Delaware Ratification
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  • Colony Founded: 1664 (though legally it never was a colony, but rather a part of Pennsylvania until after the Revolution)1
  • Ratified Constitution: December 7, 1787
  • Total Population: 55,197 (1790 est.)
    • Free: 46,310
    • Slave: 8,887
  • Major Economic Institutions: Shipyards, Agriculture, Fishing
  • State Government: The legislature was called the General Assembly, and consisted of an upper Legislative Council and a lower House of Assembly. The executive consisted of a President and a Privy Council chosen by the legislature. A state judiciary consisted of a Supreme Court and a handful of minor courts. Only free property holders were allowed to vote, and then only for positions in the General Assembly. All other government branches, including the President and judiciary positions, were elected by the General Assembly.
  • Ratification Debate: Delaware had a long history of political division, going back to before the Revolution when WhigsWhig: An alternate name used to describe Patriots and ToriesTory: An alternate name used to describe Loyalists debated (sometimes violently) declaring independence. Nevertheless, state interests topped party demands at the ratification convention, as the Constitution would free Delaware from crushing import taxes levied by Pennsylvania and give the newly created state significantly greater power in the new Congress. In the end, the delegates unanimously ratified the Constitution 30-0 on December 7, 1787, only four days after convening, making Delaware the first state to ratify the Constitution.2
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