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Jensen, Merrill; Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J. (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Pennsylvania
2 (1976)

Organization,   pp. 10-13


Page 11

With three exceptions, the states are placed in the order in which
they ratified the Constitution. Pennsylvania is placed first, al-
though Delaware ratified on 7 December, five days before Pennsyl-
vania. The Pennsylvania Assembly was the first state legislature to
receive the Constitution and to call a convention, and the means used
to call it attracted nationwide attention. Furthermore, the Philadel-
phia press was for some time the principal source of material for
the public debate on the Constitution.
The second exception is the placement of the first session of the
New Hampshire Convention (13-22 February 1788) after Massachu-
setts, which ratified the Constitution on 6 February. The third ex-
ception is the popular referendum on the Constitution in Rhode
Island on 24 March 1788, which is placed after the first session of the
New Hampshire Convention. Thereafter, the states are arranged in
the order in which their conventions ratified the Constitution.
The arrangement of documents in the order in which important
events occurred is a more meaningful chronological order than one
arbitrarily determined by the dates of ratification.
The documents for each state are arranged in the following order:
(1) from the receipt of the Constitution after 17 September 1787 to
the meeting of the state legislature which called the state convention;
(2) the proceedings of the state legislature in calling the state con-
vention; (3) from the legislature's call of the convention to the meeting
of the convention; (4) the proceedings of the state convention day
by day; (5) official letters transmitting the act of ratification to the
Confederation Congress and to other states; and (6) post-convention
documents.
Since the history of the ratification of the Constitution by each state
is unique, the organization outlined above varies somewhat from
state to state.
Ratification of the Constitution by the States: Microform Supplements
Much of the material for each state is repetitious or peripheral and
is placed in microform supplements to the volumes of Ratification of
the Constitution by the States. The documents in these supplements
consist of consecutively numbered items arranged, for the most part,
in chronological order.
The following is a list of the types of documents included in the
microform supplements:
(1) Photographic copies of manuscripts such as notes of debates.
(2) Transcripts, of certain letters which contain peripheral informa-
tion about politics and social relationships.
11
ORGANIZATION


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