US Constitution History Timeline 1776-1791

Last modified: January 11, 2023
  • Second Continental Congress

    The Second Continental Congress addresses the colonies and calls for the formation of a Continental Army to fight the British in the ongoing American Revolutionary War.

    The Second Continental Congress declared their independence from Great Britain, which was a monumental step in the American Revolutionary War. This declaration of independence was a way for the colonies to demonstrate their commitment to the cause of freedom, and to show the world that they were determined to break away from Britain and establish a new, independent nation.

    The Continental Army was formed to fight the British troops, and to ensure the success of the American Revolution. The Congress established a chain of command and formed the Continental Army in order to organize and unify the colonies in their fight for independence. The Continental Army was composed of soldiers from all of the colonies, and was led by General George Washington.

    The Continental Army was a key factor in the American Revolutionary War, and was instrumental in achieving the independence of the United States. The Army fought bravely and courageously throughout the war, and ultimately succeeded in defeating the British and gaining the freedom of the colonies. The Continental Army symbolized the courage and determination of the American people, and their success inspired the founding of a new nation.

  • Virginia Bill of Rights adopted

    The Virginia Bill of Rights is adopted, establishing certain inalienable rights for Virginia citizens and influencing the development of the United States Bill of Rights.

    The Virginia Bill of Rights was written by George Mason and adopted on June 12, 1776. It is considered to be the first declaration of rights to be adopted by a state in the United States. It is composed of sixteen articles that outline the rights of Virginia citizens in regards to freedom of expression, the right to bear arms, freedom from unreasonable search and seizure, freedom from excessive bail and fines, the right to a speedy trial by jury, and many other important rights that would later serve as the basis for the Bill of Rights in the United States Constitution.

    The Virginia Bill of Rights has been seen as a cornerstone of American liberty and human rights, with many of its rights later being adopted into the United States Bill of Rights. It was also a major influence on the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, which was written during the French Revolution. As such, the Virginia Bill of Rights has had a large impact on the development of democracy and human rights around the world.

  • Virginia Constitution adopted

    The Virginia Constitution is adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

    The Virginia Constitution is one of the oldest written constitutions in the world. It was drafted by a committee of delegates led by George Mason and Thomas Ludwell Lee in 1776. The document was then authorized by the Virginia Ratifying Convention and officially adopted in June 1776. The Virginia Constitution establishes the three branches of government, sets out the rights of citizens, and outlines the limits of the legislature. It is an important document that has been amended over the years, allowing it to adapt to the changing needs of the state and its citizens. The Virginia Constitution is one of the most admired and copied written constitutions in the world. Its influence and importance can be seen in the constitutions of other U.S. states and in some foreign countries as well.

  • New Jersey Constitution adopted

    The New Jersey Constitution is adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the State of New Jersey.

    The New Jersey Constitution is the supreme law of the state and outlines the basic rights of its citizens and the structure of its government. It has been amended many times since its adoption in 1776, most recently in 2017. The New Jersey Constitution is based on the principles of separation of powers, federalism, and individual rights. It outlines the structure of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government and also enumerates the rights and privileges of citizens. It also outlines the powers of local governments and the powers of municipalities and counties. The Constitution also provides for the election of a Governor and the formation of a Cabinet. Additionally, the Constitution outlines the requirements for the formation of a court system and the election of justices to serve on the Supreme Court. In addition, the Constitution outlines the procedures for the amendment of the Constitution itself. Finally, the Constitution also outlines important protections for civil rights, including the right to free speech and the right to bear arms.

  • Declaration of Independence signed

    The Declaration of Independence is signed, formally announcing the separation of the 13 colonies from British rule and the establishment of the United States as an independent nation.

    The Declaration of Independence served as a formal notice to Great Britain and the world that the American colonies were declaring their independence from Britain and creating a new nation. It marks the beginning of the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776, and has since become a symbol of freedom and democracy. The Declaration of Independence set forth a list of grievances against the British monarchy, declaring that they had violated the rights of the American people. It also declared that the American colonies were free and independent states and that they had the right to form their own government. The Declaration of Independence provided the foundation for the United States Constitution, which established the framework for the government of the United States and the rights of its citizens. Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, many countries around the world have looked to the United States for inspiration and guidance in the fight for freedom and democracy. The Declaration of Independence has become an important symbol of the struggle for freedom and justice for all people. It is a reminder of the courage and dedication of the Founding Fathers who fought for the independence of the United States.

