This day in history: NC voted to join the union November 21, 1789

Published November 21, 2015

by North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, November 21, 2015.

On November 21, 1789, the General Assembly, meeting in Fayetteville, ratified the United States Constitution, making North Carolina the twelfth state.

The process was not easy, however, considering that in 1788, the General Assembly actually declined to ratify United States Constitution, suggesting many amendments and calling for a Bill of Rights.

Knowing that a second convention was to be held, George Washington wrote to the Council of State urging ratification in June 1789. On November 16, 1789, a second convention met to take up the matter again. The Constitution, with the addition of the Bill of Rights, was ratified five days into the convention.

North Carolina’s Convention Resolution adopting the Constitution, sent to George Washington by Tobias Lear. Image from the Library of Congress.

In 1778, Fayetteville constructed a large brick edifice, called the State House by its builders, to house the General Assembly in the event the town was chosen as the new state capital. However, the Convention of 1788 in Hillsborough chose Raleigh over Fayetteville as the capital. Despite this, the General Assembly did meet in Fayetteville in several times before moving permanently to Raleigh in 1793.

The State House where North Carolina became a state remained standing until 1831, when it was destroyed by a fire that devastated much of Fayetteville.

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