The decision of the Philadelphia Convention to submit the Constitution to state ratification conventions meant that Americans from all walks of life would be drawn into a wide-ranging public debate about its merits.
The basic document by which the United States is governed, the US Constitution was ratified when the ninth state, New Hampshire, voted in favor of the document on June 21, 1788. Drafted at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Constitution divided governmental powers between the national and state governments in a system known as federalism. It also divided the national government into three independent branches.
Joseph J. Ellis, Professor of History at Mount Holyoke College, discusses his Pulitzer Prize–winning book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, explains the emergence of the men who led the Revolutionary War and created the new nation, and delves into the four criticisms modern society lays at the door of the Founding Fathers.