  • Delaware Constitution adopted

    The Delaware Constitution is adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the State of Delaware.

    The Delaware Constitution sets forth the three branches of government: executive, legislative, and judicial. It outlines the structure and powers of the state government, including the ability of the state legislature to pass laws, the right of the governor to veto legislation, and the authority of the courts to interpret the laws. The document also outlines the rights of individuals, including the right to trial by jury, freedom of speech, and the right to bear arms. It establishes the qualifications for voting and service in the state legislature, as well as the qualifications for holding certain offices. Additionally, the Delaware Constitution includes provisions regarding the state’s finances and taxation. Finally, the document establishes the process for amending the constitution in the future.

  • Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

    The Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights are adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and protecting certain inalienable rights for its citizens.

    The Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights are unique in that they contain several pieces of legislation that are not found in other states. For example, Pennsylvania’s Constitution guarantees the right to a free and public education, something not seen in other states. Other examples of rights guaranteed by the Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights include the right to bear arms, the right to a jury trial, and the right to vote in elections.

    The Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights also contain several clauses that limit the power of the state government. For instance, the Constitution limits the ability of the legislature to pass bills of attainder or pass ex post facto laws. Additionally, the Constitution makes it difficult for the legislature to raise taxes by requiring that any tax increase must be approved by two-thirds of the members of the house of representatives. The Constitution also prohibits the legislature from passing any laws that would discriminate against any group of people or take away any rights already granted to individuals.

    The Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights have been in effect for centuries, and their language and principles remain relevant to this day. They have served as a model of democracy and individual rights for countless other states and countries. As citizens of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is our responsibility to uphold their ideals and continue to protect the rights and freedoms granted to us.

  • Maryland Constitution adopted

    The Maryland Constitution is adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the State of Maryland.

    The Maryland Constitution outlines the three branches of the state government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. The executive branch consists of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, and the Comptroller. The legislative branch is composed of the General Assembly, which is made up of the Senate and the House of Delegates. The judicial branch is comprised of the Court of Appeals, the Court of Special Appeals, and the circuit courts. The Constitution also establishes the rights of citizens, including the right to vote, the right to a free public education, and the right to due process of law. It also outlines the requirements for state taxation and the regulation of state finances. Additionally, it outlines the state’s obligations to protect the environment, provide health care, and promote public safety. Furthermore, the Constitution outlines the state’s commitment to promoting the economic well-being of its citizens.

  • North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

    The North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights are adopted, establishing the framework for the government of the State of North Carolina and protecting certain inalienable rights for its citizens.

    The North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights are designed to provide a framework for the state to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its citizens, their liberties, and their rights. The Constitution outlines the structure of the state government and the powers of each branch, while the Bill of Rights enumerates the fundamental rights of all citizens, such as freedom of speech, assembly, and religion. The Bill of Rights also provides safeguards against government intrusion and protects various other liberties, such as rights to due process and protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Additionally, the Constitution and Bill of Rights grant rights to certain groups, such as women, children, and disabled persons.

    The North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights are a living document that is regularly updated and revised to reflect the changing world and the evolving needs of the state and its citizens. The document has been amended numerous times since it was first drafted in 1776, and it continues to be amended today to ensure that it remains up to date and relevant. The Constitution and Bill of Rights have been instrumental in protecting the rights and liberties of North Carolinians, and they will continue to do so for years to come.

  • Georgia Constitution adopted

    The Georgia Constitution was adopted, outlining the structure and function of the government of the state of Georgia.

    The Georgia Constitution includes a section entitled “Declaration of Rights,” which is made up of thirty-one articles that provide individuals with a wide range of civil and political rights. These include the right to a free and public education, freedom of speech and press, the right to trial by jury, freedom of assembly and association, and protection from cruel and unusual punishment. In addition, the Georgia Constitution guarantees certain fundamental rights, such as the right to bear arms, the right to marry, the right to property, the right to privacy, and the right to vote.

