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Encyclopedia > Massachusetts Constitution

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It was written by John Adams, Samuel Adams, and James Bowdoin. The constitution was adopted in 1780 and is the oldest functioning written constitution in the world. Official language(s) English Capital Boston Largest city Boston Area  Ranked 44th  - Total 10,555 sq mi (27,360 km²)  - Width 183 miles (295 km)  - Length 113 miles (182 km)  - % water 13. ... John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was a politician and Founding Father of the United States of America who served both as that nations first Vice President (1789–1797), and as its second President (1797–1801). ... Samuel Adams (September 27, 1722 – October 2, 1803) was the chief Massachusetts leader of the Patriot cause leading to the American Revolution. ... James Bowdoin (August 7, 1726 – November 6, 1790) was an American political and intellectual leader from Boston, Massachusetts during the American Revolution. ...


The Massachusetts Constitution was the last of the first set of the state constitutions to be written. Consequently, it was more sophisticated than many of the other documents. Among the improvements was the structure of the document itself: instead of just a listing of provisions, it had a structure of chapters, sections, and articles. This structure was replicated by the US Constitution. It also had substantial influence on the subsequent revisions of many of the other state constitutions.


The Massachusetts Constitution has four parts: a preamble, a declaration of rights, a description of the framework of government, and articles of amendment.

Contents

Preamble

The preamble of the constitution bears some resemblence to the United States Constitution's in a few phrases near the end. It is as follows: The United States Constitution is the supreme law of the United States of America. ...

   
“
The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquillity their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.

The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them. Image File history File links Cquote1. ...


We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

   
”

Image File history File links Cquote2. ...

Part the First: A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

This part consists of thirty articles, the first of which states:

   
“
Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
   
”

This article was later amended to substitute the word "people" for the word "men". Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ...


Part the Second: The Frame of Government

This part begins thus:

   
“
Article I. The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives: each of which shall have a negative on the other.
   
”

Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ...

Articles of Amendment

As of 2003, there are 120 Articles of Amendment. 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


References

Wikisource has original text related to this article:
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1780)
  • Speaking of John Adams, historian David McCullough, said, "... he also drafted the oldest written Constitution still in use in the world today -- the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, written 10 years before our own Constitution, and had great influence on the national Constitution." White House (Nov. 1, 2000), Remarks by the President and Historian David McCullough at Ceremony of 200th Anniversary of the White House. Press Release
  • Wikisource:Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (1780)

Image File history File links Wikisource-logo. ... The original Wikisource logo. ... David McCullough (mÉ™-kÅ­lÉ™) (born July 7, 1933) is an American historian and bestselling author. ...

External link

  • Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts — Full text as provided by Massachusetts government.
Constitutions of the U.S. States and Territories
States Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming
Territories American Samoa | Guam | Northern Mariana Islands | Puerto Rico | United States Virgin Islands

