The Constitutional Convention debates and the Anti-Federalist Papers

Papers, leaflets and discussions in the constitutional congress dealing with the same topics as Federalist Papers from another point of view


In 1778 the states debated the merits of the proposed Constitution. Along with the Federalist Papers, the Anti-Federalist papers documented the political context in which the Constitution was born. The Federalist Papers defended the concept of a strong central government with their arguments in favor of the constitution. The Anti-Federalists saw in the constitution threats to rights and liberties so recently won from England. The authors did not only discuss the issues of the constitution, many general problems of politics were also put under debate; Should the members of the government be elected by direct vote of the people?, Does slavery have any place in a nation dedicated to liberty? etc.

The Federal convention of 1787

  1. James Madison to George Washington (April 16, 1787)
  2. The Virginia Plan (May 29) - (Edmund Randolph)
  3. Debate on Representation (May 31) - (Roger Sherman, Elbridge Gerry, George Mason, James Wilson, James Madison)
  4. Debate of Executive Power (June 1) - (Wilson, John Rutledge, Sherman, Gerry, Randolph)
  5. Opposition to Executive Salaries (June 2) - (Benjamin Franklin)
  6. Opposition to a Unitary Executive (June 4) - (Mason)
  7. Electing Representatives (June 6) - Sherman, Gerry, Wilson, Madison, Mason, John Dickinson)
  8. Debate on Method of Electing Senators (June 7) - (Sherman, Charles Pinckney, Dickinson, Wilson, George Read, Madison, Gerry)
  9. Debate on Veto of State Laws (June 8) - (Pinckney, Madison, Hugh Williamson, Gerry, Sherman, Wilson, Dickinson, Gunning Bedford, Pierce Butler)
  10. The New Jersey Plan (June 15) - (William Paterson)
  11. Debate on The New Jersey Plan (June 16) - (Paterson, Wilson, Randolph)
  12. Plan for National Government (June 18) - (Alexander Hamilton)
  13. Opposition to The New Jersey Plan (June 19) - (Madison)
  14. Debate on Federalism (June 21) - (William S. Johnson, Wilson, Madison)
  15. Length of Term in Office for Senators (June 26) - (Madison, Sherman, Read, Hamilton)
  16. Debate on State Equality in the Senate (June 28-July 2) - (Madison, Johnson, Oliver Ellsworth, Wilson, Rufus King, Hamilton, Bedford, Gouverneur Morris)
  17. Majority Rule the Basic Republican Principle (July 5, 13, 14) - (Madison, Wilson)
  18. Election and Term of Office of the National Executive (July 17, 19) - (Morris, Sherman, Wilson, Pinckney, Mason, Madison, Gerry)
  19. The Judiciary, the Veto, and Separation of Powers (July 21) - (Wilson, Nathaniel Gorham, Ellsworth, Madison, Mason, Gerry, Caleb Strong, Morris, Luther Martin)
  20. Appointment of Judges (July 21) - (Madison, Pinckney, Randolph, Ellsworth, Morris, Gerry, Mason)
  21. Method of Ratification (July 23) - (Manson, Ellisworth, Madison)
  22. Election of Executive (July 24, 25) - (Gerry, Strong, Williamson, Ellsworth, Wilson, Madison)
  23. First Draft of the Constitution (August 6) - (Committee on Ditail; Rutledge, Chairman)
  24. Qualifications of Suffrage (August 7, 10) - (Wilson, Morris, Ellsworth, Pinckney, Manson, Madison, Franklin, John F. Mercer, Rutledge)
  25. Citizenship for Immigrants (August 9) - (Morris,Ellsworth, Mason, Madison, Butler, Franklin, Randolph, Wilson)
  26. Executive Veto Power (August 15) - (Morris,Sherman, Wilson)
  27. Slavery and Constitution (August 21, 22) - (Martin, Rutledge, Ellsworth, Pinckney, Abraham Baldwin, Wilson, Gerry, Dickson, Williamson, King, John Langdon)
  28. Election and Powers of the president (Sept. 4, 5, 6) - (Morris, Maison, Butler, Pinckney, Williamson, Baldwin, Wilson, Randolph, George Clymer, Hamilton)
  29. Opposition to the Constitution (Sept. 7, 10, 15) - (Maison, Randolph, Gerry)
  30. Signing the Constitution (Sept. 17) - (Franklin, Gorham, George Washington, William Blount, Gerry)

Ratification of the Constitution

  1. Speech of James Wilson (October 6, 1787)
  2. "John De Witt" Essay I, Oct.22, 1787
  3. "John De Witt" Essay II, Oct.27, 1787
  4. Speech of Patrick Henry (June 5, 1788)
  5. Amendments Proposed by the Massachusetts Convention,(Feb. 7, 1788)
  6. Amendments Proposed by the Virginia Convention, (June 27, 1788)
  7. Amendments to the Constitution (June 27, 1788)
  8. Amendments Proposed by The Rhode Island Convention (March 6, 1790)
  9. Speech of Patrick Henry (June 7, 1788)
  10. Address of the Pennesylvania Minority (Dec.18, 1787)
  11. Letters from the federal Farmer, I and II (Oct.8 and 9, 1787)
  12. "Brutus," Essays I, VI, X-XII, and XV
    (Oct.18 and Dec.27, 1787; Jan. 24 and 31, Feb. 7 and March 20, 1788)
  13. The Meaning of Government by Consent (Explained in Federalist Numbers 57-72)
  14. "John De Witt," Essay III (Nov. 5, 1787)
  15. "Cato," Letters V and VII(Nov. 22, 1787; Jan. 3, 1788) The Alleged Danger From the Powers of the Union to the State Governments Considered (Madison)
  16. "Brutus," Essays IV and XVI (Nov.29, 1787 and April 10, 1788)
  17. List of the principal Speakers at the Federal Convention of 1787