From the introduction:
You sit as delegates to the New York State Ratifying Convention, called by Governor George Clinton to accept or reject the Constitution drafted in Philadelphia the previous summer. The time is June-July 1788; the place is the Poughkeepsie courthouse, Dutchess County, New York, in the Hudson River Valley.
Eight states have ratified to date; nine are needed to give effect to the Constitution. But it matters which nine ratify, and without New York, which separates New England from the mid-Atlantic states, no viable union will form. At least some New Yorkers say this, those hostile to the Constitution or merely neutral and wanting not to be hurried into ratifying. Those friendly caution that if New York takes too long to ratify, or rejects altogether, it will lose out on the chance of having the nation’s new capital located in the state. Meanwhile two other states, New Hampshire and Virginia, are currently in convention, racing to be the ninth state which puts the Constitution over.
The popular press refers to ratifying states as pillars of the Federal government. With each new ratification a new illustration appears, showing the multiplying line-up of pillars, usually with the hand of Providence extending from a cloud, lifting the latest one into place. If New Hampshire ratifies as the ninth state and Virginia has the tenth, then New York, when ratifying, will become the ELEVENTH PILLAR in the colonnade.
Friends of the Constitution go by the name of Federalists, opponents by the name of Antifederalists.