Who voted for the specially elected state conventions to ratify the constitution?

Ratification began when the proposed constitution was presented to each state’s specially elected conventions to vote on. How were these conventions populated? I have found reference to “conventions of the people” but I don’t know who “the people” were. I have also read that in that election, anyone could vote, with no tests for property ownership, or anything else. So how did the delegates to these conventions get chosen? Who voted for them? Who ran for them? Any good sources? I haven’t found anything that informs me. Any help, Dopers? xo,

Interesting question. I’ve been looking around with very little luck. It’s clear that the state legislatures appointed the delegates to the Philadelphia convention, but I haven’t found out yet how the individual state conventions that ratified the Constitution were selected

Looks like each state elected a certain number of representatives per county

Presumably, anyone eligible to vote for the legislature would have been eligible to vote for delegates (note that for New Jersey that included women and African Americans Did You Know: Women and African Americans Could Vote in NJ before the 15th and 19th Amendments? (U.S. National Park Service))

I only find this: In Myth America, the authors suggest that the delegates to the state conventions were elected by almost the entire population - their point being that the adoption of the Constitution was an especially democratic process, contrary to assertions to the contrary. “In eight of the thirteen states, ordinary property qualifications (either to vote for convention delegates or to run as a delegate or both) were lowered or eliminated. In no state were property qualifications raised for this special once-in-a-lifetime ratification experience. In New York, for example, all adult free male citizens could vote for convention delegates - no race tests, no property tests, no religious tests, no literacy tests. …they were special rules - especially democratic rules - designed for an especially democratic ratification process.”

ChatGPT3.5 claims that of the 13 states, only Georgia’s ratifying convention delegates were appointed directly by the state legislature. “The delegates were chosen based on their political affiliations and their support for the Constitution.”

Take that with a big grain of salt; My googling couldn’t come up with anything quickly to confirm or refute that.

I did a quick spot check of one of the claimed facts from that, and found William Houstoun’s wikipedia article mentions he was a delegate sent to the original Philadelphia 1787 convention, but it doesn’t mention his participation in the ratification convention at all.

When you leave out all the women, you already don’t have “almost the entire population.”

All adult* free* male* citizens*; restrictions apply

To answer such questions, see the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution of the United States, a monster 36-volume (that’s right, 36 volumes) collection, published over a period of decades by the Center for the Study of the American Constitution, and available online.

As an example of how it can answer questions, a very quick search shows that the Georgia Legislature absolutely did not appoint delegates to its convention. They were elected by the people on December 4, 1787.

I would need more time to look up any changes to ordinary suffrage requirements that may or may not have been made in all 13 states. The states varied significantly in their existing suffrage requirements so any changes made would have been starting from a different point in each state.

The Rhode Island legislature refused to call a convention election until 1790. Every other state called and held its election in late 1787 or early 1788.

Beautiful! Thank you.

A scan of the resolutions calling the conventions confirms that New York waived its property qualification for voting to elect delegates, but that no other state (among the states that had such a qualification) did so. In every other state, the qualifications for voters to vote for the state House of Representatives simply carried over to the delegate vote.

The New York waiver seems to have attracted relatively little debate. I suspect, but can’t prove, that the anti-federalists than dominant in New York adopted it as a roadblock to the Constitution, in the belief that property-less riff-raff would be less likely to support the Constitution than men of means.