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on September 17, 1787, a majority of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention approved the documents over which they had labored since May.
Ratification was not a foregone conclusion. Able, articulate men used newspapers, pamphlets, and public meetings to debate ratification of the Constitution.
Those known as the anti-federalists opposed the Constitution for a variety of reasons.
Some continued to argue that the delegates in Philadelphia had exceeded their congressional authority by replacing the Articles of Confederation with an illegal new document
Others complained that the delegates in Philadelphia represented only the well-born few and consequently had crafted a document that served their special interests and reserved the franchise for the propertied classes.
Those who favored ratification, the Federalists, fought back, convinced that rejection of the Constitution would result in anarchy and civil strife.
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