Decade of Decisions: 1780’s
New Hampshire Constitution
New Hampshire outlined a Constitution in 1776 and in 1784 the New Hampshire government made changes and rearrangements before finalizing it that year. The finalized Constitution of New Hampshire is divided into two separate parts, first the Bill of Rights and second the form of government. New Hampshire was one of the first states to create and ratify a state constitution.
The Bill of Rights of New Hampshire is very similar to the United State’s Bill of Rights. The similarities include equality of men, right to bear arms, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and the press. The New Hampshire Constitution like the United States Constitution protected its citizens from quartering soldiers, which was important at that time with the installment of the quartering act. The New Hampshire Constitution went through changes from ratifications to amendments due to New Hampshire outlining a constitution in 1776, revising it in 1784, and finalizing it in 1794. The second part of the New Hampshire Constitution states the form of government and how the New Hampshire government should function. The second part of the constitution is very similar to the U.S. Constitution concerning the system of checks and balances of power such as the senators, representative, and the governor. In 1784 when the constitution was revised it took away women’s right to vote while the previous one did not specify.
New Hampshire’s Constitution used the convention method, which is “the means by which the people might change their constitution thus varied from one State to the next, and in more than one State this basic ingredient of the republican principle was either neglected or compromised.” New Hampshire was one of several states to use this method, which is important because the people had much more freedom and could influence the way they wanted their state to be represented within the Union. The convention method was important for the people since the Articles of Confederation outlined the rights of the states and federal government and citizen’s rights were rarely mentioned.
Thorpe, Francis Newton. “Constitution OfNew Hampshire.” Constitution of New Hampshire, 1776. National Humanities Institute, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nhinet.org/ccs/docs/nh-1776.htm>.
“NH.gov – The Official Web Site of New Hampshire State Government – State Constitution.” NH.gov – The Official Web Site of New Hampshire State Government – State Constitution. New Hampshire Government, n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://www.nh.gov/constitution/constitution.html>.
Berg-Andersson, Richard E. “New Hampshire State and Local Government.” New Hampshire State and Local Government. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/st.phtml?state=NH>.
Allison, Jim. “Original and Early State Constitutions.” Original and Early State Constitutions. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://candst.tripod.com/cnstntro.htm>.
James McClellan, Liberty, Order, and Justice: An Introduction to the Constitutional Principles of American Government (3rd ed.) (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2000). Chapter: The First State Constitutions, 1776–1783
Mann, Laurie. “Timeline of Women’s Suffrage in the United States.” Timeline of Women’s Suffrage in the United States. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2012. <http://dpsinfo.com/women/history/timeline.html>.