Ratification Day

Ratification Day

January 14
Most people associate the end of the Revolutionary War with the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, in 1781. But it was almost two years later that the Treaty of Paris was signed. It then had to be ratified by the Continental Congress and returned to England within six months. As members of the Congress arrived in Annapolis, Maryland, to ratify the treaty, it became apparent that they needed delegates from two more states to constitute a quorum. With prodding from Thomas Jefferson, the delegates from Connecticut finally arrived, and South Carolina Congressman Richard Beresford was dragged from his sickbed in a Philadelphia hotel room. Once everyone was assembled, the treaty was quickly ratified on January 14, 1784, and the American Revolution was officially ended. But it was still too late to get it back to England by the March deadline, since an ocean crossing took at least two months. Fortunately, Britain was willing to forgive the delay.
The Old Senate Chamber in Maryland's historic State House at Annapolis has been preserved exactly as it was when the ratification took place. On January 14, the same type of flag that was displayed in 1784—with 12 stars in a circle and the 13th in the center—flies over the State House and many other buildings in Annapolis. The ceremony that takes place inside varies from year to year, but it often revolves around a particular aspect of the original event. One year, for example, the original Treaty of Paris was put on display in the rotunda.
CONTACTS:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave. S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540
202-707-5000; fax: 202-707-2076
www.loc.gov
SOURCES:
AnnivHol-2000, p. 9
References in periodicals archive ?
This method, rejected by Madison during ratification days and ever after, would fail the test set out by other prominent supporters of the Constitution during the ratification contest as well.
This raises serious philosophical issues, because while the Federalists of ratification days sold the Constitution as establishing a federal government of very few powers and leaving all the rest to the states, we live under a radically different dispensation now.