On this day in 1788, Virginia became the tenth state to ratify the United States Constitution.
The Virginia Ratifying Convention began on June the 2nd, 1788. Several key delegates stood out as polar opposites in terms of how they viewed possible ratification. James Madison considered the “Father of the Constitution,” John Marshall, who would later become the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and Edmund Randolph, the Governor of Virginia all favored its passage into law; although Randolph refused to sign during the Constitutional Convention in 1787 when he was a delegate.
As time passed and witnessed the ratification of the heralded document by nine states, he came to the realization that the country was now in turmoil and that Virginia should indeed be the next state to ratify the Constitution and fully engage in the business of the Union.
On the other hand, future President of the United States, James Monroe, outspoken patriot Patrick Henry and fellow-Virginian, George Mason all seemed to stand against their state’s passage of the Constitution. Without a doubt though, the irrepressible Henry was considered by other delegates to be the most frustrating and difficult with whom to deal.
He is said to have insisted on a “clause by clause” examination of the parchment unless it suited him better for the delegation to take more of a “big picture” approach which he frequently did, much to the dismay and utter confusion of those who wished to forge ahead with ratification.
Nevertheless, the Old Dominion, via the Virginia Ratifying Convention, voted 89-79 to ratify the United States Constitution with the caveat that a host of recommended amendments should also be examined and subsequently placed before Congress for review.
Thus, after much heated debate (as seemed to be the order of the day as much then as now), Virginia became the tenth state to officially “endorse” what became and still remains the guiding set of principles for our grand republic’s governance.