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Ratification of the Constitution Bicentennial Issue

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22-cent Delaware single

In the spring of 1787, having found the Articles of Confederation inadequate to meet the needs of the united but loosely-knit states, fifty-five delegates from twelve of the thirteen states (Rhode Island refused to participate) assembled in Philadelphia. Their purpose: To write a constitution that strengthened the states' unity, power as a nation, and viability in the world marketplace.

Two hundred years later, on July 4, 1987, the United States Postal Service released the first of the Ratification of the Constitution Bicentennial Issue's thirteen stamps. The Issue commemorates each state's ratification of the US Constitution. The USPS released the thirteen stamps in the order that the states ratified the Constitution, with the first stamp commemorating Delaware on July 4, 1987, and the final stamp commemorating Rhode Island, released on May 29, 1990.

Three stamps issued in 1987 commemorated the first three states to vote to ratify the Constitution—Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Coincidentally not only were all three stamps issued a few months before their own state's 200th anniversary of ratification but also before the bicentennial of the signing of the Constitution by 39 of the 55 Convention delegates on September 17, 1787.

Alexander T. Haimann, National Postal Museum

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