Delegates of the Constitutional Convention

So far, I have learned more by making the map then unfortunately, the map itself shows. To a certain respect, it was like having a theory and watching the experiment prove it wrong. I had expected to find “pockets” of Anti-Federalism represented by the various delegates and instead, the map shows them pretty well dispersed among the colonies. I also expected to find a more even distribution of Federalist vs. Anti-Federalist. There are still a significant number of delegates marked “unknown” in my map, simply because they did not appear in easy list anywhere, or I did not find other verbiage to give a strong indication of their alignment and/or I just did not get to them yet (there are some I still need to research more).

The Teaching American[footnote]”Teaching American”, [/footnote] web site proved a very useful site to make my initial list. They had a list of all the delegates and a list of key figures in the Federalist and Anti-Federalist camps. There was not a one to one match up between the two lists though, so I then went to Wikipedia. For this pass, I used two things to determine the delegate’s alignment. The first was I looked to see if they were a member of the Federalist or the Democratic-Republican parties. Again, there was not a complete match up here and several delegates changed their party affiliation over the years, so at this point, there is some educated guess involved in how I mapped them out. The second thing I looked for was any verbiage that would indicate their alignment such as whether or not the were proponents of a strong federal government (I considered that a give away, though one could imagine edge cases where that would not be true) or if they mentioned a strong association with one of the major players in each camp.

The other thing I looked for was where each candidate lived. I wanted their homes rather than just the states the represented for the purpose of plotting on the map. I did not have a real strong reason for this initially, I just thought it would be interesting and easy to obtain data. I did envision the possibility of zooming in on a state and getting an indication of alignment within the state, but was not sure there would be enough data points to support that. What I did not expect was to have so much trouble finding that information! I guess I envisioned every delegate having their own Mount Vernon or Gunstun Hall. Not only was that not true, it seems many of the delegates were far more mobile than I had originally thought. For some, it seems the Revolutionary War, still very recent past at that point had displaced some but in other cases they just plain seemed to move around, much like people of today. Whether for reasons of marriage, business, speculation or other opportunity, this class of people was able to, and in fact did, relocate. Where I did not have some obvious text indicating their location at the time, I looked (mostly on Wikipedia) for text such as “returned to their practice in…” and the like. Also, if the delegate both born and died in the same location, I used that as their home at the time of the convention.

In all, for the purposes of the map, the above guesses all seemed reasonable. Ideally, I would like to have much better confirmation on my data points. I am quite sure the information exists but I would likely have to resort to scanning at least seventy three different biographies to get the information. It is just that no one has consolidated this data in the way I want it yet, which honestly, did surprise me just a little. As for the map itself, its greatest use seemed to be in what I learned while doing it and the other resources I stumbled upon while trying to do it. I am not sure the map will be useful in the end unless used to show that while there might be local pockets of Federalist or Anti-Federalist sentiment, from a national perspective, the sentiments for both sides were fairly well distributed.


“Teaching American” Accessed December 3, 2016.

Federalist – Antifederalist Debates – Biographies”,

The Constitutional Convention – Individual Biographies of the Delegates to the Constitutional Convention”,

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