Cat. 09

Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

Curator Commentary

In addition to voting on ratification of their constitution, the people of Massachusetts embraced another innovation. They agreed that constitutions should be written by special conventions of the people which would have no vested interest in maintaining the governing status quo.  This could more likely secure the people’s liberties and promote their happiness. Such a convention wrote Massachusetts’ 1780 constitution, whose preamble declared it the work of “We, […] the people.”

This is an early printing of the first Massachusetts state constitution.  It served as an important model for the framing of subsequent state constitutions as well as the U. S. Constitution.

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