PROCEEDINGS AND DEBATES OF THE CONVENTION OF NORTH- CAROLINA, CONVENED AT HILLSBOROUGH, ON MONDAY THE 21st DAY OF JULY, 1788, FOR THE PURPOSE OF DELIBERATING AND DETERMINING ON THE CONSTITUTION AT PHILADELPHIA, THE 17th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 1787
by [North Carolina]: [United States Constitution]
Edenton, N.C.: Hodge & Willis, 1789. 280pp. 19th-century three-quarter brown morocco and marbled boards, spine gilt, marbled edges. Head of spine renewed, corners lightly worn. Some minor foxing and light even toning. Very good. One of the rarest of works relating to the debates over the Federal Constitution, the journal of the debates held by North Carolina regarding its ratification. It publishes the proceedings of North Carolina's inconclusive first ratification convention, which took place in Hillsborough from July 21 to Aug. 2, 1788. The U.S. Constitution was published on Sept. 17, 1787 and passed along to the states for ratification. The Constitutional Convention had ruled that, despite the wish for ratification to be unanimous, only nine of the thirteen states were required in order to pass the new constitution into law. North Carolina dragged its heels over the matter from the beginning and was the last of the states to call for a ratifying convention, on Dec. 6, 1787. By the time the state convention met the next July, eleven states had already ratified the federal document (New Hampshire on June 21, Virginia on June 25, and New York on July 26). Nonetheless, many considered ratification a necessary step before the state could join the Union. North Carolina was split between the pro-Federalists, mainly low country planters and merchants, and anti- Federalists, mostly poorer farmers from the Piedmont. Despite the eloquent arguments of James Iredell of Edenton, leader of the Federalist group, the convention foundered over concern for the protection of individual rights. On Aug. 2 they agreed "neither to ratify nor reject the Constitution proposed for the government of the United States." They did pass a Declaration of Rights, listing twenty basic liberties, and a proposed list of twenty-six amendments to the Federal Constitution. Most of these concerns ended up being addressed by the Bill of Rights. North Carolina was thus left in a strange limbo, generally treated as a state, but not seating delegates to the first session of the first federal Congress in the spring of 1789. When a new convention was scheduled for Nov. 17, 1789 in Fayetteville, Iredell and other Federalists paid to have the proceedings of the previous convention published and distributed, believing it supported their cause. This volume appeared on June 18, 1789. The second convention, no doubt buoyed by the passage of the Bill of Rights by the U.S. Congress, swiftly ratified the Constitution on Nov. 21, becoming the twelfth state to do so. It then underscored the importance of the Bill of Rights in its decision by becoming the third state to ratify it, on Dec. 22. This work is one of the rarest of the state constitutional debates. We have handled only one other complete copy in the past. EVANS 22037. NAIP w036269. McMURTRIE (NORTH CAROLINA) 144. SABIN 55667.
(Inventory #: WRCAM44249A)
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