The First State

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Delaware’s 1787 ratification of the United States Constitution - the proof that Delaware is the First State

The First State

The Constitutional Convention was held to revise the Articles of the Confederation. Instead, the delegates chose to create a new system of government. The Delaware delegation demanded that they have an equal representation in any type of new government that was established. Nine states were needed for ratification and knowing that this new constitution would not work unless it had the approval of ordinary citizens, the delegates insisted the Constitution be voted upon by citizens elected to special state conventions.
Each county in Delaware held an election to choose ten men for the convention. Those elected to serve met during the week of December 3, 1787 at Battell’s Tavern in Dover. On December 7, the delegates signed the ratification document making Delaware the first state.

This document is found in Legislative Papers. These papers were generated by the General Assembly. This collection includes accounts, acts and bills, communications, elections, petitions, resolutions, reports and summons.