Process Paper

     Our topic that we chose was the ratification of the Constitution.  We chose this topic because it is one of the most significant achievements in American history, and that it brought new ideas to a promising new nation.  Because it was so momentous, we believed that there would be many articles of information on this subject.  Also, this topic fits very well into the theme of revolution, reaction, and reform.   It is a very unique conflict because unlike many critical events in American history, the argument over the Constitution did not lead to physical battles.  This is why we think that it is so fascinating. 

     At first, we mainly focused on the struggle between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.  This would help us see how the different people in the nation reacted to the idea of the ratification of the Constitution.  The Federalist Papers, such as those penned by Alexander Hamilton, advocate for the Constitution.  Opposing these views, Anti-Federalist George Mason argues that the Constitution is incomplete without a Bill of Rights.  Besides sources about these conflicts, we also had sources that were about the Constitution's relationship with the Bill of Rights.  The article “The Birth of the Bill of Rights” talked about the problems of the proposed constitution and how the Bill of Rights proposed ways to fix them.  The book James Madison and the Struggle for the Bill of Rights was another useful source where we obtained much information about the crucial events leading to the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  Lastly, we focused on the process of creating the Constitution, which took place at the Philadelphia Convention in 1787.  In the books The Founding and Miracle at Philadelphia, a day-by-day account of the Constitutional Convention is given.  For a more detailed first person record of the events at the convention, we found James Madison's notes that he took while in attendance.

     We broke our website up into sections that highlighted the key ideas of the revolution, reaction and reform of the ratification of The Constitution.  We made the ideas within the sub-pages contrast with each other.  For example, we had the ideas of the Federalists contrast with those of the Anti-Federalists, and the ideas in the Articles of Confederation contrast with those found in the Constitution.  Finally, we had the section on the Bill of Rights be the reform to these contrasting ideas.

     The ratification of the Constitution was a revolutionary event that led to the formation of the new nation.  It eventually set up a strong, functioning government for America, but the journey was a challenge.  In reaction to the proposed constitution, the American people split into two opposing groups called the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists.  The Anti-Federalists opposed the Constitution, with the belief that there were not enough rights for individuals in the nation.  The Federalists believed that there was no need for a Bill of Rights for the Constitution already guaranteed the people’s liberties. To settle the conflicting reactions between the Federalists and the Anti-Federalists, they compromised by creating The Bill of Rights, which ultimately reformed the Constitution.