In 1787 delegates from each state met in Philadelphia to create a new constitution.   After the new constitution was created the states had to ratify it.  You are a delegate and must determine whether or not to vote to ratify the new constitution.  

    The Task

    The year is 1787.  You are a member a ratification delegation.  You will examine the proposed Constitution, determine and debate its merits, and vote on whether to ratify it.  One of the key issues that will determine whether you vote on it or not is a proposed bill of rights.  You will be assigned to be either an Anti-Federalist or a Federalist.  After you have voted on whether to ratify the Constitution you must explain to your constituents why you voted the way you did.

    The Process

    1. First you will be assigned to play the role of either a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist.  

        If you are a Federalist read about what they stood for and how they thought in the following links:



        If you are an Anti-Federalist read the following links:



    2. Research your parties views on a bill of rights by reading the following articles.  Later you will debate    those who oppose your viewpoints, so remember to read about both sides of the issue.  
        Federalist #51:              http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa51.htm
        Federalist #84:              http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa84.htm
        Anti-Federalist #84:       http://www.thevrwc.org/antifederalist/antiFederalist84.html
        Anti-Federalist Thinking:  http://teachingamericanhistory.org/fed-antifed/antifederalist/

    3. Prepare for the classroom ratification debate.  You will debate a classmate one-on-one who has            been assigned an opposing party.  Create a sheet that you can reference during the debate that not    only has your positions and evidence, but also your oppositions positions and supportive evidence.

    4. You will debate your classmates who are from the opposite party as you.  Remember to keep in            mind the thinking of the party that you represent.  Articulate not only the positions of your party on        the inclusion of a bill of rights, but also refute your oppositions positions. 

    5. After everyone in the class has participated in the debate you will all vote on whether to ratify the        Constitution or not.  
        Even though you have been assigned to be either a Federalist or an Anti-Federalist you may vote        differently.

    6. When the class is finished voting you will be giving your final task.  You must write a letter to those        back in your home state explaining why you voted the way that you did.  Be sure to include in your        letter whether the constitution was ratified, your reasoning in voting either for or against it, and how       you think your argument could have been improved.  The letter must be at least two pages in length    and use primary sources.


    You will be graded in the following categories for both your debate and paper: 



    Use of multiple primary sources in the Debate


    Preparedness level for the debate


     Quality of paper


    Participated in Debate








    New York and Virgina, the two largest states, ended up ratifying the constitution on the condition that a bill of rights was added.  Many of the freedoms that we enjoy today are protected in that bill of rights.