The political arithmetic of ratification–outlined in Stage I of the Ratification story–seemed to yield a mixed prognosis. On the one hand, only nine out of thirteen states were needed to ratify the Constitution. On the other hand, two New York delegates left the Constitutional Convention early; two delegates from Virginia refused to sign on September 17, as did one delegate from Massachusetts. The supporters of the Constitution began the ratification campaign in those states where there was little or no controversy, postponing until later the six more difficult states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island. Ben Kunkel has captured this challenge of the political arithmetic of ratification by anticipating the pillar narrative depicted in The Massachusetts Centinel.


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