    The Georgia Constitution also outlines the structure of the state government and its branches. It divides the government into three branches: the executive, legislative, and judicial. It outlines the duties of the governor, the General Assembly, the Secretary of State, and other state officials. It also contains articles on taxation, public debt, and the militia. Furthermore, the Constitution also provides for the establishment of local governments, such as counties and cities. It also outlines the powers that the state government has over local governments.

  • South Carolina Constitution adopted

    This event took place during the American Revolutionary War and was a significant step in establishing the state’s independence from Britain.

  • Massachusetts Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

    This event took place during the early years of the United States and was a significant step in establishing the state’s independence from Britain. The document included a Bill of Rights, which outlined the fundamental rights of the state’s citizens.

  • Articles of Confederation adopted

    The Articles of Confederation were the first constitution of the United States, adopted in 1781 during the American Revolutionary War. The document established a federal government for the newly independent states, but it was limited in its powers and ultimately proved to be insufficient for the needs of the growing nation. As a result, it was replaced by the United States Constitution in 1788.

  • New Hampshire Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

    This event took place during the early years of the United States and was a significant step in establishing the state’s independence from Britain. The document included a Bill of Rights, which outlined the fundamental rights of the state’s citizens.

  • Annapolis Convention: Call for a Grand Convention

    The Annapolis Convention was a meeting of representatives from several states in the United States, called to discuss issues related to trade and commerce. The Convention called for a “Grand Convention” to be held in Philadelphia the following year, which ultimately led to the drafting of the United States Constitution.

  • Virginia selects seven delegates

    This event was part of the process leading up to the Constitutional Convention, where representatives from the states were chosen to attend and participate in the drafting of the United States Constitution.

  • New Jersey selects five delegates

    This event was part of the process leading up to the Constitutional Convention, where representatives from the states were chosen to attend and participate in the drafting of the United States Constitution.

  • Pennsylvania selects eight delegates

    This event was part of the process leading up to the Constitutional Convention, where representatives from the states were chosen to attend and participate in the drafting of the United States Constitution.

  • North Carolina selects five delegates

    This event took place at the Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States. The delegates from North Carolina were selected to participate in the convention and help shape the new constitution.

  • New Hampshire selects four delegates

    This event took place at the Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States. The delegates from New Hampshire were selected to participate in the convention and help shape the new constitution.

  • Delaware selects five delegates

    This event took place at the Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States. The delegates from Delaware were selected to participate in the convention and help shape the new constitution.

  • Shay’s Rebellion ends

    Shay’s Rebellion was an armed uprising that took place in Massachusetts in 1786 and 1787. It was led by Daniel Shays, a former Continental Army officer, and was a response to economic and political issues facing the state. The rebellion ended on February 4, 1787, when Shays and his followers were defeated by government forces.

  • Georgia selects four delegates

    This event took place at the Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States. The delegates from Georgia were selected to participate in the convention and help shape the new constitution.

  • Congress approves Constitutional Convention

    This event took place at the Continental Congress, which was the national government of the United States at the time. The Congress voted to approve the holding of a Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States.

  • New York selects three delegates

    This event took place at the Constitutional Convention, which was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states that took place in Philadelphia in 1787. The purpose of the convention was to discuss and propose changes to the Articles of Confederation, which were the first constitution of the United States. The delegates from New York were selected to participate

  • South Carolina selects four delegates

    South Carolina chose four delegates to represent the state at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

  • Massachusetts selects four delegates

    Massachusetts chose four delegates to represent the state at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

  • Rhode Island declines to send delegates

    Rhode Island declined to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

  • Rhode Island again declines to send delegates

    Rhode Island declined to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia for a second time. The Convention was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

  • Constitutional Convention lacks necessary quorum

    The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, did not have the necessary number of delegates present to conduct official business.

  • Connecticut selects three delegates

    Connecticut chose three delegates to represent the state at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States.

  • Constitutional Convention meets quorum requirement

    The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, which was called to discuss and potentially revise the Articles of Confederation, reached the necessary number of delegates present to conduct official business.

  • Virginia Plan introduced

    The Virginia Plan, a proposal for the organization of the national government, was introduced at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The plan called for a two-house legislature, with representation based on population, and a national executive chosen by the legislature.

  • Virginia Plan amended

    The Virginia Plan, a proposal for the organization of the national government, was amended at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The plan called for a two-house legislature, with representation based on population, and a national executive chosen by the legislature.

  • New Jersey Plan introduced

    The New Jersey Plan, an alternative proposal for the organization of the national government, was introduced at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. The plan called for a single-house legislature with equal representation for each state, and a national executive chosen by the legislature.

  • New Jersey Plan rejected

    The New Jersey Plan was a proposal presented at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. It called for a single-chamber national legislature with equal representation for each state, and a national executive appointed by the legislature. The plan was opposed by larger states, who argued for representation based on population, and was ultimately rejected in favor of the Virginia Plan, which called for a two-house legislature with representation based on population. The rejection of the New Jersey Plan was a significant moment in the creation of the United States Constitution.

  • Northwest Ordinance adopted

    The Northwest Ordinance was a law passed by the Confederation Congress in 1787 that established a process for the admission of new states to the United States. It also established a system of government for the Northwest Territory, a region west of the Appalachian Mountains that was ceded to the United States by several states. The ordinance established a framework for the eventual admission of new states to the Union and set forth provisions for the protection of civil rights and freedoms for the inhabitants of the territory. It was an important step in the expansion of the United States.

  • Connecticut Compromise accepted

    The Connecticut Compromise, also known as the Great Compromise, was a compromise reached at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 between large and small states over the structure of the national legislature. The compromise called for the establishment of a bicameral legislature, with a lower house (the House of Representatives) based on population and an upper house (the Senate) with equal representation for each state. The compromise helped to break a deadlock at the convention and was a key factor in the eventual adoption of the Constitution.

  • Constitutional Convention adjourns

    The Constitutional Convention was a meeting of delegates from the thirteen states held in Philadelphia in 1787 to discuss and develop a new constitution for the United States. The convention lasted from May to September 1787 and resulted in the drafting of the United States Constitution. The convention adjourned on July 26, 1787 after four months of intense debate and negotiation.

  • Constitutional Convention reconvenes: Committee of Detail Report

    After the adjournment of the Constitutional Convention in July 1787, the convention reconvened on August 6. At this point, a Committee of Detail was appointed to prepare a draft of the Constitution based on the resolutions and debates of the convention. The Committee of Detail presented its report on August 6, which included a draft of the Constitution with provisions for the organization of the national government and the protection of individual rights. The report was a significant step in the development of the Constitution.

  • Committee of Style Report: final draft of Constitution

    The Committee of Style was a committee appointed by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 to prepare a final draft

  • Constitution signed

    The Constitution of the United States is signed by the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

  • Confederation Congress reads Constitution

    The Confederation Congress reads the newly signed Constitution.

  • Confederation Congress debates Constitution

    The Confederation Congress debates the newly signed Constitution.

  • Call for state ratifying conventions by Confederation Congress

    The Confederation Congress calls for state ratifying conventions to take place in order to consider the Constitution.

  • Pennsylvania calls for state convention

    The state of Pennsylvania calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Connecticut calls for state convention

    The state of Connecticut calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Massachusetts calls for state convention

    The state of Massachusetts calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Georgia calls for state convention

    The state of Georgia calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Virginia calls for state convention

    The state of Virginia calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • New Jersey calls for state convention

    The state of New Jersey calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Rhode Island Rejects Call for a State Ratifying Convention

    The state of Rhode Island rejects the call for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Pennsylvania elects 69 delegates

    The state of Pennsylvania elects 69 delegates to attend the ratifying convention.

  • Delaware calls for state convention

    The state of Delaware calls for a ratifying convention to consider the Constitution.

  • Connecticut elects 168 delegates

    Connecticut elected 168 delegates to the state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • Massachusetts elects 355 delegates

    Massachusetts elected 355 delegates to the state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • Pennsylvania ratifying convention meets

    The Pennsylvania ratifying convention, made up of 69 elected delegates, met to discuss and vote on whether or not to ratify the United States Constitution.

  • Delaware elects 30 delegates

    Delaware elected 30 delegates to the state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • Maryland calls for state convention

    Maryland called for a state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • New Jersey elects 38 delegates

    New Jersey elected 38 delegates to the state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • Delaware ratifying convention meets

    The Delaware ratifying convention, made up of 30 elected delegates, met to discuss and vote on whether or not to ratify the United States Constitution.

  • Georgia elects 26 delegates

    Georgia elected 26 delegates to the state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • North Carolina calls for state convention

    North Carolina called for a state ratifying convention, which would be responsible for deciding whether or not to ratify the newly-proposed United States Constitution.

  • Delaware ratifies 30-0

    The Delaware ratifying convention voted 30-0 in favor of ratifying the United States Constitution.

  • New Jersey ratifying convention meets

    The New Jersey ratifying convention, made up of 38 elected delegates, met to discuss and vote on whether or not to ratify the United States Constitution.

  • Pennsylvania ratifies 46-23

    The Pennsylvania ratifying convention voted 46-23 in favor of ratifying the United States Constitution.

  • New Hampshire calls for state convention

    The state of New Hampshire calls for a state convention to discuss the new Constitution. This is an important step in the process of the Constitution being ratified by the states.

  • New Jersey ratifies 38-0

    The state of New Jersey votes to ratify the Constitution by a unanimous 38-0 vote. This is a strong show of support for the Constitution and helps to build momentum for its adoption.

  • Georgia ratifying convention meets

    The state of Georgia holds a convention to discuss the ratification of the Constitution. This is an important step in the process of the Constitution being ratified by the states.

  • Georgia ratifies 26-0

    The state of Georgia votes to ratify the Constitution by a unanimous 26-0 vote. This is a strong show of support for the Constitution and helps to build momentum for its adoption.

  • New Hampshire elects 110 delegates

    The state of New Hampshire elected 110 delegates to attend their ratifying convention.

  • Connecticut ratifying convention meets

    The Connecticut ratifying convention met to consider the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Connecticut ratifies 128-40

    The state of Connecticut voted to ratify the U.S. Constitution by a margin of 128-40.

  • Massachusetts ratifying convention meets

    The Massachusetts ratifying convention met to consider the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

  • South Carolina calls for state convention

    The state of South Carolina called for a convention to consider the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Massachusetts Compromise proposed

    The Massachusetts Compromise was proposed as a way to address the concerns of those who opposed the U.S. Constitution. The compromise called for the addition of a Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

  • New York calls for state convention (Assembly)(Senate)

    The state of New York called for a convention to consider the adoption of the U.S. Constitution. The convention was called by both the Assembly and the Senate.

  • Massachusetts ratifies 187-168 with 9 proposed amendments (Elliot)

    The state of Massachusetts voted to ratify the U.S. Constitution by a margin of 187-168. Nine amendments were proposed as part of the ratification process. These amendments, known as the Elliot Amendments, were designed to address the concerns of those who opposed the Constitution.

  • New Hampshire ratifying convention votes 56-51 for adjournment until June 18

    The New Hampshire ratifying convention voted to adjourn until June 18, with the vote being 56-51 in favor of adjournment. The convention was considering the adoption of the U.S. Constitution.

  • Virginia elects 168 delegates

    The Virginia convention was held in Richmond and was attended by notable figures such as James Madison and George Washington.

  • North Carolina elects 268 delegates

    The North Carolina convention was held in Hillsborough and was attended by notable figures such as James Iredell and William Davie.

  • Maryland elects 76 delegates

    The Maryland convention was held in Annapolis and was attended by notable figures such as James McHenry and Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer.

  • South Carolina elects 222 delegates

    The South Carolina convention was held in Charleston and was attended by notable figures such as John Rutledge and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney.

  • Maryland ratifying convention meets

    The Maryland convention ratified the Constitution by a vote of 63-11.

  • Maryland ratifies 63-11

    The Maryland convention ratified the Constitution by a vote of 63-11.

  • New York elects 67 delegates

    The New York convention was held in Poughkeepsie and was attended by notable figures such as Alexander Hamilton and James Duane.

  • South Carolina ratifying convention meets

    The South Carolina convention ratified the Constitution by a vote of 149-73.

  • South Carolina ratifies 149-73

    The South Carolina convention ratified the Constitution by a vote of 149-73.

  • Virginia ratifying convention meets

    The Virginia convention ratified the Constitution by a vote of 89-79, with 20 proposed amendments.

  • New York ratifying convention meets

    The New York convention rejected the Constitution’s conditional ratification and later ratified it by a vote of 30-27, with 31 proposed amendments

  • New Hampshire ratifying convention: second session

    The New Hampshire ratifying convention reconvenes for a second session and ultimately ratifies the Constitution with a vote of 57-47, along with 12 proposed amendments.

  • New Hampshire ratifies 57-47 with 12 proposed amendments (Tansill)

    New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the Constitution, providing the required number of states needed for the Constitution to go into effect. The state also proposes 12 amendments.

  • Virginia ratifies 89-79 with 20 proposed amendments

    Virginia becomes the tenth state to ratify the Constitution, but also proposes 20 amendments.

  • Congress accepts ratification of Constitution

    Congress officially accepts the ratification of the Constitution by the required number of states.

  • North Carolina ratifying convention meets

    The North Carolina ratifying convention convenes to discuss whether to ratify the Constitution.

  • New York rejects conditional ratification

    The New York ratifying convention had originally proposed conditional ratification of the Constitution, with a list of proposed amendments. However, this proposal was ultimately rejected, and New York ended up ratifying the Constitution without any conditions.

  • New York ratifies 30-27 with 31 proposed amendments

    Despite rejecting conditional ratification, the New York ratifying convention did propose a list of 31 amendments to the Constitution. These amendments were not immediately adopted, but many of them were later incorporated into the Bill of Rights.

  • North Carolina votes 184-84 against ratification

    The North Carolina ratifying convention was held in July and August of 1788, and ultimately voted against ratification of the Constitution by a margin of 184-84.

  • Congress prepares for a new government

    With the necessary number of states having ratified the Constitution, Congress began preparing for the establishment of a new government under the Constitution.

  • North Carolina calls for a second state convention

    Despite the initial vote against ratification, North Carolina eventually decided to hold a second ratifying convention in 1789. At this second convention, North Carolina ratified the Constitution, becoming the twelfth state to do so

  • Presidential electors chosen

    The first presidential electors were chosen on January 7, 1789, to cast votes in the presidential election held the following month. These electors were selected by the states, and their role was to represent the people of their state in the election of the President and Vice President.

  • Election of Senators, Representatives, and President

    The first federal election was held on February 4, 1789, to choose Senators, Representatives, and the President of the United States. This was the first time that the new federal government held an election under the United States Constitution. George Washington was unanimously elected as the first President of the United States, and John Adams was elected as the first Vice President.

  • First Congress meets

    The first Congress of the United States met for the first time on March 4, 1789. This Congress was made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and it was responsible for establishing the federal government and creating the laws and policies that would govern the country.

  • House organized

    On April 1, 1789, the House of Representatives was organized. This involved the selection of a Speaker of the House, who serves as the leader of the House and presides over its proceedings, as well as the appointment of other key positions within the House, such as the Clerk and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

  • Senate organized

    On April 6, 1789, the Senate was organized. This involved the selection of a President of the Senate, who was also the Vice President of the United States, and the appointment of other key positions within the Senate, such as the Secretary and the Sergeant-at-Arms.

  • First Inaugural Address of George Washington

    George Washington gave his first inaugural address on April 30, 1789, in which he outlined his vision for the country and the challenges that lay ahead. In this speech, Washington emphasized the importance of unity and cooperation in the new government and called for the nation to come together to build a strong and prosperous future.

  • Madison argues for a Bill of Rights

    On June 8, 1789, James Madison argued before Congress for the inclusion of a Bill of Rights in the Constitution. A Bill of Rights is a set of amendments to the Constitution that protect the individual rights of citizens, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press. Madison believed that a Bill of Rights was necessary to protect these rights from being infringed upon by the government.

  • Report of House Select Committee on Madison?s Proposals

    On July 28, 1789, the House Select Committee released a report on Madison’s proposals for a Bill of Rights. This report contained recommendations for the specific amendments that should be included in the Bill of Rights. The recommendations were based on the input and suggestions of various members of Congress and the public.

  • House debates Select Committee Report

    From August 13-24, 1789, the House of Representatives debated the recommendations contained in the report of the House Select Committee on Madison’s proposals for a Bill of Rights. During this debate, members of Congress discussed the importance of protecting individual rights and considered the specific language of the proposed amendments.

  • North Carolina elects 271 delegates to second state convention

    On August 21-22, 1789, North Carolina held an election to choose 271 delegates to attend the second state convention. This convention was held to consider the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, which had been ratified by 11 states at that point. The delegates elected in this election would represent the people of North Carolina at the convention and vote on whether or not to ratify the Constitution.

  • House passes 17 Amendments to the Constitution

    On August 24, 1789, the House of Representatives passed a total of 17 amendments to the Constitution. These amendments were designed to protect the individual rights of citizens and to address concerns raised by some about the powers of the federal government. Some of the amendments included in this package were the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech, religion, and the press, and the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms.

  • Senate passes 12 Amendments to the Constitution

    On September 9, 1789, the Senate passed a total of 12 amendments to the Constitution. These amendments were similar to those that had been passed by the House of Representatives a few weeks earlier, but were condensed and revised to make them more concise and clear. The amendments passed by the Senate covered a wide range of issues, including individual rights, the powers of the federal government, and the election of the President and Vice President. Some of the amendments passed by the Senate included the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech, religion, and the press, and the Second Amendment, which protects the right to bear arms. After passing these amendments, the Senate sent them to the state legislatures for ratification. In order for an amendment to become part of the Constitution, it must be ratified by at least three-fourths of the states. The process of ratifying the amendments passed by the Senate was completed on December 15, 1791, when Virginia became the final state to ratify them. The amendments passed by the Senate and subsequently ratified by the states became known as the Bill of Rights.

  • Judiciary Act passed by Congress

    On September 24, 1789, Congress passed the Judiciary Act, which established the federal court system and defined the powers and jurisdiction of the courts. This act created the office of the Attorney General, established the process for selecting federal judges, and defined the types of cases that could be heard in federal courts.

  • Congress sends 12 Amendments to the state legislatures for ratification

    On September 25, 1789, Congress sent the 12 amendments passed by the Senate to the state legislatures for ratification. In order for an amendment to become part of the Constitution, it must be ratified by at least three-fourths of the states. The amendments sent to the states covered a wide range of issues, including individual rights, the powers of the federal government, and the election of the President and Vice President.

  • Last business under Articles of Confederation

    On October 10, 1789, the last business was conducted under the Articles of Confederation, which had been the governing document of the United States prior to the adoption of the Constitution. The Articles of Confederation had been in effect since 1781, but were replaced by the Constitution in 1789.

  • North Carolina ratifiying convention: second session

    From November 16-23, 1789, the second session of the North Carolina ratifying convention was held. This convention was held to consider the adoption of the Constitution of the United States. The delegates to this convention voted on whether or not to ratify the Constitution, and ultimately decided to do so by a margin of 194-77.

  • New Jersey adopts the Bill of Rights

    On November 20, 1789, New Jersey became the first state to adopt the Bill of Rights, which had been proposed by Congress earlier in the year. The Bill of Rights was a set of amendments to the Constitution that protected the individual rights of citizens, and its adoption was seen as an important step in the development of the new government.

  • North Carolina ratifies the Constitution 194-77

    On November 21, 1789, North Carolina voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States by a margin of 194-77. This made North Carolina the 12th state to ratify the Constitution, which had been ratified by 11 states prior to this vote.

