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42

Pennsylvania | The first independent state constitution issued after the Declaration of Independence

Estimate:

25,000 - 35,000 USD

Pennsylvania | The first independent state constitution issued after the Declaration of Independence

Pennsylvania | The first independent state constitution issued after the Declaration of Independence

Estimate:

25,000 - 35,000 USD

Lot sold:

100,800

USD

Pennsylvania

The Constitution of the Common-Wealth of Pennsylvania, as Established by the General Convention Elected for that Purpose, and Held at Philadelphia, July 15th, 1776, and Continued by Adjournments to September 28, 1776. Philadelphia: John Dunlap, 1776


8vo (197 x 127 mm). Small, faint dampstain in top margin of first quire. Quarter calf antique over marbled boards, red morocco label.


First edition of the first independent state constitution issued after the Declaration of Independence. Although the Pennsylvania constitution was not ratified until 28 September 1776, the state's constitutional convention presided over by Benjamin Franklin first convened on 15 July—just nine days after the Declaration of Independence. 


The convention produced a document that embraced direct popular rule; the charter was drafted by Robert Whitehill, Timothy Matlack, Dr. Thomas Young, George Bryan, James Cannon, and Franklin. Like the Declaration, the Pennsylvania constitution began with a preamble that inveighed against George III and his unlawful war against the Colonies. 


Some of the innovations of the constitution included voting franchise without property qualifications for all taxpaying freemen; a unicameral legislature, with members elected to one-year terms; a thirteen-member Supreme Executive Council to administer the government; and a judiciary appointed by the legislature for seven-year terms, and removable at any time. Rare: only two other copies appear in the auction records.


REFERENCE

ESTC W30512; Evans 14979; Hildeburn 33560; Sabin 60014  


PROVENANCE

The Library of a Distinguished Book Collector (Sotheby's New York, 4 June 2013, lot 125)

Condition as described in catalogue entry.


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