New Hampshire's Ratification
Ratification of the Constitution by the State of New Hampshire, June 21,
1788. New Hampshire was the ninth state to do so, and with its ratification,
the Constitution was officially in effect. New Hampshire's ratification
message included several suggested changes to the Constitution, including one
which would said "Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are
or have been in actual rebellion." The following text is taken from the Library
of Congress's copy of Elliot's Debates.
In Convention of the Delegates of the People of the State of New Hampshire,
June the 21st, 1788.
The Convention having impartially discussed and fully considered the
Constitution for the United States of America, reported to Congress by the
Convention of Delegates from the United States of America, and submitted to us
by a resolution of the General Court of said state, passed the 14th day of
December last past, and acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the
Supreme Ruler of the universe in affording the people of the United States, in
the course of his providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably,
without fraud of surprise, of entering into an explicit and solemn compact with
each other, by assenting to and ratifying a new Constitution, in order to form
a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide
for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings
of liberty to themselves and their posterity, — Do, in the name and behalf of
the people of the state of New Hampshire, assent to and ratify the said
Constitution for the United States of America. And as it is the opinion of this
Convention, that certain amendments and alterations in the said Constitution
would remove the fears and quiet the apprehensions of many of the good people
of this state, and more effectually guard against an undue administration of
the federal government, — The Convention do therefore recommend that the
following alterations and provisions be introduced in the said Constitution: —
I. That it be explicitly declared that all powers not expressly and
particularly delegated by the aforesaid Constitution are reserved to the
several states, to be by them exercised.
II. That there shall be one representative to every thirty thousand persons,
according to the census mentioned in the Constitution, until the whole number
of representatives amount to two hundred.
III. That Congress do not exercise the powers vested in them by the fourth
section of the first article but in cases when a state shall neglect or refuse
to make the regulations therein mentioned, or shall make regulations subversive
of the rights of the people to a free and equal representation in Congress; nor
shall Congress in any case make regulations contrary to a free and equal
IV. That Congress do not lay direct taxes but when the moneys arising from
impost, excise, and their other resources, are insufficient for the public
exigencies, nor then, until Congress shall have first made a requisition upon
the states to assess, levy, and pay, their respective proportions of such
requisition, agreeably to the census fixed in the said Constitution, in such
way and manner as the legislature of the state shall think best; and in such
case, if any state shall neglect, then Congress may assess and levy such
state's proportion, together with the interest thereon, at the rate of six per
cent. per annum, from the time of payment prescribed in such requisition.
V. That Congress shall erect no company of merchants with exclusive
advantages of commerce.
VI. That no person shall be tried for any crime by which he may incur an
infamous punishment, or loss of life, until he first be indicted by a grand
jury, except in such cases as may arise in the government and regulation of the
land and naval forces.
VII. All common-law cases between citizens of different states shall be
commenced in the common-law courts of the respective states; and no appeal
shall be allowed to the federal court, in such cases, unless the sum or value
of the thing in controversy amount to three thousand dollars.
VIII. In civil actions between citizens of different states, every issue of
fact, arising in actions at common law, shall be tried by jury, if the parties,
or either of them, request it.
IX. Congress shall at no time consent that any person, holding an office of
trust or profit under the United States, shall accept any title of nobility, or
any other title or office, from any king, prince, or foreign state.
X. That no standing army shall be kept up in time of peace, unless with the
consent of three fourths of the members of each branch of Congress; nor shall
soldiers, in time of peace, be quartered upon private houses, without the
consent of the owners.
XI. Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or to infringe the rights
XII. Congress shall never disarm any citizen, unless such as are or have
been in actual rebellion.
And the Convention do, in the name and in behalf of the people of this
state, enjoin it upon their representatives in Congress, at all times until the
alterations and provisions aforesaid have been considered agreeably to the
fifth article of the said Constitution, to exert all their influence, and use
all reasonable and legal methods, to obtain a ratification of the said
alterations and provisions, in such manner as is provided in the article.
And that the United States in Congress assembled may have due notice of the
assent and ratification of the said Constitution by this Convention, it is
Resolved, That the assent and ratification aforesaid be engrossed on parchment,
together with the recommendation and injunction aforesaid, and with this
resolution; and that John Sullivan, Esq., president of the Convention, and John
Langdon, Esq., president of the state, transmit the same, countersigned by the
secretary of Convention, and the secretary of state, under their hands and
seals, to the United States in Congress assembled.
JOHN SULLIVAN, Pres. of the Conv.
JOHN LANGDON, Pres. of the State.
John Calf, Secretary of Convention,
Joseph Pearson, Secretary of State.