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“R” is for Ratification of the U.S. Constitution

South Carolina A to Z larger logo

“R” is for Ratification of the U.S. Constitution. South Carolina’s ratification of the United State Constitution in May 1788 was never in doubt. Since the state’s economic interests were well-served by the new document, the most serious debate in South Carolina over ratification revolved around the contested meaning of the American Revolution. The debate reflected the political conflicts that had divided the state since independence. In simplest terms, Federalists (who favored ratification) saw the Constitution as a way to complete the Revolution; Anti-Federalists (who opposed ratification) saw it as a threat to their emerging political power. However predictable the Federalist victory, Anti-Federalists undoubtedly represented a majority of the state’s white population—but not a majority of convention delegates. The final vote in a special convention for the ratification of the U.S. Constitution was 149 in favor; 73 opposed.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.