Talk:Constitution of Indiana

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List of delegates to 1816 convention trivia[edit]

I'm going to stick my neck out and say this list of otherwise un-notable persons shouldn't be here. A few are already named in the text. Others are available via the hatnote. If we must, I'd suggest making the list a serial list by county in the text, or moving the list into a footnote.Sbalfour (talk) 18:07, 27 January 2015 (UTC)

Separate list of delegates created August 2016; linked it to this article, the hatnote referred to a category instead of a complete list of names and the counties the delegates represented. Rosalina523 (talk) 14:09, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Criticisms and call for replacement section[edit]

Moving section from Constitution of 1816 section here until required rewrite - summarized in article. Any details retained from this should probably be integrated into the Constitutional convention subsection of Constitution of 1851 section, where a duplicate summary already exists.

Criticisms and call for replacement[edit]

Criticisms and controversies over the 1816 constitution were quick to arise. The constitution did not require secret ballots to be held and granted the legislature power to institute whatever form of balloting they chose. The issue was a political football for many years with factions alleging that the other intended to end the secret ballot.[1] As early as 1820 propositions were made to replace the constitution. Opponents criticized it because it made most government positions filled by appointment. It also only allowed local officials to be removed from office by impeachment through the General Assembly. As political parties developed in the state, they abused the process by removing opponents and preventing the removal of allies from office for political reasons. The process of impeachment was time consuming, and tended to dominate legislative sessions, thus preventing more important matters of general concern from being dealt with. Observers of the time suggested that a different process for removing officials be adopted and the power taken from the legislature.[2]

Advocates for improved public education were unhappy with the 1816 constitution, feeling it gave too much authority to the state. As the state's financial crisis deepened, schools became a low priority in the state's budget. Education advocates sought to give the local level more power over the schools while leaving the state in charge of funding which would be required.[3]

Another cause that led to the replacement of the 1816 constitution was the rapid immigration into the state in the 1840s. The Irish Famine and the European revolutions had led to a large influx of Irish and German immigrants. The 1816 constitution allowed only for US citizens, who had been citizens for five years, to vote or run for office. At that time, obtaining naturalized US citizenship took several years, so Indiana had hundreds of thousands of residents who could not vote because the federal government was slow in granting citizenship which, in the end, often prevented immigrants from participating in the political process for over a decade after their arrival.[4]

Democrats and Whigs had opposing views over the interpretation of the amendment clause of the constitution, which required that the public be consulted by poll every twelve years to decide whether the constitution should be replaced. Democrats believed a convention to revise the constitution could be called at will by the legislature, while Whigs believed any attempt to change the constitution other than once every twelve years was unconstitutional. In early state history when the Whigs were dominant, few serious attempts were made to alter the constitution. Between 1816 and 1849 the public voted five times against replacing or amending the constitution, generally by large margins. The legislature voted against doing so 14 times during the same period.[5]

The most common recurring theme of the attempts to change the constitution was to structurally change the legislature by lengthening terms and decreasing the number of legislative sessions. Another recurring theme was the situation noted above, that government officials, even local ones, could only be removed from office if impeached, and parties in power generally refused to impeach their own members. Calls to remedy this in the constitution were frequently made. A third issue was limiting the power of the legislature and granting more power to local legislative authorities.[2]

In 1846, a referendum to call a convention won by plurality on the ballot. There was general debate about whether a convention could be called, but it was finally decided by the General Assembly that a convention could only be called if a majority of all voters supported the measure.[6]

cut, paste and splice[edit]

Much of this entire article (originally) read like it was cut and pasted out of an opinionated history book, then spliced together with awkward phrases, probably by a student unfamiliar with wikipedia's neutral and scholarly tone. I checked some of the references, and they were indeed copied with only slight rewording from the sources. Considering the piecemeal assemblage, it probably doesn't raise a copyvio issue, but this isn't exemplary of the kind of scholarship we want in wikipedia. I've condensed some of the text, and deleted editorial comment and irrelevant detail (like the constitutional convention meeting in a room with a leaky roof). A redraft of the article isn't quite warranted, but this article needs some work on tone and scholarly presentation.Sbalfour (talk) 19:58, 28 January 2015 (UTC)

Additional content revisions made to section related to Constitution of 1816; sections related to Constitution of 1851 need work. Rosalina523 (talk) 16:50, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference ml4 was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    • ^ a b McLauchlan, p. 6
    • ^ Dunn, p. 437
    • ^ Dunn, p. 439
    • ^ McLauchlan, p. 5
    • ^ McLauchlan, p. 7