Raising the Eleventh Pillar: The New York State Ratifying Convention of 1788

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In Raising the Eleventh Pillar,  players sit as delegates to the New York State Ratifying Convention, called by Governor George Clinton to accept or reject the Constitution drafted in Philadelphia the previous summer. The time is June-July 1788; the place is the Poughkeepsie courthouse, Dutchess County, New York, in the Hudson River Valley. Eight states have ratified to date; nine are needed to give effect to the Constitution. But it matters which nine ratify, and without New York, which separates New England from the mid-Atlantic states, no viable union will form. To make matters even more pressing, two other states, New Hampshire and Virginia, are currently in convention, racing to be the ninth state which puts the Constitution over. Participants play as Federalists (friends of the Constitution), Antifederalists (opponents of the Constitiution), and moderates. To bolster their arguments in the debates over ratification, players will analyze core texts such as the Federalist Papers, Letters from the Federal Farmer, The Creation of the American Republic, and records from the actual Debates of the New York Ratifying Convention.

About the Author:

J. Patrick Coby is professor of Government at Smith College where he teaches courses in political theory and American political thought. He studied at the University of Dallas and the University of North Carolina and taught previously at Kenyon College and Idaho State University. He is the recipient of the Smith College Faculty Teaching Award, the Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching and the Board of Trustees Honored Professor Award He is author of Socrates and the Sophistic Enlightenment:  A Commentary on Plato’s ProtagorasMachiavelli’s Romans:  Liberty and Greatness in the Discourses on LivyHenry VIII and the Reformation Parliament (“Reacting to the Past”); Thomas Cromwell: Machiavellian Statecraft and the English Reformation; and of over eighty articles and reviews.