Did you know North Carolina and Rhode Island were both independent countries for a short while even after the Constitution was ratified? Article 7 established the requirements for putting the new Constitution into effect. “The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.” Notice an important point here, ratification by those nine states didn’t automatically force the four non-ratifying states into the union. They would continue to exist independently until they ratified. And if a state never did ratify, it would never become part of the Union. There was no mechanism to force reluctant states into the Union. New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the Constitution on June 21, 1788, officially enacting it and forming the union. Five days later, Virginia ratified, followed by New York on July 26. On Aug. 2nd, the North Carolina ratifying convention voted 185-84 to adjourn without ratifying. The 11 states that had ratified agreed the new government established under the Constitution would go into effect on March 4, 1789. But North Carolina and Rhode Island held out. In fact, Rhode Island held out for more than a year after the establishment of the new government. During that time, these two states were not part of the Union and were not subject to the federal government. Neither state sent representatives to the First Congress when it convened in March of 1789. North Carolina finally ratified the Constitution and joined the Union on Nov. 21, 1789. Rhode Island didn’t ratify until May 29th of the next year, and even then by the slimmest margin, a vote of 34-32. So, initially, the Union was made up of 11 states, with North Carolina and Rhode Island existing as independent, self-governing republics.