The Constitution of the State of Maine and that of the United States, Portland, 1825

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Description

The Maine State Constitution took effect on March 15, 1820. Consisting of ten articles, the framers based it on the constitutions of several states.

The first three articles address individual rights, voter eligibility, and limitations on government, while four, five, and six deal with the three branches of government. Six through nine cover topics such as the state militia, education, and terms of the office. Article 10 incorporates into the constitution most of the 1819 Act Relating to the Separation of the District of Maine from Massachusetts and provides a timeline for starting the new government.

While the constitution provided strong protections for religious freedom, extended voting rights to Black men, and had no property requirement to vote, it disenfranchised women, the poor, and "Indians not taxed," recognizing Tribal sovereignty but also tying representation to taxation.

Todd and Smith, Printers to the State, printed this copy. Located in Portland, the state capitol in 1825, Seba Smith and Thomas Todd also published the Eastern Argus newspaper during the period. Smith was also a humorist and later responsible for creating the fictional character Major Jack Downing.

Not amended until 1835, this 1825 version contains all of the constitution’s original text. The Maine Constitution prohibits altering the Articles of Separation without the consent of Massachusetts. For this reason, and to avoid changing the Maine Constitution, Maine legislators instead suggested redacting sections of the document. Since 1876, Sections 1, 2, and 5 of Article X of the Maine Constitution ceased to be printed, but retain their legal validity. The redacted sections include Maine's obligation to uphold and defend treaties made between Massachusetts and the Passamaquoddy and Penobscot Nations.

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About This Item

  • Title: The Constitution of the State of Maine and that of the United States, Portland, 1825
  • Creator: State of Maine
  • Creation Date: 1825
  • Subject Date: 1825
  • Location: Portland, Cumberland County, ME
  • Media: Ink on paper
  • Dimensions: 17 cm x 10 cm x .5 cm
  • Local Code: QJ M 081 D25m
  • Object Type: Text

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230
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