A state constitution
is the governing document of a U.S. state
, comparable to the United States Constitution
which is the governing document of the United States. Some states have had multiple constitutions and since each state drafts its own, there is great diversity between them, though all have some basic concepts in common.
The average length of a state constitution is 26,000 words (compared to about 8,700 words for the U.S. constitution). (Dye, 2007) The longest state governing document is that of Alabama, which has over 172,000 words. That document is also the most amended state constitution in the Union, with over 770 amendments. The average state constitution has been amended about 115 times. The oldest state constitution still in effect is that of Massachusetts, which took effect in 1780. The newest is the Georgia Constitution, which was ratified in 1983.
List of state constitutions
- 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.