State constitution (United States)
In the United States, each state has its own constitution.
Usually, they are longer than the 8,500-word federal Constitution and are more detailed regarding the day-to-day relationships between government and the people. The shortest is the Constitution of Vermont, adopted in 1793 and currently 8,295 words long. The longest is Alabama's sixth and current constitution, ratified in 1901, at 357,157 words long. Both the federal and state constitutions are organic texts: they are the fundamental blueprints for the legal and political organizations of the United States and the states, respectively.
The Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, part of the Bill of Rights, provides that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Guarantee Clause of Article 4 of the Constitution states that "The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government." These two provisions indicate states did not surrender their wide latitude to adopt a constitution, the fundamental documents of state law, when the U.S. Constitution was adopted.
Typically state constitutions address a wide array of issues deemed by the states to be of sufficient importance to be included in the constitution rather than in an ordinary statute. Often modeled after the federal Constitution, they outline the structure of the state government and typically establish a bill of rights, an executive branch headed by a governor (and often one or more other officials, such as a lieutenant governor and state attorney general), a state legislature, and state courts, including a state supreme court (a few states have two high courts, one for civil cases, the other for criminal cases). Additionally, many other provisions may be included. Many state constitutions, unlike the federal constitution, also begin with an invocation of God.
Many states have had several constitutions over the course of its history.
The organized territories of the United States also have constitutions or organic acts of their own, if they have an organized government through an Organic Act passed by the federal Congress. These constitutions are subject to congressional approval and oversight, which is not the case with state constitutions. If territories wish to enter the Union (that is, to attain statehood), they seek an enabling act from Congress and must draft an acceptable state constitution as a prerequisite to statehood.
List of constitutions 
The following is a list of the current constitutions of the United States of America and its constituent political divisions. Each entry shows the original number of the current constitution, the official name of the current constitution, and the date on which the current constitution took effect.
Federal constitution 
|No.||Official name||Date of effect||Notes|
|1st||Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union||March 1, 1781|||
|2nd||Constitution of the United States of America||March 4, 1789|
State constitutions 
Note that constitutions of states that were independent prior to admission, and constitutions used by states while participating in the American Civil War are not counted.
Federal district charter 
|No.||Official name||Date of effect||Notes|
|1st||Charter of the District of Columbia||December 24, 1973|
The District of Columbia (Washington City in the District of Columbia) has a charter similar to charters of major cities, instead of having a constitution like the states and territories. The District of Columbia Home Rule Act establishes the Council of the District of Columbia which governs the entire district and has certain devolved powers similar to those of major cities. Congress has full authority over the district and may amend the charter and any legislation enacted by the Council. Attempts at statehood for the District of Columbia have included the drafting of two constitutions in 1982 and 1987 respectively referring to the district as the State of New Columbia.
Territorial constitutions 
- 1st Constitution of the Territory of American Samoa, July 1, 1967 (at Politics of American Samoa) The revised constitution was approved on June 2, 1967 by Stewart L. Udall, then U.S. Secretary of the Interior, under authority granted on June 29, 1951. It became effective on July 1, 1967.
- 1st Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, November 3, 1986. The Constitution was approved by the Congress of the United States by joint resolution approved March 24, 1976 (Public Law 94-241; 90 Stat. 263) and by a majority of the voters of American Samoa voting in the general election in 1966.
- 1st Constitution of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, July 25, 1952. It was ratified by Puerto Rico's electorate in a referendum on March 3, 1952, approved by the United States Congress and the President.
Organic acts 
- The Territory of Guam does not have its own constitution, but operates under the Guam Organic Act of 1950 and other federal statutes.
- The United States Virgin Islands, an unincorporated organized territory, does not have its own constitution, instead operating under various federal statutes. See politics of the United States Virgin Islands.
- Despite its very different title, the United States Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union, adopted on November 15, 1777, and ratified on March 1, 1781, was actually the first constitution of the United States of America. See Christian G. Fritz, American Sovereigns: The People and America's Constitutional Tradition Before the Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2008) at p. 131 [ISBN 978-0-521-88188-3 (noting that "Madison, along with other Americans clearly understood" the Articles of Confederation "to be the first federal Constitution.")
- Excludes the constitutions of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi and the Republic of Hawaiʻi.
- The Wyandotte Constitution supplanted the rejected Topeka Constitution, Lecompton Constitution, and Leavenworth Constitution.
- Excludes the 1876 recodification of the Constitution of the State of Maine.
- The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is currently the world's oldest written constitution that is still in effect.
- The first Constitution of the State of New Hampshire, adopted on January 5, 1776, was the first written constitution for an independent state in the New World and set the stage for the United States Declaration of Independence the following summer.
- Excludes the 1938 recodification of the Constitution of the State of New York.
- Excludes the 1968 recodification of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
- Excludes the constitution of the Republic of Texas.
- Excludes the two constitutions of the Vermont Republic.
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- Proclamation 4534--Constitution of the Northern Mariana Islands
- Hammons, Christopher W. (1999). Was James Madison wrong? Rethinking the American preference for short, framework-oriented constitutions. American Political Science Review. Dec. 1999.
- The appendices to this article contain substantial data on state constitutions.
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- The Green Papers: Constitutions of the states
- The Green Papers: State constitutions, an explanation
- The Green Papers: Links to state constitutions
- Citings of Religious Influence in First State Constitutions