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Epilogue

As a result of the hard-won compromise at the New York Convention, New York remained in the Union. The Confederation Congress voted on September 13, 1788, to keep New York City as the federal capital. When the first U.S. Congress met in March 1789 and when George Washington took the oath as president of the United States on April 30, it was at Federal Hall, at Wall and Nassau streets in Manhattan. The new government had begun. In his inaugural address, President Washington called upon Congress to consider amendments to the Constitution proposed by the states out of "a reverence for the characteristic rights of freemen and a regard for the public harmony."

New York Antifederalists had reluctantly agreed to ratify the Constitution unconditionally to keep New York in the Union and work for amendments under the provisions of Article V of the Constitution. New York's Bill of Rights and the threat of a second constitutional convention were instrumental in Congress’ proposal of a Bill of Rights in September 1789. Had the members of the New York Convention refused to compromise, had the state not ratified the Constitution, the history of the United States would have been very different.

Video: The Legacy of Due Process

Feature: The Federal Procession in New York City

Feature: Celebrations of New York Ratification

Map: State-by-State Ratification of the Constitution

1788

Excited by the news of the New Hampshire and Virginia ratifications, New York City celebrated the new nation even before the compromise was reached in Poughkeepsie. On July 23, a festive procession was held in the city.

Newspapers reported on celebrations in New York of the Convention’s ratification of the Constitution. Spontaneous celebrations occurred in New York City and Newburgh on the evening of July 26, 1788, while planned celebrations occurred in the other places between July 30 and August 15.

On September 13, because New York has ratified the Constitution, the Confederation Congress votes to keep the federal capital in New York City.

The most complete record of the debates at the New York Ratifying Convention is published on December 16. For a full understanding of the debates, this record must be supplemented by the notes taken by one of the Convention secretaries, John McKesson, and by some of the delegates themselves.

1789

On February 7, the New York Assembly resolves to ask the first federal Congress to call a second general convention to consider amendments to the Constitution.

On March 4, the first federal Congress is scheduled to convene at Federal Hall, the former city hall, at Wall and Nassau streets in New York City.

On April 30, George Washington is sworn in as president at Federal Hall. Chancellor Robert R. Livingston administers the oath of office. The new government has begun.

On May 4, James Madison announces to the U.S. House of Representatives that he will propose amendments to the Constitution.

The House receives New York's call for a second convention on May 6. It is ordered to be "entered on the journal, and carefully preserved by the clerk of this House, among the files in his office."

On June 8, James Madison presents to Congress a proposal for amendments to the Constitution. He has used the amendments proposed by the states, including New York, as his model.

On September 25, Congress adopts twelve amendments to the Constitution and they are submitted to the states for their ratification. The last ten of these amendments is the Bill of Rights.

1791

On December 15, the Bill of Rights is adopted by three-quarters of the states and becomes part of the Constitution.