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Article 7 Of The US Constitution | A Brief Guide

Article 7 Of The US Constitution

When writing about other Articles of the US Constitution, one might feel that there isn’t any way to limit oneself to a mere 1000 or 1500 words (3000 even, speaking from personal experience). 

However, the real challenge is to write about an Article that is known to have no controversy around it – now, or even at the time of its enactment, 235 years ago. 

But is that really the case? Let’s find out.

Article 7 of the US Constitution deals with the ratification of the Constitution.

Answering: What Is Ratification?

Answering What Is Ratification

The term “ratification” means the enactment of an agreement, a treaty, a contract, or any other document by means of a signature or formal consent. 

This Section states that the enactment of the Constitution requires it to be ratified by 9 of the then-existing 13 states.  

So, What Is Article 7 Of The Us Constitution?

So, What Is Article 7 Of The Us Constitution

Article 7 of the US Constitution declares that only when nine of the existing have ratified the Constitution it shall come into effect throughout the United States of America. 

Why Nine States When There Exists Fifty States In The US?

The Constitution Ratification Conventions took place in each of the then-existing Thirteen States of the newly independent USA. The first state to ratify the proposed Constitution was Delaware (December 1787).

The state of New Hampshire was the ninth one to ratify the Constitution, bringing it into effect all over the county. Rhode Island was the thirteenth and the last state to ratify as state officials felt that the Constitution bestowed too much power on the federal government at the expense of the states. 

Steps Leading To Ratification

Steps Leading To Ratification

After its approval at the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the Constitution was then submitted for endorsement by the Congress of the Confederation. The opposing parties reached a conclusion defining the ratification process. The Confederation then proposed that the Constitution be sent to the states for consideration.



There were some controversies regarding the ratification process rather than the contents of the Constitution. 

Worries Of Vermont

Vermont was yet to be declared a state, much to the dismay of its residents. They had declared independence in 1777 itself. 

Federalists And The Anti Federalists

The prime problem that existed between the Federalists and the Antifederalists was the confusion if the ratification could be carried out lawfully by nine states.

Related Reading: Article 5 Of The US Constitution



Anti-federalists were of the view that Article 7 of the US Constitution stood against the provisions of Article 13 of the Articles of Confederation, which stated that any changes to the Constitution be made by a “Congress of the states” only to be ratified later by the state legislatures.

Article 7 seems to disregard the provisions by providing that the consent of only 9 states be required. 


Federalist opinion on Article 7 of the US Constitution differed. A stratum felt that the Articles of Confederation no longer held any significance due to constant violations. Another sect felt that independent and sovereign states had the option to reject any part of the Constitution that did not suit their needs. 

Federalist No. 40 from the Federalist Documents held that if people blindly accept all parts of a Constitution, then it renders the rights of such people void. A government is established for the purpose of serving the requirements and necessities of its people. 

Substitution Of Convention For State Legislature

Substitution Of Convention For State Legislature

The Framers of the Constitution decided to substitute Convention for the ratification by state legislatures. This decision has raised concerns over its principle as well as practical application.

 It has been argued that the Constitution was meant to protect the rights of the people rather than that of the state legislatures.

Also, in order to ensure that the Constitution enjoys supremacy over state legislatures, it had to be made sure that it derived its powers from a separate source.

Departure From Unanimity

Departure From Unanimity

The Framers of the Constitution were afraid that since the ratification required only nine out of the existing thirteen states, the remaining states could be left unattended. 

However, advocates of the Constitution have argued that this provision avoids the multiplicity of decision-making. It was often seen that certain ratification was put to a complete stop when only one of the states withheld assent. To stop this from happening, a majority of the states were to be taken into consideration, but not all.

In the case of McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), it was held that Article 7 of the US Constitution mandating a convention rather than the assent of state legislatures proved that it was the people that held power. 

Role Of Rhode Island

Role Of Rhode Island 

Rhode Island was the last state to ratify the Constitution. The state had, instead of ratifying the Constitution, asked for individual votes from its towns. 

At last, threats of secession were made by Newport, Providence, and Bristol, and for fear of other states fighting back against Rhode Island, it finally ratified the Constitution in 1790 after holding a convention. 

What Were The Thirteen Originally Ratifying States?

Role Of Rhode Island 

The states that ratified are listed below date-wise:

  1. Delaware, 7th December 1787.
  2. Pennsylvania, 12th December 1787.
  3. New Jersey, 18th December 1787.
  4. Georgia, 2nd January 1788.
  5. Connecticut, 9th January 1788
  6. Massachusetts, 6th February 1788.
  7. Maryland, 28th April 1788.
  8. South Carolina, 23rd May 1788.
  9. New Hampshire, 21st June 1788.
  10. Virginia, 25th June 1788.
  11. New York, 26th June 1788.
  12. North Carolina, 21st November 1789.
  13. Rhode Island, 29th May 1790

Some Of The Most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):-

Listed below are a few frequently asked questions when dealing with Article 7 of the US Constitution.

Q1. What Is Article 8 Of The US Constitution?

Ans: Article 8 of the Constitution vests Congress with the power to collect taxes, duties, and imposts from US Citizens who are to be used by the federal government.

Q2. What Is Article 1 Of The US Constitution?

Ans: Article 1 of the US Constitution defines the mechanism and the powers of the Legislative wing of the USA. It is based on the theories of “Separation of powers” and “Checks and balances.”

Q3. What Does Article 7 Of The US Constitution Mean?

Ans: Article 7 of the US Constitution deals with the ratification procedure of the Constitution by states for it to take effect in the whole of the USA.

Q4. What Does Article 7 Mean In Simple Terms?

Ans: Article 7 of the US Constitution states that 9 out of 13 states needed to ratify the Constitution for it to be enacted as the supreme law of the land.

And It’s A Wrap!

The provisions of Article 7 of the US Constitution prove that the supermajority rule of ratification represents the requirements of the consensus. Jurists have at times debated if the fear of being left out from the majority led to the ratification by all states. 

Features such as the Bill Of Rights, containing the first 10 Amendments, and Constitutional Federalism also ensure that true power lies vested with the people of the nation.

Do let us know if you found the article informative!

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