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Eleven States Ratified the would-be first amendment

Post by JEQuidam »

With the exception of Delaware, every state that ratified articles three through twelve (as the first ten amendments to the Constitution) also ratified Article the first. Presumably many of the state legislatures that initially ratified it did not realize its formulation contained a fatal flaw that was not in the earlier version (which the states' legislators would have previously read in the press).

The table below summarizes the ratification history of all twelve articles relative to the first twelve states to do so.[1]


On December 15, 1791, when 14 states comprised the Union, Virginia became the eleventh state to affirm the third through twelfth articles thereby ratifying them as the first ten amendments to the Constitution. During that same time, ten of those eleven states had also affirmed Article the first; one less than required for ratification. On June 4, 1792, Kentucky became the eleventh (and final) state to affirm Article the first but, by that time, amending it to the Constitution would have required ratification by one additional state.

[1] Connecticut, Georgia, and Massachusetts did not ratify any of the twelve amendments during this time frame. It was not until 1939 that those three states ceremonially ratified the third through twelfth articles to mark the 150th anniversary of the passage of the Bill of Rights.
[2] These ratification dates are derived from the Documentary History of the Constitution (Bulletin of the Bureau of Rolls and Library of the Department of State). Washington: Department of State. 1895
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