Article VII, ConstitutionArticle. VII.
The Ratification of the Conventions of nine States, shall be sufficient for the Establishment of this Constitution between the States so ratifying the Same.
The Word, "the," being interlined between the seventh and eighth Lines of the first Page, the Word "Thirty" being partly written on an Erazure in the fifteenth Line of the first Page, The Words "is tried" being interlined between the thirty second and thirty third Lines of the first Page and the Word "the" being interlined between the forty third and forty fourth Lines of the second Page.
Attest [signed] William Jackson Secretary
done in Convention by the Unanimous Consent of the States present the Seventeenth Day of September in the Year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and Eighty seven and of the Independance of the United States of America the Twelfth In witness whereof
We have hereunto subscribed our Names,
Presidt and deputy from Virginia
Gunning Bedford jun
Dan of St Thos. Jenifer
James Madison Jr.
Richd. Dobbs Spaight
Charles Cotesworth Pinckney
Wm. Saml. Johnson
This seemingly simple Article had lots of disagreeing Founders - debating once again the same issues they had debated throughout the Convention for five months - the republican principle of democratic representation.
How many layers/levels between the franchised voters (at that time free and freeholding white adult males) and the governors and executors of State and Federal governments?
Should State legislatures be required to ratify?
Or State executives (governors)?
Or a special convention of delegates elected solely for that purpose?
Or the voters with suffrage directly?
First, the mandate from Congress which established the Convention, which did NOT establish the number of States necessary to approve any amendments. The Congress in 1787, then under the Articles of Confederation, required unanimity of all 13 States* for major decisions:
RESOLUTION OF CONGRESS
RESOLVED that in the opinion of Congress it is expedient that on the second Monday in May next a Convention of delegates who shall have been appointed by the several states be held at Philadelphia for the sole and express purpose of revising the Articles of Confederation and reporting to Congress and the several legislatures such alterations and provisions therein as shall when agreed to in Congress and confirmed by the states render the federal constitution adequate to the exigencies of Government & the preservation of the Union. RESOLVED: February 21, 1787
Then the debates and discussions in the Convention itself, where the republican principle of majority rule* [only 9 States needed to ratify] and representative government won out: http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/a7s2.html
And although the wording in Article VII states "Unanimous Consent" - which is literally accurate as to the signatories from the 12 States present - in fact a number of delegates to the Convention DID NOT approve:
Connecticut, Oliver Ellsworth (Elsworth)
Georgia, William Houston and William L. Pierce
Maryland, Martin Luther and John F. Mercer
Massachusetts, Elbridge Gerry
New Jersey, William áC. Houston
New York*, John Lansing, Jr. and John Yates
North Carolina, William R. Davie and Alexander Martin
Virginia, George Mason, James McClurg, Edmund J. Randolph and George Wythe.
*Rhode Island's government had not seen fit to even send any delegates to the Convention. áThis fact, plus the fact that 2 of the 3 New York delegates had left in disgust after the July 5th vote to move away from Congress' mandate to amend the Articles of Confederation, and instead write a totally new Constituion, were strong indicators that a unanimous ratification might never be achieved! áThus the "majority rule" of 9 States was both philosophical and pragmatic.