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Presidents from Virginia


Governor Alexander Spotswood
Governor Alexander Spotswood

Virginia played a leading role in creating the Constitution of the United States, initiating the conferences that led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Virginia delegate James Madison contributed so much of the substance of the document that he is known as the Father of the Constitution.

Because of Virginia’s size and influence, its ratification of the Constitution was essential. However, many distinguished Virginians, including Patrick Henry and Richard Henry Lee, opposed ratification. After a long and bitter debate, the Virginia Convention accepted the Constitution by a narrow ten-vote margin on June 25, 1788, with the understanding that amendments would be added incorporating a Bill of Rights.

Virginia was the tenth state to ratify the Constitution and therefore, the tenth to enter the federal Union. John Marshall, a Virginian who was chief justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1801 to 1835, strengthened the Constitution with his decisions. Also, four of the new nation’s first five presidents were Virginians: George Washington (1789-1797), Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809), James Madison (1809-1817), and James Monroe (1817-1825). These men are sometimes called the Virginia Dynasty.

The Treaty of Paris in 1783 recognized Virginia’s claim to the vast Northwest Territory, which included the Great Lakes. One year later, however, Virginia agreed to surrender this area to the federal government. In 1792 the Virginia county of Kentucky entered the Union as a separate state. "Virginia" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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