I’m currently reading Pauline Maier’s outstanding book on the ratification of the Constitution. This is well worth your time, as she goes through each state’s political debates, elections, and debates on the text. Thus far, I’ve learned the following things:
1. The Federalists were politicians (gasp!) and engaged in all sorts of closed-door deals to win ratification. In particular, Maier shows how they actively suppressed dissenting opinions in amy states and shaped the rules in many conventions to get the desired outcome.
2. Many delegates at these conventions argued that Article One, Section Four gave Congress the power to remedy defects in state election law. This power, though, was never exercised and was ultimately seized by the Supreme Court in Baker v. Carr.
Right now I’m in the middle of the Virginia ratification debate (James Madison & John Marshall vs. Patrick Henry & George Mason). Fascinating stuff.