The First State Celebrates Constitution Day 2010

Essay Delaware's Ratification

Delaware was the first state to ratify the Constitution. The unanimous ratification occurred at a convention in Dover on December 7, 1787. Representative Wayne Smith's essay describes the Ratification Convention. The Slide Show of Historical Documents has photographs of documents relating to the Convention.

Following is a copy of the text confirming the State's ratification (taken from The Library of Congress's copy of Elliot's Debates).

photo of the US Constitution

We, the deputies of the people of the Delaware state, in Convention met, having taken in our serious consideration the Federal Constitution proposed and agreed upon by the deputies of the United States in a General Convention held at the city of Philadelphia, on the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, have approved, assented to, ratified, and confirmed, and by these presents do, in virtue of the power and authority to us given, for and in behalf of ourselves and our constituents, fully, freely, and entirely approve of, assent to, ratify, and confirm, the said Constitution.

Done in Convention, at Dover, this seventh day of December, in the year aforesaid, and in the year of the independence of the United States of America the twelfth.

In testimony whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.

photo of the US Flag

Sussex County.

  • John Ingram,
  • John Jones,
  • William Moore,
  • William Hall,
  • Thomas Laws,
  • Isaac Cooper,
  • Woodman Storkley,
  • John Laws,
  • Thomas Evans,
  • Israel Holland.

Kent County.

  • Nicholas Ridgely,
  • Richard Smith,
  • George Fruitt,
  • Richard Bassett,
  • James Sykes,
  • Allen M'Lean,
  • Daniel Cummins, Sen.
  • Joseph Barker,
  • Edward White,
  • George Manlove.

Newcastle County.

  • James Latimer, President,
  • James Black,
  • John James,
  • Gunning Bedford, Sen.
  • Kensey Johns,
  • Thomas Watson,
  • Solomon Maxwell,
  • Nicholas Way,
  • Thomas Duff,
  • Gunning Bedford, Jun.

To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting.

I, Thomas Collins, president of the Delaware state, do hereby certify, that the above instrument of writing is a true copy of the original ratification of the Federal Constitution by the Convention of the Delaware state, which original ratification is now in my possession.

In testimony whereof, I have caused the seal of the Delaware state to be hereunto annexed.

For a brief history of the State of Delaware visit: