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HISTORY OF THE SEVERAL CONSTITUTIONS OF

PENNSYLVANIA.

DATES OF CONVENTIONS AND TIME OF ADOPTION.

Constitution of 1776.

The Constitution of Pennsylvania of 1776 was inspired by the following resolution passed by the Continental Congress :

"In Congress, May 15, 1776. Whereas, His Britannic Majesty, in conjunction with the lords and commons of Great Britain, has by a late act of parliament, excluded the inhabitants of these United Colonies from the protection of his crown: And whereas, no answer whatever, to the humble petitions of the colonies for redress of grievances and reconciliation with Great Britain, has been, or is likely to be given, but the whole force of that kingdom, aided by foreign mercenaries, is to be exerted for the destruction of the good people of these colonies : And whereas, it appears absolutely irrecone cilable to reason and good conscience, for the people of these colonies, now to take the oaths and affirmations necessary for the support of any government, under the crown of Great Britain; and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of authority, under the said crown should be totally suppressed, and all the powers of government exerted, under the authority of the people of the colonies, for the preser vation of internal peace, virtue and good order, as well as for the defense of their lives, liberties and properties, against the hostile invasions and cruel depredations of their enemies. Therefore,

Resolved, That it be recommended to the respective assemblies and conventions of the United Colonies, where no government sufficient to the exigencies of their affairs, has been hitherto established, to adopt such government as shall in the opinion of the representatives of the people, best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents in particular, and America in general.

By order of the Congress,

JOHN HANCOCK, President." In accordance with this resolution and a call issued thereunder by the committee of the city and liberties of Philadelphia, 103 deputies were appointed by the committees of the city of Philadelphia and the several counties of the province, to meet in provincial conference. Ninety-seven of the deputies convened at Carpenter's Hall, in Philadelphia, on June 18, and elected Thomas McKean president of the conference. They continued in session until June 25, 1776, and unanimously agreed that a provincial convention should be called for the purpose of forming a new government in the province, and fixed Monday, July 8, as the time for the election of the members of the convention.

The convention was composed of pinety-six members and was in session in Philadelphia from July 15 to September 28, 1776. Benjamin Franklin was the president of the body. The "Bill of Rights and Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania" adopted was committed to the charge of the Council of Safety, with directions to deliver the same to the General Assembly of the State, at their first meeting, immediately after they had chosen their speaker.

Constitution of 1790. On March 24, 1789, the General Assembly, which then consisted of but one House, viz: the House of Representatives, passed a resolution submitting to the people the question of calling a convention to draft a new Constitution. At the following election the majority of votes cast favored the calling of such convention The General Assembly, on September 14, 1789, then passed a resolution recommending that the people of the Commonwealth should at the succeeding election choose delegates to a constitutional convention to meet on November 24, 1789.

Sixty-nine delegates were elected to this convention, which assembled in Philadelphia on the above date. Thomas Mifflin was elected president of the convention. The convention completed the drafting of the new Constitution and adjourned finally on September 2, 1790.

Constitution of 1888. By an act approved April 14, 1835, the qualified electors were permitted to voto at the next following general election for or against calling a constitutional convention. The proposition was carried. The act of March 29, 1836, prescribed the time of meeting of the convention and fixed Friday, November 4, 1836, as the day on which delegates should be elected. The convention was composed of 133 members, and assembled at the capitol at Harrisburg on May 2, 1837. John Ser geant, of Philadelphia, was elected president. On November 23, the convention adjourned to meet on November 28, in Musical Fund Hall, in Phila:!olphia, where, on February 22, 1838, the amended Constitution was adopted and signed. It was

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submitted to the electors and ratified by them at an election held on October 9, 1838, there being 113,971 votes in favor of and 112,759 against its adoption. The alterations and amendments went into effect on January 1, 1839. Amendments to this Constitution were adopted in 1850, 1857, 1864 and 1872.

Constitution of 1878. By an act approved June 2, 1871, the question of calling a convention for the purpose of forming a new Constitution was submitted to the people on October 10, 1871, and was favorably decided by a vote of 316,097 for and 69,715 against. The act regulating the holding of the convention was approved April 11, 1872, the number of delegates was fixed at one hundred and thirty-three, and they were elected on October 8, 1872. The convention met in the House of Representatives at Har risburg on November 12, 1872, and adjourned November 27, to meet in Philadel. phia, January 7, 1873, where the balance of its sessions were held. William M. Meredith, of Philadelphia, was elected president. He died August 17, 1873, during an adjournment. The convention on reconvening September 16 elected as his successor John H. Walker, of Erie county, who had served during the previous sest sions as president pro tem. On November 3, 1873, the convention finished its work of drafting the present Constitution. It was submitted to the people at an election held December 16, 1873, and adopted by a vote of 253,744 to 108,594. This constitution went into effect January 1, 1874.

Amendmonto to Constitution of 1873. On November 5, 1901, Section 1, of Article 8, by a yote of 214,798 for, and 45,601 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1901.

On November 5, 1901, Section 4, of Article 8, by a vote of 194,053 for, and 41,203 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1901.

On November 5, 1901, Section 7, Article 8, by a vote of 180,521 for, and 48,634 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 3 of 1901.

On November 2, 1909, Section 8, of Article 4, by a vote of 165,741 for, and 150,281 against, was amended, and is designated as amendment No. 1 of 1909. On

November 2, 1909, Section 21. of Article 4, by a vote of 164,352 for. and 142,385 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 11, of Article 5, by a vote of 162,689 for, and 141,203 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 3 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 12, of Article 5, by a vote of 157,958 for, and 142,335 against, was amended, and is designated as amendment No. 4 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 2, of Article 8, by a vote of 168,874 for, and 140,837 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 5 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 3, of Article 8, by a vote of 162,117 for, and 140,841 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendnient No. 6 of 1909. This amendment was amended by Amendment No. 3, which was adopted on November 4, 1913.

(On November 2, 1909. the proposed amendment to Section 14, of Article 8, by vote of 128,287 for, and 194,810 against was defeated. This proposed amendment was designated as Amendinant No. 7 of 1909.)

On November 2, 1909, Section 1, of Article 12, by a vote of 160,499 for, and 140.303 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 8 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 2, of Article 14, by a vote of 161,184 for, and 141,547 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 9 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, Section 7, of Article 14, by a vote of 159,953 for, and 140,476 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 10 of 1909.

On November 2, 1909, the Schedule to carry into operation the amendments voted for on November 2, 1909, by a vote of 147,162 for, and 141,551 against, was adopted. The act of March 2, 1911, P. L. 8, carried the amendments mentioned in this Schedule into operation and changed the date of termination of terms of city, ward, borough, township and election division officers, from December to January.

On November 7, 1911, Section 8, of Article 9, by a vote of 140,647 for, and 88,965 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1911. This amendment was amended by Amendment No. 2, which was adopted on Novem. ber 2, 1915.

On November 7, 1911, Section 6, of Article 5, by a vote of 124,678 for, and 85,421 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1911.

(On November 4, 1913, the proposed amendment to Section 4, of Article 9, by a vote of 259,042 for, and 300,435 against, was defeated. This proposed amendment was designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1913.)

(On November 4, 1913, the proposed amendment to Section 7, of Article 3, by a vote of 203,633 for, and 219,351 against, was defeated. This proposed amendment was designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1913.)

On November 4, 1913, Section 3, of Article 8, by a vote of 217,345 for, and 195,179 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 3 of 1913.

(On November 4, 1913, the proposed amendment to Section 1, of Article 0. liv a vnte of 203.976 for, and 204.095 ngrinet was defeated. This proposed amendment was designated as Amendment No. 4 of 1913.)

