North Carolina Federal Constitution


North Carolina sent five delegates to the Constitutional Convention, and as a group they were a rather diverse set of thinkers, all of whom had varying interests and qualms with the Constitution.  By the end, only three of the five delegates agreed to the Constitution, and ratification of the document back in North Carolina proved to be one of the more difficult ratification processes that the Constitution faced

The first delegate to the Convention from North Carolina was William Blount, a prominent politician and member of his state legislature, he was hesitant to sign the Constitution, but did so in the end as well as campaigned for its ratification back in North Carolina.  Overall he was not a major player during the convention, rarely participating in the debates.

William Blount

The second delegate was William Richardson Davie, a very skilled lawyer and a loved figure in his community.  At the convention he displayed a set of very nationalistic ideals, working hard to increase the national government and became one of the Constitution’s greatest supporters during the ratification process.  However, he did leave the Convention early, and as such did not sign the Constitution

William Richardson Davie

Following him was Alexander Martin, born in New Jersey but raised in North Carolina.  However, at the Constitutional Convention he was hardly a driving force, rarely speaking in the debates and he left the convention before they even signed the document.

Alexander Martin

Next was Richard Dobbs Spaight, a military commander and politician who was a heavy supporter for ratification during the entire process.

Richard Dobbs Spaight

Finally there was Hugh Williamson, a doctor, mathematician, and Presbyterian minister.  Williamson was probably the most influential member from North Carolina to the Constitutional Convention; he was a very skilled debater and served on the Committee of Postponed matters, as well as a multitude of other ones.

Hugh Williamson

In the end, all of the North Carolina delegates who were in attendance at the signing of the Constitution did sign the document, only Martin and Davie were unable to do so due to their absence during the signing process.

However, despite the Constitutions support from the delegates, the ratification process of North Carolina was an incredibly difficult one to say the least.  North Carolina was the twelfth state to ratify the Constitution, behind only Rhode Island who essentially pulled out of the whole entire situation.  The Convention of North Carolina refused to ratify the Constitution without a bill of rights and a list of certain amendments, therefore at their first Ratification Convention, North Carolina did not ratifythe Constitution, but they also didn’t reject it c0mpletely.

On November 16, 1789, the second ratifying convention for North Carolina began, and on November 21, 1789.  North Carolina became the twelfth state to adopt and ratify the Constitution, although they did attach a Declaration of Rights and twenty-six amendments to the Constitution asking for Congress’s consideration.


A Brilliant Solution – Carol Berkin


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