Article VII: Ratification
Article VII of the Constitution provides how the Constitution will be ratified and go into effect.
- The ratification of nine States (out of the thirteen) is sufficient to ratify and establish the Constitution between the States.
The last part of the Article is not actually part of the Article itself, but are notes to corrections that need to be made between the original copy and future copies.
- Signatures of the delegates approving the Constitution, on September 17, 1787. The Constitution was not ratified until New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify by a vote of 57-47. Rhode Island was the thirteenth and final State to ratify, on May 29, 1790.
The links below are active, so that more information on the Signers can be found. They lead to the government archives page.
Thirteen delegates left, for various reasons, without signing the Constitution:
William Richardson Davie
William Houston (New Jersey)
William Houstoun (Georgia)
John Lansing, Jr.
John Francis Mercer
There were three delegates who refused to sign the Constitution: George Mason (Father of the Bill of Rights), Edmund Randolph (presenter of the Virginia Plan and the first US Attorney General), and Elbridge Gerry.
Mason refused to sign because there was no Bill of Rights or Bill of States Rights. He later succeeded in getting the Bill of Rights included.
Randolph refused to sign because he believed the Constitution had insufficient checks and balances. He later reversed course and voted for ratification because the number of states ratifying was growing, and he did not want to see Virginia left out of the new government.
Gerry refused to sign because of the increased strength of the Federal government and because there was no enumeration of individual rights. He later became a Representative, and served as Vice President under Madison.