Bianca and Kristin 2006 In the context of the United States of America, a state constitution is the governing document of a U.S. state, comparable to the U.S. Constitution which is the governing document of the United States. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries â€¢ Politics Portal      A state of the United States is any one of the fifty subnational entities referred to... The Alabama Constitution is the basic governing document of the U.S. state of Alabama. ... // The Alaska Constitution is the constitution of the U.S. state of Alaska. ... The Arizona Constitution is the governing document and framework for the State of Arizona. ... The Arkansas Constitution is the governing document of the U.S. state of Arkansas. ... The California Constitution is the document that establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of the U.S. state of California. ... Official language(s) English Capital Denver Largest city Denver Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 8th 269,837 km² 451 km 612 km 0. ... The Connecticut Constitution is the basic governing document of the U.S. state of Connecticut. ... The Delaware Constitution of 1897 is the fourth and current governing document for Delaware state government and has been in effect since its adoption on June 4, 1897. ... The Great Seal of the State of Florida The Florida Constitution is the document that establishes and describes the duties, powers, structure and function of the government of the U.S. state of Florida, and establishes the basic law of the state. ... The Constitution of Hawaii refers to various legal documents throughout the history of the Hawaiian Islands that defined the fundamental principles of authority and governance within its sphere of jurisdiction. ... Official language(s) English Capital Boise Largest city Boise Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 14th 216,632 km² 491 km 771 km 0. ... The Illinois Constitution is the governing body of the state of Illinois. ... The Kansas Constitution was originally known as the Wyandotte Constitution to distinguish it from three proposed constitutions that preceded it. ... Official language(s) English Capital Frankfort Largest city Louisville Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 37th 104,749 km² 225 km 610 km 1. ... The Louisiana Constitution is the governing document of the U.S. state of Louisiana. ... The Great Seal of Maryland The current Constitution of Maryland, which was ratified by the people of the state on September 18, 1867, forms the basic law for the U.S. state of Maryland. ... The Michigan Constitution is the governing document of the state of Michigan. ... The Constitution of the State of Minnesota was initially approved by the residents of Minnesota Territory in a special election held on October 13, 1857, and was ratified by the United States Senate on May 11, 1858, marking the admittance of Minnesota to the Union. ... The constitution of Mississippi is the governing document of Mississippi. ... Within Missouri, there are three levels of government: state government county city Missouris state capital is Jefferson City lying approximately halfway between its two largest cities, St. ... The Montana Constitution is the primary legal document providing for the self-governance of the U.S. State of Montana. ... Official language(s) English Capital Lincoln Largest city Omaha Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 16th 200,520 km² 340 km 690 km 0. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: New Hampshire Constitution The New Hampshire State Constitution is the primary governing document of the State of New Hampshire ratified on June 2, 1784. ... The Constitution of the State of New Jersey is the basic governing document of the State of New Jersey. ... CONSTITUTION OF NEW YORK, 1777 New York State Constitution Current through January 1, 2004 Categories: | | | | ... The North Carolina Constitution governs the structure and function of the North Carolina state government. ... State nickname: Peace Garden State, Roughrider State, Flickertail State Other U.S. States Capital Bismarck Largest city Fargo Governor John Hoeven Official languages English Area 183 272 km² (19th)  - Land 178 839 km²  - Water 4 432 km² (2. ... The Ohio Constitution is the basic governing document of the State of Ohio, which in 1803 became the 17th state to join the United States of America. ... Great Seal of the State of Oklahoma The Constitution of the State of Oklahoma is the governing document of the state of Oklahoma, superseded only by the Federal Constitution. ... The Oregon Constitution is a U.S. state constitution, the governing document of the American state of Oregon. ... The current Constitution of Pennsylvania, most recently revised in 1968, forms the law for the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. ... The South Carolina Constitution is the governing document of South Carolina. ... The Tennessee State Constitution defines the form, structure, activities, character, and fundamental rules (and means for changing them) of the U.S. State of Tennessee. ... The Texas Constitution is the document that describes the structure and function of the government of Texas. ... Official language(s) English Capital Salt Lake City Largest city Salt Lake City Area  - Total  - Width  - Length  - % water  - Latitude  - Longitude Ranked 13th 219,887 km² 435 km 565 km 3. ... The Vermont Constitution is the governing document of the U.S. state of Vermont. ... The Constitution of Virginia is a United States state constitution. ... The Washington Constitution is the document that describes the structure and function of the government of the state of Washington. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Constitution of Wisconsin The Wisconsin Constitution is the governing document of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. ... United States territory is any extent of region under the jurisdiction of the federal government of the United States, including all waters (around islands or continental tracts). ...


  Results from FactBites:
 
Massachusetts Constitution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (385 words)
The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is the fundamental governing document of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The constitution was adopted in 1780 and is the oldest functioning written constitution in the world.
It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them.
Massachusetts - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4145 words)
Massachusetts is bordered on the north by New Hampshire and Vermont; on the west by New York; on the south by Connecticut and Rhode Island; and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean.
Massachusetts is known as the Bay State because of the several large bays that give its coastline its distinctive shape: Massachusetts Bay and Cape Cod Bay on the state's east coast, and Buzzards Bay to the south.
Massachusetts was initially founded and settled by staunch Puritans in the 17th century and remained a majority-Yankee state for most of its history.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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