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Constitution of Missouri facts for kids

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Certification of the Constitution of Missouri signed by the President of the State Convention, David Barton, 09-27-1820 - NARA - 306383
Certification of the 1st Constitution of Missouri signed by the President of the State Convention, David Barton, 1820

The Missouri Constitution is the state constitution of the state of Missouri in the United States. It is the highest law which forms the laws and government of Missouri. It is subject only to the United States Constitution, and the people of Missouri. The fourth and current Missouri Constitution was adopted in 1945. It provides for three branches of government. The the legislative branch is the Missouri General Assembly). The executive branch is headed by the Governor of Missouri. The judicial branch is the Supreme Court of Missouri and the Missouri state courts. It also sets up local governments in the form of counties and cities.

History

The first constitution was written in 1820 in only 38 days. In 1845 the state outgrew its own constitutional limits on creating new counties. A second convention was called in Jefferson City and met from November 1845 until January 1846. But voters would not ratify the proposed constitution in August 1846. The Missouri Constitutional Convention was elected to decide on the issue of secession. But no changes were made to the constitution.

In 1865, delegates met in St. Louis from January 6 to April 8, 1865 to form a new constitution. It was called the “Draconian Constitution” and required an oath of loyalty to the Union. It was ratified on June 6, 1865. In 1867, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down the loyalty oath in Cummings v. Missouri (71 U.S. 277 (1867)).

Missouri citizens approved a new fourth constitutional convention in 1874. Delegates met in Jefferson City from May 5th to August 2nd, 1875. The changes to the Constitution were mainly about schools. It required 25% of the general revenue be used to support public schools. It also required separate schools for children of African descent. The constitution was ratified on October 30, 1875.

The fifth constitutional convention met in Jefferson City from May 15, 1922 to November 6, 1923. But instead of a new constitution the convention proposed 21 amendments. But the voters refused to approve all 21 amendments at the special election called for February 26, 1924. As a result, none of the amendments were ratified.

The fifth convention was called in Jefferson City on September 21, 1943. The new constitution was approved by the delegates on September 28, 1944 and ratified on February 27, 1945. It has been amended several times since then.

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