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This Day in Georgia History

July 24, 1778

Georgia Ratified Articles of Confederation

Georgia completed ratification of the Articles of Confederation. America’s first constitution was proposed on Nov. 15, 1777, by delegates to the Second Continental Congress meeting in York, Pennsylvania. Eight months later, on July 9, 1778, a number of delegates - acting with full authority to ratify on behalf of their respective states - ratified the Articles. However, for the Articles to go into effect, every state’s delegation had to approve. As the Revolutionary War was then under way, not all delegates were in attendance on July 9, and signing continued until March 1, 1781, when the last state ratified the Articles. Georgia’s John Walton was present on July 9, 1778, and signed the document then. Georgia’s other two delegates - Edward Telfair and Edward Langworthy - did not sign until July 24, 1778, which is the date most often used for Georgia’s ratification of the Articles. However, Georgia’s legislature appears to have unofficially ratified the Articles over a year earlier, as evidenced by a July 15, 1777 executive proclamation of Georgia Governor John Treutlen which refers to the Articles of Confederation as having already been “entered into, ratified, and confirmed by this State as a cement of union between the same and the other United and Independent States of America… .”