Reflection Essay assignment: Pauline Maier, Ratification


Book title: Ratification

Author: Pauline Majer

Reflection Essay assignment:

Pauline Maier, Ratification

You will write a 1000-word reflection essay on Pauline Maier’s book, Ratification. Your essay should not summarize the book, but should answer both of the following questions and place the book in context of the development of American Constitutional law. Your essay must be documented and thoroughly supported with Turabian (recommended book on the syllabus) format footnotes and a bibliography. I want you to demonstrate that you have read and thought deeply about Dr. Maier’s book, therefore there is no need for you to consult any outside sources for this essay.

This reflection essay is worth 4% of your final semester grade.

On what grounds were opponents of the Constitution opposed to ratification?

How did the opponents of the Constitution’s ratification help mold American Constitutional development?



The Constitution’s ratification was far from assured when it was drafted in the summer of 1787. It still required ratification by at least nine of the thirteen state legislatures. The collapse of the Articles of Confederation demonstrated the necessity for a new form of governance in the US. However, some people were concerned that the Constitution gave the central government too much authority[1]. The first draft of the Constitution lacked a Bill of Rights, proclaimed all state laws to be subordinate to federal laws, and established the presidency as a kinglike position. For instance, James Madison fought against a Bill of Rights in the Federalist Papers and the Philadelphia Convention, believing that it would limit the rights of the citizens. However, dissenters such as George Mason started a campaign against the Constitution following the Philadelphia Convention, refusing to sign it. It expanded to include Revolutionary War heroes such as Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry, who were against the Constitution’s power centralization. The Anti-Federalists was the name given to the different opponents of the new Constitution over time. The “Anti-Federalist Papers” were a collection of speeches, articles, and pamphlets published by them. Despite their failure to prevent the Constitution’s adoption, the Anti-Federalists’ efforts were crucial in the drafting and execution of the Bill of Rights[2]. While every Anti-Federalist had their own ideas on how a new US Constitution should be written, they did agree on a few issues.

At first, Anti-federalists feared that the national government had too much power[3].  They thought that the new Constitution concentrated much too much authority in Congress’ hands to the states’ expense.  One group opposed the Constitution, believing that a stronger federal government would undermine state sovereignty.  Small farmers, merchants, landowners, and laborers were among the Anti-Federalists, and they supported a weak national government, the responsibility of officeholders to public majorities, a strong state government, direct election of government officials, and the enhancement of individual rights with regard to national politics……………for help with this assignment contact us via email Address:

[1] Maier, Pauline. Ratification: the people debate the Constitution, 1787-1788. Simon and Schuster, 2010, p. 93.

[2] Maier, Pauline. Ratification, p. 56.

[3] Maier, p. 224.

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