Ratifying the U.S. Constitution

As each of the 13 original states debated whether to ratify the proposed U.S. Constitution, political cartoons delivered this message: "United They Stand - Divided Fall."

The first such "United/Divided" illustration—depicting the ratifying states as pillars supporting a newly created federal government—was published in the Massachusetts Centinel on January 16, 1788. Two more illustrations appeared—in that same journal and in the same year, on June 11th and August 2nd—as more states ratified the new country's foundational document.

Rhode Island was the last to ratify the Constitution.

To help celebrate Rhode Island's bicentennial, Professor John Kaminski asked artist Paul Haas, to "finish" the United/Divided illustration. He created the illustration at the top of this page (which is online via Professor Kaminski and "Teaching American History").

The original 13 states ratified the U.S. Constitution in the following order (as depicted in the illustration) and on the following dates:

  • Delaware December 7, 1787
  • Pennsylvania December 12, 1787
  • New Jersey December 18, 1787
  • Georgia January 2, 1788
  • Connecticut January 9, 1788
  • Massachusetts February 6, 1788
  • Maryland April 28, 1788
  • South Carolina May 23, 1788
  • New Hampshire June 21, 1788
  • Virginia June 25, 1788
  • New York July 26, 1788
  • North Carolina November 21, 1789
  • Rhode Island May 29, 1790

Click on the image for a better view.

Media Credits

Library of Congress (original drawings) and Teaching American History (for the 1990 version), Original illustration appeared in the "Massachusetts Centinel" on January 16, 1788. The illustration depicted here, by Paul Haas, was created in 1990 to celebrate Rhode Island''s bicentennial

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"Ratifying the U.S. Constitution" AwesomeStories.com. Dec 30, 2016. Jan 29, 2020.
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