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Tennessee | The drafting of the 1835 Tennessee State Constitution

Tennessee | The drafting of the 1835 Tennessee State Constitution

Tennessee | The drafting of the 1835 Tennessee State Constitution


Annotated draft copies of the Tennessee Constitution, with printed amendments, instructions, and extensive handwritten notes from the 1824 State Constitutional Convention. [Knoxville: np, 1834]

Folios (325 x 205 mm and 335 x 205 mm) and leaves of handwritten notes (approx. 336 x 103 mm folded). 90 printed pages, extensive handwritten annotations, 4 leaves of handwritten notes, 3 of which folded; some moderate toning, scattered foxing, a few short closed tears and chips. 4 gatherings string tied, other leaves loose. In a quarter blue morocco slipcase, with folding chemise.

Remarkable material documenting the development of the 1835 Tennessee State ConstitutionContaining a printed copy of the 1796 Constitution with marginalia; a printed document outlining the duties of the Convention's president and the rules for the debate; two copies of printed drafts of Articles II through XI, one heavily annotated, the other with the last two leaves annotated; printed draft of Articles VI through X annotated with corrections; printed revision instructions for Articles II through the Schedule; an amended copy of the constitution following the revisions; what is perhaps a final draft of the complete constitution; and several pages of extensive, contemporary handwritten notes on the constitutional amendments, ostensibly written during the convention.

Tennessee's first constitution was adopted in 1796, which Thomas Jefferson reportedly described as the "least imperfect and most republican of the state constitutions." Nonetheless the need for revision grew pressing over time, as the population of the state grew, and as the original document had failed to create a supreme court, among other legislative issues.

Despite efforts from abolitionists, the petition to end slavery in the state was rejected by the delegates. In fact, the delegates further restricted suffrage to white men, when free Black men had previously possessed voting rights under the original constitution. The present constitution would remain in effect until Reconstruction.

A powerful glimpse into the drafting of the second constitution of the State of Tennessee

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