Reply To: Virginia's voting to leave the Union


People who claim that one American people ratified the Constitution need to consider several bits of pertinent data:

1) That’s not what Article VII of the Constitution says;
2) If that were true, Rhode Island and North Carolina would not have been outside the Union when the First Congress convened;
3) Federalists of the ratification campaign, such as James Madison in The Federalist #39, said that ratification was a federal (not a national) act–that is, that there were plural parties to it;
4) George Nicholas, one of three leading Federalist orators in the Virginia Ratification Convention, explained to his fellow delegates that if they ratified the Constitution, they would be one of thirteen parties to a compact (not one of thirteen parts of one party to … whatever); and
5) Under Article V of the Constitution, it is a certain number of states, not even necessarily a majority of the American people, who can amend the Constitution–just as Article VII did not require a majority of the American people to ratify the Constitution.
And on, and on, and on.

I deal with this question at length in JAMES MADISON AND THE MAKING OF AMERICA. Madison and his confreres–Jefferson, Taylor, Nicholas, Nicholas, Pendleton, and others–insisted consistently that the federal Constitution was a federal one, not a national one.