Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Shaping A Federal Union

Research Topics

Ratifying the Constitution


What arguments did Americans offer as they debated ratification of the Constitution?

The U.S. Constitution could not go into effect until at least nine states ratified, or approved, the document. Each state held a convention to debate ratification. One delegate to the Virginia convention was James Madison, who had authored much of the document. He faced considerable opposition from Patrick Henry and other delegates suspicious of the Constitution and its supporters. In the end, Virginians ratified the Constitution by a vote of 89 to 79.


Choose from the following titles:

  1. Madison's Defense of the Constitution at the Virginia Convention (1788)
  2. Arguments Against Ratification of the Constitution at the Virginia Convention (1788)
  3. Patrick Henry on the Bill of Rights (June 16, 1788)
  4. James Madison, "father of the Constitution," a miniature portrait by Charles Willson Peale (1783)
  5. Sketch, James Madison, 1783
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