  • Maryland adopts the Bill of Rights

    On December 19, 1789, Maryland became the second state to adopt the Bill of Rights. This adoption was significant because it brought the number of states that had ratified the Bill of Rights to three, which was the minimum required for it to become part of the Constitution.

  • North Carolina adopts the Bill of Rights

    On December 22, 1789, North Carolina became the third state to adopt the Bill of Rights. This adoption completed the process of ratifying the Bill of Rights, which had been proposed by Congress earlier in the year.

  • Maryland cedes ten square miles for a federal city

    On December 23, 1789, Maryland ceded ten square miles of land to the federal government for the creation of a federal city. This land was used to establish the city of Washington, D.C., which would serve as the capital of the United States. The creation of a federal city was seen as an important step in the development of the new government, as it provided a central location for the government to conduct its business.

  • Rhode Island calls for state convention to ratify Constitution

    Rhode Island, the last of the original 13 states to ratify the Constitution, calls for a state convention to consider ratifying the Constitution. Rhode Island, which was a strong supporter of states’ rights, had initially refused to send delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and had been reluctant to ratify the Constitution due to concerns about the power it would grant to the federal government.

  • South Carolina adopts the Bill of Rights

    South Carolina becomes the 8th state to ratify the Bill of Rights, which are the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. This guarantees individual rights like freedom of speech, religion, press and the right to bear arms.

  • New Hampshire adopts the Bill of Rights

    New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to ratify the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

  • Delaware adopts the Bill of Rights

    Delaware becomes the seventh state to ratify the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

  • Rhode Island elects delegates to ratifying convention

    Rhode Island elects delegates to its ratifying convention, which will determine whether or not the state will ratify the Constitution.

  • Rhode Island ratifying convention: first session

    Rhode Island’s ratifying convention, held in Newport, begins its first session. During this time, proponents and opponents of the Constitution present their arguments and evidence to the delegates.

  • Pennsylvania adopts the Bill of Rights

    Pennsylvania becomes the eleventh state to ratify the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

  • New York adopts the Bill of Rights

    New York becomes the eleventh state to ratify the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution.

  • Rhode Island ratifying convention: second session

    Rhode Island’s ratifying convention holds its second session. During this time, delegates debate the merits of the Constitution, and ultimately vote on whether to ratify it.

  • Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution 34-32

    Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution, becoming the thirteenth and final state to do so. The vote is close, with 34 delegates in favor and 32 against.

  • Rhode Island adopts the Bill of Rights

    Rhode Island adopts the Bill of Rights, finalizing the process of ratifying the United States Constitution.

  • Vermont admitted to the United States

    Vermont was admitted as the 14th state to the United States on March 3, 1791. Vermont had been an independent republic since 1777. The Republic of Vermont was an independent sovereign state in North America that existed from January 1777 to March 4, 1791. The state was established by Vermont settlers, who seceded from the colony of New York after it became clear that New York would remain loyal to the British during the American Revolution. Vermont was the first state to join the United States after the original 13 colonies, and is known for being the first state to abolish slavery and for being the first state to be admitted to the Union after the original thirteen colonies.

  • Vermont adopts the Bill of Rights

    Vermont adopted the Bill of Rights as the 14th state to do so. The Bill of Rights is the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights was adopted by the First United States Congress and later ratified by three-fourths of the states in 1791. Vermont’s adoption of the Bill of Rights was made official on November 3, 1791.

  • Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights

    Virginia became the 11th state to ratify the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. The Virginia Ratification Convention was held in Richmond, Virginia from June 2 to June 27, 1788. It was here that Virginia ratified the Constitution, becoming the 10th state to do so. Later, on December 15, 1791, The state of Virginia ratified the Bill of rights, which was the first ten amendments of the Constitution.

  • Bill of Rights added to the Constitution in the form of Ten Amendments

    The Bill of Rights was the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution. These amendments were added to the Constitution on December 15, 1791. The Bill of Rights was written by James Madison and was introduced in the United States House of Representatives on June 8, 1789. The Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution after being ratified by three-fourths of the states. The Bill of Rights contains important individual rights and protections, such as freedom of speech, religion, and the press, as well as the right to a fair trial and protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

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