University of Wisconsin–Madison

Popular Culture and Ratification

The process of ratifying the constitution was not exclusively the province of the well-to-do or political elite of American society. As the debate enveloped the country, heated discussions took place over dinner tables, in coffeehouses, and in taverns. Federalists and Antifederalists made their arguments in poetry and song as well as prose. Supporters of the Constitution celebrated lavishly as new states joined the union. Opponents occasionally rioted to show their displeasure. The collections below, with their accompanying introductions, explore how the ratification process played out in popular culture and on the streets