Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

Massachusetts Constitution of 1780

In 1630, John Winthrop and his associates in the Massachusetts Bay Company established the Great and General Court of Massachusetts to provide a form of local government for the Puritans who had settled the Boston area. During the American Revolution, the General Court produced an initial draft of a state constitution for Massachusetts. The citizens of Massachusetts refused to accept this constitution as law, however, due to their nonparticipation in the process by which it was formed; instead they elected representatives to meet at a constitutional convention to determine the nature of their government. In 1779, the representatives convened in Cambridge and designated John Adams to be the primary drafter of the constitution. This constitution was ratified in 1780.

Among the terms of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 is the provision that empowers the governor and his or her council or the legislature to obtain advisory opinions from the Supreme Judicial Court on questions relating to the scope of the power of the governor or legislature of the Commonwealth. Presently Massachusetts is the only one of the thirteen original states that has retained its first constitution. The constitution has, however, been subject to numerous amendments, the most extensive of which were made by the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention that was convened from 1917 to 1919.

References in periodicals archive ?
7 (1982); Symposium: Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, 14 SUFFOLK U.
61, 67 (1988) (concluding that the drafters of the Maine Constitution were "guided primarily by the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780").
For principal primary texts, see Oscar and Mary Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), and Robert J.
This language, which was kept in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780,
XI of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 assures that every person "ought to find a certain remedy ...
A similar provision was included in the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. See MASS.
(12) THE POPULAR SOURCES OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY: DOCUMENTS ON THE MASSACHUSETTS CONSTITUTION OF 1780, at 330-31 (Oscar Handlin & Mary Handlin eds., 1966) (discussing the idea that when men form a society, they are considered to be '"one moral whole"') [hereinafter "THE POPULAR SOURCES OF POLITICAL AUTHORITY"].
For evidence that a majority of Massachusetts townships supported Article III, see Oscar and Mary Handlin, eds., The Popular Sources of Political Authority: Documents on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966), 475ff.
He will discuss how the new Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 came to protect taxpayer-funded support of churches and the long campaign to disestablish the Congregational Church that finally succeeded through Constitutional amendment in 1833.
* The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 predated the United States Constitution by seven years and the Bill of Rights to that Constitution by eleven years.
The Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 anticipated this transformation: "All cases of marriage, divorce, and alimony, and all appeals from the Judges of Probate, shall be heard and determined by the Governor and Council until the Legislature shall, by law, make other provisions." MA.
John Adams led the committee that wrote the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780. Its preamble closely resembles the Virginia declaration and the Declaration of Independence:

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