The Ratification of the Federal Constitution in Pennsylvania
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The original states formed a union through the process of a referendum wherein the people elected representatives to a statewide convention authorized by their government to consider the newly proposed constitution Pennsylvania was the first state to initiate the ratification process by calling a convention of the people immediately. Debate enveloped the campaign to elect delegates pledged to either support or oppose ratification. The divisions of the electorate into socio-economic, geographical, nationality, and religious groupings predetermined the serious political conflict which accompanied the campaign of 1787 in Pennsylvania. Surprisingly, the highly politicized issues raised during the ratification process became secondary to the mechanics of the campaign itself. The way in which the Federalists chose to promote their new government surfaced as the more pressing theme. The majority party's tactics resembled repressive measures of a despotic aristocracy to the Antifeder'alists. A less simplistic interpretation, however, indicated that the battle for ratification was quite democratic. The hearty partisanship, in fact, corroborated the democratic spirit of the campaign.