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Image a shows a newspaper illustration showing five pillars standing upright representing Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia and Connecticut. A sixth pillar representing Massachusetts is broken apart from the others and falling over). Image b shows a similar newspaper illustration showing the six pillars all standing upright.
This Massachusetts Sentinel cartoon (a) encourages the state’s voters to join Georgia and neighboring Connecticut in ratifying the Constitution. Less than a month later, on February 6, 1788, Massachusetts became the sixth member of the newly formed federal union (b).

For obvious reasons, smaller, less populous states favored the Constitution and the protection of a strong federal government. As shown in [link] , Delaware and New Jersey ratified the document within a few months after it was sent to them for approval in 1787. Connecticut ratified it early in 1788. Some of the larger states, such as Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, also voted in favor of the new government. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution in the summer of 1788.

This timeline includes twelve states with the dates that each ratified the Constitution. Delaware ratified on December 7, 1787; Pennsylvania ratified on December 12, 1787; New Jersey ratified on December 18, 1787; Georgia ratified on December 31, 1787; Connecticut ratified on January 9, 1788; Massachusetts ratified on February 6, 1788; Maryland ratified on April 26, 1788; South Carolina ratified on May 23, 1788; New Hampshire ratified on June 21, 1788; Virginia ratified on June 25, 1788; New York ratified on July 26, 1788; North Carolina ratified on November 21, 1789; and Rhode Island ratified on May 29, 1790.
This timeline shows the order in which states ratified the new Constitution. Small states that would benefit from the protection of a larger union ratified the Constitution fairly quickly, such as Delaware and Connecticut. Larger, more populous states like Virginia and New York took longer. The last state to ratify was Rhode Island, a state that had always proven reluctant to act alongside the others.

Although the Constitution went into effect following ratification by New Hampshire, four states still remained outside the newly formed union. Two were the wealthy, populous states of Virginia and New York. In Virginia, James Madison’s active support and the intercession of George Washington, who wrote letters to the convention, changed the minds of many. Some who had initially opposed the Constitution, such as Edmund Randolph, were persuaded that the creation of a strong union was necessary for the country’s survival and changed their position. Other Virginia delegates were swayed by the promise that a bill of rights similar to the Virginia Declaration of Rights would be added after the Constitution was ratified. On June 25, 1788, Virginia became the tenth state to grant its approval.

The approval of New York was the last major hurdle. Facing considerable opposition to the Constitution in that state, Alexander Hamilton , James Madison , and John Jay wrote a series of essays, beginning in 1787, arguing for a strong federal government and support of the Constitution ( [link] ). Later compiled as The Federalist and now known as The Federalist Papers    , these eighty-five essays were originally published in newspapers in New York and other states under the name of Publius, a supporter of the Roman Republic.

This image shows an advertisement for The Federalist papers.
From 1787 to 1788, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay authored a series of essays intended to convince Americans, especially New Yorkers, to support the new Constitution. These essays, which originally appeared in newspapers, were collected and published together under the title The Federalist in 1788. They are now known as The Federalist Papers .

The essays addressed a variety of issues that troubled citizens. For example, in Federalist No. 51, attributed to James Madison ( [link] ), the author assured readers they did not need to fear that the national government would grow too powerful. The federal system, in which power was divided between the national and state governments, and the division of authority within the federal government into separate branches would prevent any one part of the government from becoming too strong. Furthermore, tyranny could not arise in a government in which “the legislature necessarily predominates.” Finally, the desire of office holders in each branch of government to exercise the powers given to them, described as “personal motives,” would encourage them to limit any attempt by the other branches to overstep their authority. According to Madison , “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

Questions & Answers

military coup in Nigeria
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Trapper Reply
we know what's best for us... with humility, GOD's Word, "Do no Harm to Others" Civil and Respectful people can and should manage their own lives.. This is one of the main Tenents of our Constitution. The Federal Government is supposed to regulate Commerce, Treaties & Protect rights of Citizens
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The Constitution is the law of the land regarding the governance of America. However, it is not The complete Law in itself. The laws that we follow, both federally and state-wide, come from the foundations laid down by the Constitution and it's articles.
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Source:  OpenStax, American government. OpenStax CNX. Dec 05, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11995/1.15
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