North Carolina Ratification
  • Colony Founded: October 30, 1629 (as Carolina colony), 1712 (as North Carolina colony)
  • Ratified Constitution: November 21, 1789
  • Total Population: 388,776 (1790 est.)
    • Free: 288,204
    • Slave: 100,572
  • Major Economic Institutions: Plantations, Tobacco, Agriculture, Slavery
  • State Government: North Carolina had a strong bicameral legislature, the General Assembly, which had the power to elect all other major office positions in the government, including judges, a governor, and a Council of State. The governor had little power under the system, constantly requiring the approval of the General Assembly for actions. Voting rights were extended to all white male property holders, who generally held a significant influence in the state government.
  • Ratification Debate: North Carolina scheduled its ratification convention later than other states, likely waiting on to see their outcomes before making a decision on ratification. When the convention eventually did meet in July 1788, many of the delegates were hesitant to ratify the Constitution, suggesting that the people should have greater control of the government than the Constitution provided. Over the course of two weeks, the minority Federalist delegates debated the dominant Anti-Federalists, as various changes were debated. In August 1788, however, the convention voted to only recommend a series of amendments before disbanding, without ratifying the Constitution. As a result, North Carolina was initially excluded from the new republic. However, once the provisions of the Constitution were enacted and the first national Congress met, many people in North Carolina switched their support to favoring the Constitution, as the state became increasingly more optimistic about the fate of the new government. North Carolina also needed federal assistance to fight Native Americans in their western territories, contributing to the change of heart. After Congress recommended the amendments that would become the Bill of Rights, a new ratification convention met on November 16, 1789, and voted to ratify the Constitution 194-77 in just five days.1
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