Voting Record of the Constitutional Convention, 1787

"Tis done! . . . We have become a nation."

Benjamin Rush, following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, July 9, 1788

Between 1776 and 1783 the United States declared and won independence from Great Britain, defeating one of the greatest military powers in the world. But by the beginning of 1787, the American experiment in self-government was at risk of failure, threatened by a variety of escalating problems both at home and abroad. On February 21, 1787, in a climate of economic and political crisis, Congress authorized representatives of the 13 states to assemble in Philadelphia to revise the existing instrument of government, the Articles of Confederation.

Under the cover of secrecy, the body known now as the Constitutional Convention proceeded—not merely to revise the Articles—but to scrap them entirely. For 4 months, the delegates debated fundamental questions relating to government, power, and human nature. The voting record reflects the countless concessions and compromises that produced the United States Constitution. This page records the final vote taken September 15, 1787. Delegates signed the Constitution two days later.

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