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HISTORY OF OHIO
EVOLUTION OF OHIO'S CONSTITUTION
The state constitutions are the oldest things in the history of America, for they are the continuations and representatives of royal charters, whereby the earliest English settlements in America were created, and under which their several local governments were established, subject to the authority of the English crown and ultimately of the British parliament. But, like most of the institutions under which English speaking people now live, they have a pedigree which goes back to a time anterior to the discovery of America itself. It begins with the English trades guild of the middle ages, itself the child of still more ancient corporations, dating back to the days of imperial Rome and formed under her imperishable law.
The earliest British colonies of America, of which the original thirteen states were the direct descendants, were those of Virginia and Massachusetts Bay. The former was chartered in 1609 under the title of "the Treasurer and Company of Adventurers and Planters of the City of London for the first colony of Virginia.” The latter, in 1628, under the title of the “Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New England.” When the American Colonies declared their independence in 1776, their charters, under the British crown, became their constitutions under the Republic, in most instances with material and extensive modifications, but in the case of three states, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, with no change except to substitute the authority of the state—the people, for that of the crown. These "charterconstitutions" remained in force in Massachusetts till 1870, in Connecticut till 1818, and in Rhode Island till 1842. The constitutions of the original states have served as a guide to the people of the states subsequently admitted, but they all bear distinctive evidence of their common origin.
The relation of the states to the general government is, however, quite different in some respects from that of the British colonies to the crown. The latter derive all their powers from the British government, which reserves authority to alter charters and vote laws at its will. Our central government at Washington may, it is true, specify the character of the constitution of a new state seeking admission into the Union, and this power has been used, notably in the case of our own state and Utah and more recently on the occasion of the admission of Arizona, but it can not alter a state constitution once adopted, or veto a law enacted under its provisions. The Constitution of the United States, to the extent of its expressed and implied powers, is supreme, but there its authority ends; for it expressly declares that “the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The Constitution of the United States does not specifically provide the manner in which new states shall become members of the general government. It simply declares that “new states may be admitted by the Congress into this Union”; but no new state shall be formed or created within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of Congress.
While the mode of aumission has varied somewhat, it has usually been in accordance with the following form: A territory having sufficient population sends a petition to Congress, asking permission to form a state constitution preparatory to admission into the Union. Congress passes an enabling act granting the request. The people of the territory then hold a convention, form a constitution and usually submit it to the people for approval or rejection. Ohio, as we shall see, was an exception in the last of these conditions. Her fixed constitution was not such mitted to popular vote. After the constitution has been provisionally adopted, it is sent to Congress for approval. If the preliminary action on the part of the territory seeking admission has been satisfactory to that body and the new constitution is free from serious objection, Congress admits the new state into the Union. The constitution is therefore a compact freely approved and entered into by the State and the Nation. Once adopted, it can be revised or amended only by the state.
DIVISIONS OF A STATE CONSTITUTION
1. The enacting clause or preamble.
5. The schedule.
Following is the enacting clause of our first state constitution:
We, the people of the Eastern Division of the Territory of the United States, northwest of the River Ohio, having the right of admission into the general government, as a member of the Union, consistent with the Constitution of the United States, the ordinance of Congress of one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and the law of Congress entitled "An act to enable the people of the Eastern Division of the Territory of the United States northwest of the River Ohio, to form a constitution and state government, and for the admission of such state into the Union, on an equal footing with the original states, and for other purposes," in order to establish justice, promote the welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish the following constitution or form of government; and do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and independent state, by the name of the State of Ohio.