The New York State Archives have announced a limited engagement exhibition at the New York State Museum featuring New York State’s founding documents. The Path to Statehood features New York’s first constitution (1777), journal of the Poughkeepsie Convention (1788), New York’s engrossed copy of the U.S. Constitution (1788), and New York’s current constitution (1894). The exhibition is open through November 27th.
New York’s first constitution (1777) and the U.S. Constitution (1787) established stable governments during and after the turmoil of the American Revolution. New Yorkers Alexander Hamilton and John Jay argued for the U.S. Constitution. Governor George Clinton expressed concerns about a too-strong federal government. New York’s ratification of the U.S. Constitution at a convention in Poughkeepsie followed debates about government’s powers and citizens’ rights.
New York has had four constitutions, adopted in 1777, 1821, 1846 and 1894. Each was prepared by a convention of delegates. Constitutional conventions in 1801, 1867, 1915, 1938 and 1967 proposed new documents or major amendments, most rejected by the voters. In November 2017 New Yorkers will again decide whether to hold another constitutional convention.
The New York State Archives are located at 222 Madison Avenue in Albany. For information visit the Archives’ website.