On November 4, 1913. Sertion 15, of Article , hv a vote of 208,063 for, and 291.605 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 5 of 1913.

(On November 2, 1915, the proposed amendment to Section, 1, of Article 8, by a vote of 385,348 for, and 441,034 against, was defeated. This proposed amendment was designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1915).

On November 2, 1915, Section 8, of Article 9, by a vote of 361.188 for, and 191,004 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1915.

On November 2, 1915, Section 21 of Article 3, by a vote of 487,135 for, and 174,168 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 3 of 1915.

On November 2, 1915, by a vote of 353,686 for, and 178,567 against, an amendment to the Constitution was adopted and is designated as Amendment No. 4 of 1915.

On November 5, 1918, Section 4, of Article 9, by a vote of 384,780 for, and 119,249 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1918.

On November 5, 1918, Section 8, of Article 9, by a vote of 262,250 for, and 123,401 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1918.

On November 2, 1920, Section 11, of Article 16, by a vote of 431,122 for, und 142,262 against, was 'amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 1 of 1920.

On November 2, 1920, Section 8, of Article 9, by a vote of 373,643 for, and 144,512 against, was amended, and is designated as Amendment No. 2 of 1920.

THE STATE CAPITAL AND CAPITOL BUILDINGS.

Former and Present Location of State Capital. William Penn, "proprietor and governor," located at Chester, October 28. 1682. The first Assembly of the Province was held there a few weeks later, and the "Great Law” was passed. The following year the government was established in Philadelphia, which remained the Capital until 1799. By the act of April 3, 1799, Lancaster became the capital on the first Monday of November, 1799. On February 21, 1810, an act was approved requiring that the offices of the State government, during the month of October, 1812, be moved to Harrisburg, which, by said act, was fixed and declared to be the seat of government. On February 7, 1812, a supplement was passed to this act providing that the removal should be made in April, 1812, and, accordingly, the offices were removed about April 1, 1812, and Harrisburg from that time has continued to be the capital of the State.

The Capitol Buildings at Harrisburg. An act passed March 18, 1816, P. L. 1.18, provided for the erection of a State Capitol at Harrisburg, Under this act, two wings of the building were built. A supplemental act was passed January 27, 1819, P. L. 43, provided for the completion of the building. This was further supplemented by an act passed March 28, 1820, P. L. 134.

The Legislature occupied the new building on January 2, 1821, apparently without further action than a joint meeting for prayer.

An act passed March 30, 1821, P. L. 157, supplemented by an act passed January 23, 1822, P. L. 5, provided for furnishing the new Capitol.

The appropriation acts of 1864, P. L. 250 and 1013, provided for the build'ng of an extension to the building. The appropriation acts of April 11, 1866, P. L. 81, and April 11, 1867, P. L. 18, provided for the completion of the wing used for the library.

A new building for the use of th« library and other departments wis arthorized by an act passed April 11, 1867, P. L. 17. This building was completed during 1894; cornerstone laid December 15, 1893.

The main building of the Capitol was destroyed by fire at noon February 2, 1897, the Legislature had been in session, and on the following day, February third, the Senate met in the Supreme Court room, located in the south wing, and the House assembled in the United States District Court room, in the post office building. Sessions of the two Houses were held February third and February fourth in these rooms; arrangements having been made the Legislature, on February eighth and for the balance of the session of 1897, occupied Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, Harrisburg,

The act of April 14, 1897, P. L. 19, supplemented by the act of July 18, 1901, P. L. 713, authorized the erect on of the present building, excavations for which were commenced May 2, 1898; a cornerstone was laid August 10, 1898, but later this was not considered representative of the proposed building, hence on May 5, 1904, a new stone was laid on the corner to the right of the main entrance, and the building rapidly constructed and dedicated October 4, 1906.

Four regular sessions of the Legislature were held in the Capitol during the construction period, viz:-1899, 1901, 1903 and 1905, also the extra session of 1906,

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