The convention was held in Hillsborough, North Carolina at the St. Matthew's Episcopal (Church of England) Church. The church was located on lot 98 in Hillsborough. It was also the location of the third Provincial Congress of North Carolina of 1775, and the meeting place of the North Carolina Legislature in 1778, 1782 and 1783. The church was destroyed by fire before 1800s. A new structure was built on the site in 1814 which became the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church in 1816.
Key state Federalists were James Iredell Sr., William Richardson Davie, and William Blount. Anti-federalist leaders included Willie Jones, Samuel Spencer, and Timothy Bloodworth. The Anti-Federalist delegates outnumbered their Federalist colleagues by a margin of two-to-one. The Federalists wanted to strengthen the powers of the federal government to help the country keep from dissolving. They argued that the powers granted to the federal government in the Articles of Confederation were not sufficient. On the other side, the Anti-Federalists were suspicious of the federal government, and did not want self-rule to come under fire from a government that could intrude on state and individual rights. Knowing that they would likely lose, members of the Federalist minority brought a stenographer to the convention to record their arguments for publication in hopes of changing public opinion in the future.
The debate resulted in the delegates voting 184 to 84 to neither ratify nor reject the Constitution. One of the major reasons why North Carolina didn’t ratify the Constitution was the lack of a Bill of Rights. The delegates did however propose a series of amendments that would protect personal liberties and urged the new federal Congress to adopt measures that would incorporate a bill of rights into the Constitution. North Carolina would not join the Union until after it ratified the Constitution, more than a year later, at the November 1789 Fayetteville Convention.
Richard Dobbs Spaight, Craven County delegate
William Richardson Davie, Halifax delegate
later Gov. Benjamin Smith, Brunswick delegate
Willie Jones, Halifax delegate
Benjamin Williams, Craven delegate
William Lenoir, Wilkes delegate
Joseph Graham, Mecklenburg delegate
James Kenan, Duplin delegate
Joseph McDowell, Jr, Burke delegate
Richard Caswell, Dobbs delegate
James Iredell, Edenton delegate
There were 294 known delegates from the 59 counties and seven boroughs of North Carolina. Some counties (Greene, Sullivan, Sumner, Tennessee, Washington) later became part of the state of Tennessee in 1796. The election of delegates from Dobbs County was declared invalid because of violence that led to the loss of the ballot box.
^Cavanagh, John C. (2006). "Convention of 1788". NCpedia. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
^"Hillsborough Convention of 1788". NorthCarolinahistory.org An Online Encyclopedia. North Carolina History Project. Retrieved February 20, 2017.
^"Church History". Hillsborough Presbyterian Church. Hillsborough, North Carolina. Retrieved December 3, 2015.
^"New Plaque Honors NC Leaders Who Did Not Sign Constitution Until Bill Of Rights Added". WUNC91.5. November 17, 2014.
^"Marker G-131, Constitutional Convention 1788". NCMarkers.com. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
^"July 21, 2013: Hillsborough Convention Fails to Ratify Constitution". This Day in North Carolina History. North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Retrieved December 1, 2015.
^Watson, Alan (2011). General Benjamin Smith: A Biography of the North Carolina Governor. McFarland. p. 52. ISBN 978-0786461561.
^"Fayette Convention of 1789". NorthCarolinaHistory.org. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
^John C. Cavanaugh, Decision at Fayetteville (Raleigh, 1989)
^William Price, Jr., "’There Ought to Be a Bill of Rights’: North Carolina Enters a New Nation," in The Bill of Rights and the States, ed. Patrick T. Conley and John Kaminski (Lanham, Maryland, 1992)
^Louise Irby Trenholme, The Ratification of the Federal Constitution in North Carolina (Columbia, Missouri, 1932)
^"Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of North-Carolina, Convened at Hillsborough, on Monday the 21st Day of July, 1788, for the Purpose of Deliberating and Determining on the Constitution Recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, the 17th Day of September, 1787: To Which is Prefixed the Said Constitution:". 1788. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
^Counties were not listed for the delegates in the minutes, so the 1904 Manual was used.
^Connor, Henry Grove (August 1904). "The Convention of 1788‑'89 and the Federal Constitution — Hillsborough and Fayetteville". Retrieved July 29, 2019.
^ abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzaaabacadConnor, R.D.D. (1913). A Manual of North Carolina (PDF). Raleigh: North Carolina Historical Commission. p. 863-. Retrieved April 27, 2019.
Gillespie, Michael Allen Gillespie (1989). Liensch, Michael (ed.). North Carolina: Preserving Rights. Ratifying the Constitution.
Price, William S. (1991). The Bill of Rights and North Carolina: There Ought to be a Bill of Rights.
North Carolina. Convention (1788) "Proceedings and Debates of the Convention of North-Carolina, Convened at Hillsborough, ..", Documenting the American South (DocSouth), a digital publishing initiative sponsored by the University Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill