John Hancock: Address to the Ratification Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

(1788)

At the close of the Constitutional Convention in September 1787, the document that would become the Constitution of the United States was sent to ratifying conventions around the Union. Massachusetts delegates were deeply divided when John Hancock rose in February of 1788 to deliver his Address to the Ratification Convention of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, underscoring his support for the proposed constitution that would ultimately replace the Articles of Confederation. Drawing on his leadership skills and his standing in the commonwealth, Hancock persuaded enough delegates to vote for a constitution with which they still had concerns. Once Massachusetts ratified, others states followed.

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John Hancock (Library of Congress)

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