spring of
1787, continued during the Convention, and intensified after the
Constitution was published in September 1787. The various forms
of the public debate-newspapers, pamphlets, and broadsides which
circulated in more than one state and throughout the nation-were
read and referred to by men in and out of legislatures and conven-
tions. Thus the Constitution was debated on a regional and on the
national level as well as within each state. The purpose of these
volumes is to place the ratification of the Constitution in this broad
context.
These volumes also contain certain private letters. Most private
letters were concerned with ratification in particular states and have
been placed in Ratification of the Constitution by the States. How-
ever, other private letters were published and widely debated, gave
mens' opinions of the Constitution in general, contained reports of
ratification in more than one state, or discussed the means of securing
or preventing ratification of the Constitution with or without amend-
ments. Such documents, public and private, are an essential matrix
of the history of ratification.
The documents are arranged in chronological order and are num-
bered consecutively throughout the volumes. A few of these docu-
ments are also printed in Ratification of the Constitution by the
States because of their significance in the state of origin.
Amendments to the Constitution: From Ratification by the States
to the Proposal of a Bill of Rights by Congress
The purpose of this selected group of documents is to bridge the gap
between the ratification of the Constitution in each state and the pro-
12
ORGANIZATION


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