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Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

January 2

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Georgia Ratifies the U.S. Constitution

January 2, 1788 - Augusta
The U.S. Constitution has always been contentious. Our sacred charter was born in controversy and remains so to this day.

Georgia elected six delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in the summer of 1787. Only four went. And only two—Abraham Baldwin and William Few—signed the final document.

The convention, chaired by George Washington, had the authority to revise the Articles of Confederation. It went far beyond that. Instead, after four fractious months and grudging compromise, the 55 delegates produced an entirely new system of governing, with three independent branches of government. The small states feared being swallowed up by the larger ones, and many people objected to what was missing: a Bill of Rights.

Would nine states ratify it and make the new government a reality? No one knew, but it was sure to be a tough fight.

Georgia called a special convention in Augusta to consider the proposed charter. The delegates voted unanimously to ratify the new U.S. Constitution, the fourth state to do so, on January 2, 1788, Today in Georgia History.

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Fast Fact

The USPS released a stamp on January 6, 1988 commemorating Georgia's ratifying of the Constitution.