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The Constitutional Convention Timeline by Gordon Lloyd

1776


May 15 Second Continental Congress: Address to the Colonies
June 12 Virginia Bill of Rights adopted
June 29 Virginia Constitution adopted
July 3 New Jersey Constitution adopted
July 4 Declaration of Independence signed
September 21 Delaware Constitution adopted
September 28 Pennsylvania Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted
November 11 Maryland Constitution adopted
December 18 North Carolina Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

1777


February 5 Georgia Constitution adopted
April 20 New York Constitution adopted

1778


March 19 South Carolina Constitution adopted

1780


March 2 Massachusetts Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

1781


March 1 Articles of Confederation adopted

1784


June 2 New Hampshire Constitution and Bill of Rights adopted

1786


September 14 Annapolis Convention: Call for a Grand Convention
October 16 Virginia selects seven delegates
November 23 New Jersey selects five delegates
December 30 Pennsylvania selects eight delegates

1787


January 6 North Carolina selects five delegates
January 17 New Hampshire selects four delegates
February 3 Delaware selects five delegates
February 4 Shay’s Rebellion ends
February 10 Georgia selects four delegates
February 21 Congress approves Constitutional Convention
February 28 New York selects three delegates
March 8 South Carolina selects four delegates
March 10 Massachusetts selects four delegates
March 14 Rhode Island declines to send delegates
May 5 Rhode Island again declines to send delegates
May 14 Constitutional Convention lacks necessary quorum
May 21 Connecticut selects three delegates
May 25 Constitutional Convention meets quorum requirement
May 29 Virginia Plan introduced
June 13 Virginia Plan amended
June 15 New Jersey Plan introduced
June 16 Rhode Island again declines to send delegates
June 19 New Jersey Plan rejected
July 13 Northwest Ordinance adopted
July 16 Connecticut Compromise accepted
July 26 Constitutional Convention adjourns
August 6 Constitutional Convention reconvenes: Committee of Detail Report
September 12 Committee of Style Report: final draft of Constitution
September 17 Constitution signed
September 20 Confederation Congress reads Constitution
September 26-28 Confederation Congress debates Constitution
September 28 Call for state ratifying conventions by Confederation Congress
September 28 Pennsylvania calls for state convention
October 17 Connecticut calls for state convention
October 25 Massachusetts calls for state convention
October 26 Georgia calls for state convention
October 31 Virginia calls for state convention
November 1 New Jersey calls for state convention
November 3 Rhode Island Rejects Call for a State Ratifying Convention
November 6 Pennsylvania elects 69 delegates
November 10 Delaware calls for state convention
November 12 Connecticut elects 168 delegates
November 19-January 7 Massachusetts elects 355 delegates
November 20-December 2 Pennsylvania ratifying convention meets
November 26 Delaware elects 30 delegates
November 27 Maryland calls for state convention
November 27-December 1 New Jersey elects 38 delegates
December 3-7 Delaware ratifying convention meets
December 4-5 Georgia elects 26 delegates
December 6 North Carolina calls for state convention
December 7 Delaware ratifies 30-0
December 11-20 New Jersey ratifying convention meets
December 12 Pennsylvania ratifies 46-23
December 14 New Hampshire calls for state convention
December 18 New Jersey ratifies 38-0
December 25-January 5 Georgia ratifying convention meets
December 31 Georgia ratifies 26-0
December 31 New Hampshire elects 110 delegates

1788


January 3-9 Connecticut ratifying convention meets
January 9 Connecticut ratifies 128-40
January 9-February 7 Massachusetts ratifying convention meets
January 19 South Carolina calls for state convention
January 30 Massachusetts Compromise proposed
February 1 New York calls for state convention (Assembly)(Senate)
February 6 Massachusetts ratifies 187-168 with 9 proposed amendments (Elliot)
February 13-22 New Hampshire ratifying convention votes 56-51 for adjournment until June 18
March 3-31 Virginia elects 168 delegates
March 24 Rhode Island rejects call for a state ratifying convention
March 28-29 North Carolina elects 268 delegates
April 7 Maryland elects 76 delegates
April 11-12 South Carolina elects 222 delegates
April 21-29 Maryland ratifying convention meets
April 26 Maryland ratifies 63-11
April 29-May 3 New York elects 67 delegates
May 12-24 South Carolina ratifying convention meets
May 23 South Carolina ratifies 149-73
June 2-27 Virginia ratifying convention meets
June 17-July 26 New York ratifying convention meets
June 18-21 New Hampshire ratifying convention: second session
June 21 New Hampshire ratifies 57-47 with 12 proposed amendments (Tansill)
June 25 Virginia ratifies 89-79 with 20 proposed amendments
July 2 Congress accepts ratification of Constitution
July 21-August 4 North Carolina ratifying convention meets
July 25 New York rejects conditional ratification
July 26 New York ratifies 30-27 with 31 proposed amendments
August 2 North Carolina votes 184-84 against ratification
Sept. 13 Congress prepares for a new government
November 30 North Carolina calls for a second state convention

1789


January 7 Presidential electors chosen
February 4 Election of Senators, Representatives, and President
March 4 First Congress meets
April 1 House organized
April 6 Senate organized
April 30 First Inaugural Address of George Washington
June 8 Madison argues for a Bill of Rights
July 28 Report of House Select Committee on Madison’s Proposals
August 13-24 House debates Select Committee Report
August 21-22 North Carolina elects 271 delegates to second state convention
August 24 House passes 17 Amendments to the Constitution
September 9 Senate passes 12 Amendments to the Constitution
September 24 Judiciary Act passed by Congress
September 25 Congress sends 12 Amendments to the state legislatures for ratification
October 10 Last business under Articles of Confederation
November 16-23 North Carolina ratifiying convention: second session
November 20 New Jersey adopts the Bill of Rights
November 21 North Carolina ratifies the Constitution 194-77
December 19 Maryland adopts the Bill of Rights
December 22 North Carolina adopts the Bill of Rights
December 23 Maryland cedes ten square miles for a federal city

1790


January 17 Rhode Island calls for state convention to ratify Constitution
January 19 South Carolina adopts the Bill of Rights
January 25 New Hampshire adopts the Bill of Rights
January 26 Delaware adopts the Bill of Rights
February 8 Rhode Island elects delegates to ratifying convention
March 1-6 Rhode Island ratifying convention: first session
March 10 Pennsylvania adopts the Bill of Rights
March 27 New York adopts the Bill of Rights
May 26-29 Rhode Island ratifying convention: second session
May 29 Rhode Island ratifies the Constitution 34-32
June 11 Rhode Island adopts the Bill of Rights

1791


March 3 Vermont admitted to the United States
November 3 Vermont adopts the Bill of Rights
December 15 Virginia ratifies the Bill of Rights
December 15 Bill of Rights added to the Constitution in the form of Ten Amendments

Contents

Introduction

The year was 1787. The place: the State House in Philadelphia. This is the story of the framing of the federal Constitution.

The Convention

Read the four-act drama and day-by-day summary by Gordon Lloyd, as well as Madison’s account of the Convention Debates.

Interactive Map of Historic Philadelphia in the Late 18th Century

Learn about historic Philadelphia and where the founders stayed, ate, and met.

View Interactive

Multimedia Resources

Watch video explanations of Dr. Lloyd’s view on the Convention.

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