Who ratified the constitution?

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Who ratified the constitution

  • The states

    Votes: 7 29.2%
  • The People

    Votes: 15 62.5%
  • other

    Votes: 2 8.3%

  • Total voters
    24
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BuckeyeWarrior

Corporal
Joined
Jan 1, 2020
Location
Ohio
When reading about the adoption of the constitution it is often said the states ratified the constitution. A view that I also held at one time. However, upon further research I began to ask myself why did the constitutional convention not have the existing state legislature vote to ratify the constitution? Why did they use special ratifying conventions instead? Upon further research I came across this passage from the notes on the constitution from James Madison.

"Mr. ELSEWORTH moved that it be referred to the Legislatures of the States for ratification. Mr. PATTERSON 2ded. the motion.

Mr. MADISON thought it clear that the Legislatures were incompetent to the proposed changes. These changes would make essential inroads on the State Constitutions, and it would be a novel & dangerous doctrine that a Legislature could change the constitution under which it held its existence. There might indeed be some Constitutions within the Union, which had given a power to the Legislature to concur in alterations of the federal Compact. But there were certainly some which had not; and in the case of these, a ratification must of necessity be obtained from the people. He considered the difference between a system founded on the Legislatures only, and one founded on the people, to be the true difference between a league or treaty, and a Constitution. The former in point of moral obligation might be as inviolable as the latter. In point of political operation, there were two important distinctions in favor of the latter. A law violating a treaty ratified by a pre-existing law, might be respected by the Judges as a law, though an unwise or perfidious one. A law violating a constitution established by the people themselves, would be considered by the Judges as null & void. The doctrine laid down by the law of Nations in the case of treaties is that a breach of any one article by any of the parties, frees the other parties from their engagements. In the case of a union of people under one Constitution, the nature of the pact has always been understood to exclude such an interpretation. Comparing the two modes in point of expediency he thought all the considerations which recommended this Convention in preference to Congress for proposing the reform were in favor of State Conventions in preference to the Legislatures for examining and adopting it.

The convention that day voted aye on Madison's motion over Ellsworth's. With no protest, in approving Madison's motion, the delegates endorsed the statement that "The doctrine laid down by the law of Nations in the case of treaties is that a breach of any one article by any of the parties, frees the other parties from their engagements. In the case of a union of people under one Constitution, the nature of the pact has always been understood to exclude such an interpretation.""

This passage shows they discussed who should ratify the constitution and why. They decided the people should ratify the constitution, so that the states would not be a party to it's adoption and therefore states could not be freed from the obligations of the constitution by a breach by another party to the constitution because the states were not parties to the constitutions adoption.

My question is do you agree with my interpretation of why the constitutional convention used special ratifying conventions instead of existing state legislatures? Is there evidence I'm missing that shows the states were parties to the adoption of the constitution? In your opinions who adopted the constitution, the people or the states?
 
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