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

II. The debate over the Constitution in Pennsylvania, 17 September-11 December 1787,   pp. [127]-129

Page 128

Pennsylvanians began lining up in support of and in opposition to
the Constitution as soon as the Constitutional Convention adjourned.
The first public meeting to support the Constitution was held in
Philadelphia on 20 September. On the 26th the first major attack
upon the Constitution was published in the Freeman's Journal. The
same day Tench Coxe published "An American Citizen" Number I,
the first major defense of the Constitution, in the Independent
Gazetteer. On 2 October sixteen of the nineteen assemblymen who
refused to attend the Assembly on 28-29 September in an attempt to
prevent the calling of a state convention published an address de-
fending their action. They denounced the violence used to secure
a quorum and the calling of a convention before the Confederation
Congress had tiansmitted the Constitution to the states officially.
They concluded the address by outlining their objections to the Con-
stitution. The address was reprinted twelve times in Pennsylvania and
sixteen times from New Hampshire to Virginia.
On 5 October Samuel Bryan published the first of the "Centinel"
essays in the Independent Gazetteer. The essays of "Centinel" were
the most outspoken attacks by a Pennsylvanian on the motives of the
members of the Constitutional Convention and on the nature of the
Constitution, and were used by opponents of the Constitution from
Massachusetts to Georgia, as well as in Pennsylvania. On 6 October,
the day after the first "Centinel" appeared, James Wilson delivered
a speech in the State House Yard that became the "official" Fed-
eralist interpretation of the Constitution throughout the United
Meanwhile, Pennsylvanians were campaigning for the annual As-
sembly election on 9 October, a campaign which was looked upon, in
part at least, as a referendum on the Constitution. The Federalists
denounced the nineteen assemblymen who had seceded from the As-
sembly and all other candidates who might oppose the Constitution.
Nevertheless, fifteen of the seventeen seceders eligible for reelection
were returned by the voters, and the opposition gained a few additional
seats, although the Federalists retained control of the new Assembly.
The campaign for seats in the state Convention began as soon as

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