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The Mississippi Constitution of 1817

Introduction

On March 1, 1817, President James Madison signed legislation enabling inhabitants of the western portion of the Mississippi Territory to form for themselves a constitution and State government, and to assume such name as they shall deem proper; and the said State, when formed, shall be admitted into the Union upon the same footing with the original States, in all respects whatever.

The forty-eight convention delegates elected pursuant to the enabling act assembled at Washington, Mississippi, on July 7, 1817. After deliberating for one month and eight days, they adopted the first Mississippi Constitution on August 15, 1817. Forty-five delegates signed the Constitution; one refused to sign, one was absent because of illness, and one had died during the convention.

There was no popular referendum to ratify this Constitution.

Read the 1817 Mississippi Constitution

John Ray Skates, Ph.D., professor emeritus of history, University of Southern Mississippi.

Posted August 2000

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