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Kaminski, John P.; Saladino, Gaspare J.; Leffler, Richard; Schoenleber, Charles H.; Carlson, Marybeth (ed.) / Ratification of the Constitution by the states: Virginia (1)
8 (1988)


VIRGINIA (which also encompassed present-
day Kentucky and West Virginia) was in
1787-1788 the largest, most populous, and
most powerful state in the Union. From the
earliest revolutionary incidents in 1765, Vir-
ginia had taken the lead. In 1765 and in
1774 Patrick Henry had voiced the deter-
mination to keep the freedom colonial Vir-
ginians had won over a 150-year period. Vir-
ginia delegate Richard Henry Lee moved for
American independence in the Second Con-
tinental Congress and called for the creation
of a form of confederation to bind the thir-
teen separate colonies together. Another
Virginia delegate, Thomas Jefferson, drafted
the document that declared and justified
America's independence; yet another Vir-
ginian, George Washington, led the rag-tag
American forces against the might of Great
Britain. Nor did the Old Dominion relin-
quish its leadership in the subsequent move-
ment to strengthen the central government
of the Confederation which culminated in
the Constitutional Convention of 1787.
This is the first of three volumes docu-
menting the ratification of the Constitution
by Virginia. It is the eighth volume in The
Documentary History of the Ratification of the
Constitution, an extraordinary library of
manuscript and printed documents col-
lected from hundreds of libraries, historical
societies, and private collections. The Vir-
ginia documents have been compiled, an-
notated, indexed, and woven into a chron-
ological whole which constitutes an
unrivalled source for historical and legal
scholars, librarians, and students of the
United States Constitution.
This first Virginia volume contains an in-
troduction explaining Virginia's role during
the early years of independence, and doc-
uments the initial reaction in the state to the
newly proposed Constitution. The docu-
ments describe the refusal of Governor Ed-
mund Randolph and George Mason to sign
the Constitution in the Federal Convention
in Philadelphia; their cool reception back
home; and the publication and impact of
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