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Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution$
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Jeff Broadwater

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469651019

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469651019.001.0001

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Opposition Enough to Do Good

Opposition Enough to Do Good


(p.154) Seven Opposition Enough to Do Good
Jefferson, Madison, and the Making of the Constitution

Jeff Broadwater

University of North Carolina Press

In the winter of 1787-1788, Madison was surprised by opposition to the ratification of the Constitution from Anti-Federalists who complained that the Constitution threatened the rights of the states and of individuals by conferring too much power on the central government. Even Jefferson had mixed emotions about the document. His reservations included concerns about the president’s eligibility for reelection and about the absence of a bill of rights. Jefferson proposed that nine states ratify the Constitution--the minimum number needed for it to take effect--and that four states withhold their approval in order to create pressure for amendments. Many of Madison’s twenty-nine Federalist essays addressed issues raised by Jefferson, and they reassured Jefferson on several points. Nevertheless, in order to win ratification of the Constitution in Virginia, its Federalist proponents had to agree to support amendments after the new government began operating, a compromise that Jefferson, who continued to support the addition of a bill of rights, could accept.

Keywords:   ratification, Anti-Federalists, reelection, bill of rights, Federalist

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