Massachusetts Ratification
  • Colony Founded: March 4, 1629 (though first settlers arrived in 1620)
  • Ratified Constitution: February 6, 1788
  • Total Population: 373,324 (1790 est.)
    • Free: 373,324
    • Slave: 0
  • Major Economic Institutions: Manufacturing, Commercial Shipping, Fishing, Agriculture
  • State Government: Massachusetts's constitution was a major influence on the US Constitution, with a legislature composed of a House of Representatives and a Senate, a Governor, and an independent court system. Each branch could check the other two, and powers were separated between them. Adult male property owners could vote. In addition, their constitution had Declaration of Rights, which inspired the later creation of the Bill of Rights.
  • Ratification Debate: Massachusetts had a passionate division of opinions regarding the Constitution. While commercial merchants and bankers in Eastern Massachusetts supported ratification, economically deprived farmers of Western Massachusetts (including those who participated in Shays's Rebellion) fervently opposed it, fearing that it gave too much power to wealthy landowners and wouldn't resolve their economic desperation. At the ratification convention, the entire document was slowly and meticulously debated, though the press had a notably Federalist slant covering the events. Eventually, supporters of the Constitution managed to barely ratify the Constitution 187-168, but with nineteen proposed amendments to go along with it, which went a long way towards earning the acceptance of Anti-Federalists. Still, the convention established a precedence of adding amendments along with Ratification, which all future state Ratification Conventions would emulate.1
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