New Jersey's Ratification
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Jersey, December 18,
1787. New Jersey was the third state to do so. New Jersey's ratification
message included several paragraphs describing the Constitutional Convention
and several more of technical legal phrasing that described when the state
legislature met to discuss the ratification and when the public was warned
about deliberations on the Constitution. The following text is taken from the
Library of Congress's copy of Elliot's Debates.
Whereas a Convention of delegates from the following states, viz., — New
Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, —
met at Philadelphia, for the purpose of deliberating on, and forming, a
Constitution for the United States of America, — finished their session on the
17th day of September last, and reported to Congress the form which they had
agreed upon, in the words following, viz.:
A copy of the Constitution was included in the
And whereas Congress, on the 28th day of September last, unanimously did
resolve, "That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying
the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order to be submitted
to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state by the people thereof, in
conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that
And whereas the legislature of this state did, on the 29th day of October
last, resolve in the words following, viz., "Resolved, unanimously, That it be
recommended to such of the inhabitants of this state as are entitled to vote
for representatives in General Assembly, to meet in their respective counties
on the fourth Tuesday in November next, at the several places fixed by law for
holding the annual elections, to choose three suitable persons to serve as
delegates from each county in a state Convention, for the purposes hereinbefore
mentioned, and that the same be conducted agreeably to the mode, and
conformably with the rules and regulations, prescribed for conducting such
"Resolved, unanimously, That the persons so elected to serve in state
Convention, do assemble and meet together on the second Tuesday in December
next, at Trenton, in the county of Hunterdon, then and there to take into
consideration the aforesaid Constitution and if approved of by them, finally to
ratify the same, in behalf and on the part of this state, and make report
thereof to the United States in Congress assembled, in conformity with the
resolutions thereto annexed.
"Resolved, That the sheriffs of the respective counties of this state shall
be, and they are hereby, required to give as timely notice as may be, by
advertisements, to the people of their counties, of the time, place, and
purpose of holding elections, as aforesaid."
And whereas the legislature of this state did also, on the 1st day of
November last, make and pass the following act, viz., "An Act to authorize the
people of this state to meet in convention, deliberate upon, agree to, and
ratify, the Constitution of the United States proposed by the late General
Convention, — Be it enacted by the Council and General Assembly of this state,
and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, that it shall and may be
lawful for the people thereof, by their delegates, to meet in Convention to
deliberate upon, and, if approved of by them, to ratify, the Constitution for
the United States proposed by the General Convention held at Philadelphia, and
every act, matter, and clause, therein contained, conformedly to the
resolutions of the legislature passed the 29th day of October, 1787, — any
law, usage, or custom, to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding;"
Now be it known, that we, the delegates of the state of New Jersey, chosen
by the people thereof, for the purpose aforesaid, having maturely deliberated
on and considered the aforesaid proposed Constitution, do hereby, for and on
the behalf of the people of the said state of New Jersey, agree to, ratify, and
confirm, the same and every part thereof.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the members present, this
18th day of December, in the year of our Lord 1787, and of the independence of
the United States of America the twelfth.
In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.
JOHN STEVENS, President,
and delegate from the county of Hunterdon.
County of Cape May,
John Jacob Faesch.
Jacob R. Hardenberg,
Joshua M. Wallace.
Attest. Samuel W. Stockton, Secretary.