Step #1: You will be assigned the role of either a Federalist or Anti-Federalist.  Instead of debating every aspect of the Constitution, you will also be assigned one of the following issues to focus on in your research and debate:
bullet separation of powers/ checks and balances
bullet

the elastic clause

bullet

congressional powers of taxation and war

bullet

a bill of rights

   
Step #2: Read these primary/ secondary source documents as background for the state ratification convention:
bullet Federalists and Anti-Federalists – U.S. Constitution Online
bullet

Map of Federalists and Anti-Federalists Voting

bullet

The History of New York State by Dr. James Sullivan chapter “Federal Constitution Ratified”

   
Step #3: You will research your particular issue.  For each issue, there is a list of a few documents to focus on. Regardless of which position you are assigned, be sure to examine the arguments of both sides. You need to anticipate the opposing arguments and be able to respond to them! 

The following two websites will probably be the bulk of your search.  There are 85 Federalist Papers and they are titled on this index to make for easier browsing.  The writings of the Anti-Federalists were not so well organized, however, the site below has collected 85 Anti-Federalist Papers that have been indexed so that their number corresponds to a Federalist Paper with the same number on roughly the same topic.  For each issue, a few documents have been selected to begin your search.
 
General sources:
bullet

The Federalist Papers

bullet

The Anti-Federalist Papers

bullet

Another collection of Anti-Federalist Papers

bullet

Selected arguments of the Anti-Federalist (1780s)

bullet

Constitution Day Educators Resources

bullet

A great chronology of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers and how they reacted to each other

bullet Elliott’s Debates – Collection from American Memory from Library of Congress.  This is a collection of the state ratification conventions along with other documents.  Remember you can use evidence from other state ratification conventions, not just New York.
bullet The actual New York State Ratification Convention is here  – beware it’s 115 pages
bullet Founding Documents - a great site with many important document links.
bullet An Overview of the Constitutional Convention

 

  Issue 1:  Separation of powers/checks and balances.
bullet Federalist #51
bullet Federalist #10
bullet Federalist #47
bullet Federalist #48
bullet Anti-Federalist #47 - Centinel
bullet Anti-Federalist #51
bullet Anti-Federalist #73
bullet Anti-Federalist #48
 
  Issue 2:  The Elastic Clause.
bullet Federalist #84
bullet Federalist #23
bullet Federalist #41
bullet Federalist #45
bullet Anti-Federalist - Brutus #1
bullet Anti-Federalist #46
bullet Anti-Federalist #32
bullet Anti-Federalist #33
 
  Issue 3:  Congressional Powers of Taxation and War.
bullet Speech of James Wilson - October 6, 1787
bullet Federalist #23
bullet Federalist #35
bullet John Jay address to the people of the state of New York, Spring 1788
bullet Federalist Papers 12, 30-36, 24-29
bullet Anti-Federalist Papers - Pennsylvania Minority
bullet Anti-Federalist Papers - Brutus #10
bullet Anti-Federalist Papers - Brutus #6
bullet Anti-Federalist #12
bullet Anti-Federalist #30-31
bullet Anti-Federalist #12, 30-36, 8, 24-29
 
  Issue 4:  A Bill of Rights.
bullet Anti-Federalist #84
bullet George Mason & the Bill of Rights
bullet George Mason - "Objections to This Constitution of Government"
bullet Speech by Patrick Henry (June 16, 1788) on Virginia's Ratification of the Constitution
bullet Speech by Luther Martin (March 21, 1788) to the citizens of Maryland - 1
bullet Speech by Luther Martin (March 21, 1788) to the citizens of Maryland - 2
bullet Mercy Otis Warren's observations on the new constitution
bullet Letter from Madison to Jefferson (October 17, 1788)
bullet Federalist #84
bullet Speech of James Wilson - October 6, 1787
bullet Federalist #51
bullet Debates of the Bill of Rights in the House of Representatives
 
   
Step #4: Prepare your arguments for the ratification convention by completing both sides of the “Debate Organizer” sheet.  On the back, be sure to anticipate the arguments of your opponents.  You will bring this “Debate Organizer” to the ratification convention and use it during the debate.  If you do not bring a completed “Debate Organizer” to class, you will not be allowed to participate in the debate.
   
Step #5:

On the day of the convention, the classroom will be set up in two circles, an inner circle and an outer circle.  If you are in the inner circle, you will be actively participating in the debate.  If you are in the outer circle, you are observing the debate and taking notes on the “Convention Note Sheet”.  Halfway through the period, the two circles will switch.  Both the “Debate Organizer” and “Convention Note Sheet”  will be turned in to be graded.

   
Step #6: When all of the issues have been discussed, the full convention (entire class) will vote on whether to ratify the Constitution or not.  Although you have been assigned a role as a Federalist or Anti-Federalist, you may allow yourself to be swayed by the other side’s arguments.
   
Step #7: For homework that night, you will write a 2 page typed “Letter to the Editor” defending your vote in the ratification convention.  In your letter, use specific evidence to discuss three of the four issues: separation of powers/ checks and balances; the elastic clause, congressional powers of taxation and war, and a bill of rights.
   
Step #8:

You will turn in your:

bullet

“Debate Organizer”

bullet “Convention Note Sheet”
bullet “Letter to the Editor”
bullet “Evaluation Sheet”  Print out this sheet and complete the “Self-Evaluation” columns.