ratify a document is to approve of its content and to confirm its
principles. This is a formal act.
States Constitution, in Article VII, provided the procedure to be
followed by the states. The ratification of the conventions
of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this
constitution between the states so ratifying the same.
By Jan. 9, 1788,
had ratified the new Constitution written in 1787. Nine states had
to accept the Constitution before it could become the principle
document uniting the states. So important were protecting the rights
of individuals, and so intense was the debate between Federalists
and anti-Federalists, the additional four votes needed for ratification
would not be cast without the promise of amendments guaranteeing
pamphlets, public meetings and public houses, ratification was debated.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, under the pen name
of Publius, wrote 85 essays beginning in 1787. These
discussions of the Constitution originally appeared in New York
newspapers, but were collected into the two-volume The
Federalist. This is a primary source for the thinking of
the Founding Fathers.
of the Massachusetts legislators were recorded. They provide a detailed
record that the recommendation for a bill of rights was needed for
the Constitution to be ratified in the Bay Colony.
On June 21,
Hampshire became the mandated ninth state needed to ratify the
Constitution. The Congress of the Confederation in 1788 determined
session of the First Congress should convene March 4, 1789,
in New York City.
In the large
states of Virginia and New York, the debates were even more bitter
and divisive. When the State of Virginia
ratified the Constitution of the United States on June 26, 1788,
delegates included in their ratification document a list of amendments
for a Declaration or Bill of Rights. One month later,
York ratified the Constitution.
On May 29,
Island was the last of the 13 colonies to ratify the Constitution
of the United States. The vote was 34 for ratification, 32 against
Bill of Rights
Article V of the Constitution of the United States provided for
amendments to the Constitution.
The first Congress,
under pressure from James Madison, presented to the states amendments
to the Constitution. Ratified by 11 states in 1791, the Bill of
Rights was the result of more than a century of experience with
rights in America and many centuries before that in England. Three
of the original colonies (Massachusetts, Georgia and Connecticut)
did not ratify the first 10 amendments until 1939, 150 years after
the first Congress proposed them to the states.
Ratification of the Constitution
A lesson with primary sources provided by the National Archives
and Records Administration. Includes transcripts of the debates