Judge Robert Yates, who in 1777 had served on the committee that drafted the state constitution, was a delegate from New York to the CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1787. A trusted, if undistinguished, follower of Governor George Clinton, Yates represented the antinationalist viewpoint then dominant in New York politics. He and JOHN LANSING consistently outvoted ALEXANDER HAMILTON and kept New York in the STATES ' RIGHTS camp. But on July 10 Yates and Lansing walked out, charging that the Convention was exceeding its authority.
In the contest over RATIFICATION OF THE CONSTITUTION Yates was an active ANTI-FEDERALIST. His "Brutus" letters were an able and articulate presentation of the dangers opponents feared would result from adoption of the Constitution, including annihilation of the states and usurpation by the federal courts. Yates was a delegate to the New York ratifying convention where he voted against ratification.
Yates kept notes of the debates of the federal convention from its first meeting through July 5. He did not publish the notes himself, but they were published in 1821 and are, after JAMES MADISON 's, the best record of the early...