Article Seven of the United States Constitution
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Article Seven of the United States Constitution sets the number of state ratifications necessary in order for the Constitution to take effect and prescribes the method through which the states may ratify it.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
On September 20, 1787, three days after its adoption by the Constitutional Convention, the drafted Constitution was submitted to the Congress of the Confederation for its endorsement. After a great deal of debate, the opposing sides came to the first of many compromises that would define the ratification process. Thus, on September 28, the Confederation Congress voted to release the proposed Constitution to the states for their consideration without comment. In other words, Congress would neither endorse nor oppose its ratification.
In 1787 and 1788, following the Constitutional Convention, a great debate took place throughout the United States over the Constitution that had been proposed. The supporters of the Constitution began the ratification campaign in those states where there was little or no controversy, postponing until later the more difficult ones.
New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the proposed constitution on June 21, 1788, thus establishing it as the new framework of governance for the United States. Though officially enacted, four states, Virginia, New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island remained outside the new government. The Congress of the Confederation chose March 4, 1789 as the day "for commencing proceedings under the Constitution." Virginia and New York ratified the Constitution before the members of the new Congress assembled on the appointed day to bring the new Government into operation. North Carolina and Rhode Island ratified only after Congress sent a series of constitutional amendments to the states (specific guarantees of personal freedoms and rights; clear limitations on the government's power in judicial and other proceedings; and explicit declarations that all powers not specifically delegated to Congress by the Constitution are reserved for the states or the people) for ratification.
The Constitution was ratified by the states in the following order:
|1||December 7, 1787||Delaware||30||0||100%|
|2||December 12, 1787||Pennsylvania||46||23||67%|
|3||December 18, 1787||New Jersey||38||0||100%|
|4||January 2, 1788||Georgia||26||0||100%|
|5||January 9, 1788||Connecticut||128||40||76%|
|6||February 6, 1788||Massachusetts||187||168||53%|
|7||April 28, 1788||Maryland||63||11||85%|
|8||May 23, 1788||South Carolina||149||73||67%|
|9||June 21, 1788||New Hampshire||57||47||55%|
|10||June 25, 1788||Virginia||89||79||53%|
|11||July 26, 1788||New York||30||27||53%|
|12||November 21, 1789||North Carolina||194||77||72%|
|13||May 29, 1790||Rhode Island||34||32||52%|
- Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
- The Federalist Papers
- Anti-Federalist Papers
- CRS Annotated Constitution: Article VII
- Gary Lawson & Guy Seidman, When Did the Constitution become Law, 77Notre Dame L. Rev.1 (2001)
- Steve Mount, The Federalists and Anti-Federalists, usconstitution.net (2003)
- "The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription". Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration.
- "Article VII. Ratification". Justia.com.
- "The States and the Ratification Process". Center for the Study of the American Constitution, University of Wisconsin–Madison Department of History.