The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution

Article VII

The Text

The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.

The Meaning

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.