The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, Volume XX, Ratification of the Constitution by the States: New York, No. 2

By John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, Richard Leffler, Charles H. Schoenleber; Assistant Editor: Margaret A. Hogan

Hardcover: $95.00

ISBN: 978-0-87020-359-6

680 pages, 6 x 9"


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"The most important editorial project in the nation." -Leonard W. Levy, constitutional historian

Volume XX is the second of five volumes in this series, which covers New York State's public and private debates about the Constitution and the calling of the state ratifying convention. The volumes feature countless newspaper items and letters along with New York Ratification chronologies, lists of office holders, and extensive editors' notes.

In 1787, after the Constitution was published, Antifederalists published a series of essays in New York newspapers, aggressively criticizing the document. Federalists quickly responded with their own series of essays, including the greatest defense and explanation of the Constitution, "The Federalist", written by "Publius" (Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison). The debate had national implications as New York newspapers quickly became the main source of Federalist and Antifederalist propaganda.

Browse the entire Ratification series

John P. Kaminski is the founder and director of the Center for the Study of the American Constitution in the Department of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A professor emeritus from the College of Letters and Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he is the author or editor of twenty-five other books on early American history.

The following text is excerpted from an article by Gordon S. Wood in “The New Republic” on December 24, 2010. To see the full article, please click this link.

At the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison, one of the greatest editorial projects in American history has been under way for nearly thirty-five years. Since 1976, the successive editors of the "Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution" have published twenty-three volumes, and there are at least eight more to come. These volumes contain every scrap of evidence the editors have been able to find relating to the debates over the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 - 1788. These editors, beginning with Merrill Jensen and continuing at present with John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, have put together one of the greatest collections of debates over the basic issues of politics and constitutionalism that the Western world possesses. The political debates in fifth-century Athens or seventeenth-century England may have been richer and more wide-ranging, but we will never know, because the records of those earlier disputations are either lost or fragmentary. They are certainly not as complete as the records we have for the ratification of the Constitution. Rarely will we find a more profound or more comprehensive discussion of the problems of power, liberty, representation, federalism, rights, and all the other aspects of politics than we have in these volumes. This record is not only a national treasure, it is a world treasure.