Constitution of Michigan of 1835

The opening of the Erie Canal, the removal of the British threat and establishment of peaceful relations with the Indians caused the Michigan population to soar from 1825-1833. (Rubenstein & Ziewacz, page 65).  In 1833, Michigan had more than the 60,000 residents required for Congress to authorize a constitutional convention, but the Union delayed it due to an unsettled boundary dispute with Ohio.  After several years of surveys and a newly elected Michigan governor, Democrat Governor Stevens T. Mason, Michigan was officially proclaimed the 26th state to the Union on January 26th, 1837. (Rubenstein & Ziewacz, page 67).

Before Michigan became a state of the Union, a Constitution was written for “The State of Michigan”, so it could be a free & independent state.  This was a set of laws in addition to laws set forth by the federal government.   The Constitution of Michigan of 1835 (pages 1-3) includes the Bill of Rights, which lists items such as freedom of speech, right to bear arms, freedom of religion, and right to assemble and petition, just to name a few.  These freedoms were just as important then as they are today.  The Bill of Rights suggests that the people weren’t treated fairly and needed it to provide protection, benefit & security.

I think the Bill of Rights is adequate as written and I don’t think I would make any changes.  The writers did a great job of including many rights that are still important to this day!  (The right to bear arms is one that comes to my mind the last few years).


Citation:  Rubenstein, Bruce A., and Lawrence E. Ziewacz. Michigan: a History of the Great Lakes State. Wiley, 2014

MI Constitution 1835:

15 thoughts on “Constitution of Michigan of 1835

  1. I agree with your point that these freedoms are as important today as they were way back then. These are key to include in the Michigan Constitution to ensure the rights of the citizens of the state. The right to bear arms has also came to my mind lately. Should we be allowed to bear arms? I feel this is a question on everyone’s brain as the number of shootings in schools and in the public increases.

    1. It’s also important to keep in mind the time period in which these rights were granted to us. A lot of people point out that the government cannot infringe upon these rights, however, the founding fathers of the United States as well as Michigan were not psychics. If the writers of our state constitution were to know about assault rifles, would they still be so keen on allowing private citizens to own them? We can never know for sure, but only lobby to change these laws or keep them the same.

  2. I find it interesting that Michigan also included a list of rights in its constitution. I understand that it helped ease the people and let them know it ensured their rights if the federal government was to ever collapse, however, it also sparks the question in my mind: do you think that the state government was truly comfortable joining the union? Do you think that perhaps they were worried about the stability of the Union?

  3. I definitely agree with you that Michigan’s freedoms were just as important then as they are today. I often wonder why Michigan has different laws than other states and or vis versa. Every state in the United States has Federal Rights granted to us by the U.S constitution. So, was it really necessary to add the same rights stated in the U.S Constitution into Michigan’s Constitution?

    1. I also find it interesting that the Michigan Constitution reiterates quite a few of the same rights that are stated in the U.S. constitution. I think it was a way of restating the basic rights of our country, so that it was clear that Michigan was in line with the rest of the country.

    2. From what I recall from a previous government class I took, the federal Constitution, in general, allows certain powers and rights. State constitutions, in general, are more concerned about limiting certain powers since its general authority has already been granted. In addition, state constitutions usually have more details and address topics that are uniquely relative to that particular state. Before the 14th Amendment, the rights weren’t guaranteed to the citizens. Each state passed their own Bill of Rights. The fact that Michigan had the rights restated in their own constitution shows that they were in agreement with the federal Constitution.

      1. I think this is also why the Michigan constitution states in Article 11 “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall ever be introduced into this state” (Michigan constitution Article 11). The men who wrote this knew what was wrong and did not want to repeat it here.

  4. I totally agree with your statement that that the freedoms that the writers of the Michigan Constitution gave us are still a key to our success to this day. I wonder if by writing this constitution, if Michigan would have rather been a total independent state, completely away from the Union. I also wonder if back then, if they thought that things such as religion and assemblies would eventually cause such uproar in our nation later on. Most of Michigan’s Constitution rights were in the US Bill of Rights and other amendments, so why did Michigan feel that it was so necessary for us to have our own? Is it a thing of power/feeling powerful? Or was it a way to just better ensure that these laws be abided by?

  5. I think it is awesome that we are discussing the topic of Michigan’s statehood right around the 181st anniversary of its establishment. Without studying this topic this week, I would have just thought yesterday (January 26) was just another ordinary day, but instead I was reminded of the great founding of the state of Michigan.

    1. Yes I thought this was great to! The class i’m volunteering in made cookies shaped like Michigan to celebrate! It’s crazy to think what it would be like if Michigan wasn’t a state.

  6. I always thought the dispute between Ohio and Michigan was so intriguing. Whenever I drive over the border between Michigan and Ohio it’s without a doubt the first thing that pops up in my mind, and I always tell whoever I am in the car with as much as i can about it!Also, though it was unique when reading this chapter that it was the exact day of Michigan’s anniversary from statehood.

  7. I agree with you that these freedoms written in the bill of rights are just as important today as they were when they were wrote up. And I find it very interesting that they felt Michigan needed its own constitution written, do you think all states felt they needed their own written? Interesting.

    1. It is so cool reading everyone comments and seeing how everyone has different thoughts. I wonder what would have happened if Michigan didn’t write their own constitution? Or did other states want to follow after they saw what Michigan did? Its interesting reading and coming up with new thoughts and ideas that we would’ve knew thought of without reading these texts books! This class has been my most favorite so far and its only the beginning.

  8. If it wasn’t for the fact that Michigan had the dispute about the Ohio Michigan boundary, would they have became a state sooner rather than later? Since they already had the population requirement? If so, why didn’t they push to get the boundary settled as soon as they possibly could?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s