In order to make the United States Constitution legally binding, it had to be ratified or formally approved by conventions of at least nine of the then thirteen states. Article VII of the Constitution states that the “Ratification of the Conventions of nine States shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the same.” This means that the Constitution became the highest law of the land upon ratification by the convention of the ninth state. Upon ratification each state transferred limited sovereign powers to the federal government.
There were several measures that took place before the Constitution was ratified. The first step was to submit the constitution to the Confederation Congress. The Confederation Congress was to then transfer the Constitution to the state legislatures. In order to consider the Constitution, delegates were elected to conventions in each state. The purpose behind placing the constitution in the hands of selectively elected state conventions was to prevent jealousy of sovereign state officials. On June 21, 1788, the Constitution was ratified by all thirteen states: Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. If at least nine but not all thirteen states had ratified the Constitution, the states would have been split into two countries.