Signed in convention September 17, 1787. Ratified June 21, 1788.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
All of the states, except Rhode Island held conventions to ratify the Constitution, although North Carolina’s convention adjourned without voting on the document. Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution in 1787 and New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify on June 21, 1788.
The new government began with the convening of the first federal Congress on March 4, 1789. Both North Carolina (in 1789) and Rhode Island (in 1790) ratified the Constitution after Congress passed the Bill of Rights and sent it to the states for ratification.
Annenberg Classroom connects an award-winning, comprehensive multimedia curriculum on the Constitution to daily civics news and articles that support in-class and online student discussion. Annenberg Classroom also includes FlackCheck.org, an excellent resource for teaching political literacy skills. Annenberg Classroom is presented by the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
When the framers signed the Constitution on September 17, 1787, they still faced the arduous task of persuading the American people to agree with them. And the framers did not even agree among themselves. Only thirty-nine of the fifty-five delegates who attended the Constitutional Convention signed the final version of the Constitution. The nation quickly divided into two factions: the Federalists, who supported ratification of the Constitution, and the Antifederalists, who opposed it. Eventually the Federalists prevailed, once they had promised Americans that a bill of rights would be added to the Constitution as soon as the new Congress convened.
Linda R. Monk, J.D., is a constitutional scholar, journalist, and nationally award-winning author. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she twice received the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, its highest honor for law-related media. Her books include The Words We Live By: Your Annotated Guide to the Constitution, Ordinary Americans: U.S. History Through the Eyes of Everyday People, and The Bill of Rights: A User’s Guide. For more than 25 years, Dr. Monk has written commentary for newspapers nationwide, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, and Huffington Post. In addition, she has appeared on MSNBC, C-SPAN, and NPR.