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It was chiefly this anti-bank provision which necessitated an early revision or amendment of the Constitution of 1846. The ostensible object of the constitutional convention, voted by the people in August, 1856, was to remove the unsatisfactory prohibition.1
In accordance with the act of the General Assembly, of January 24th, 1855,2 the “convention to revise or amend” the Constitution of 1846 met in the Capitol at Iowa City on the 19th day of January, 1857,3 and adjourned on the 5th day of March of the same year.
The Constitution submitted by this convention (properly termed the Constitution of 1857) was ratified by the people in August, 1857. But the proposition to amend the article on the “ Right of Suffrage,” by striking out the word white,” submitted at the same time, was defeated. The Constitution went into effect September 30, 1857, on which day the Governor declared it to be the “supreme law of the State of Iowa."
Since its adoption the Constitution has been amended at four different times—1868, 1880, 1882, 1884.4 At no time, however, since 1857 have the people of the Commonwealth favored the calling of a constitutional convention.
The 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments to the Constitution of the United States were ratified by the General Assembly in 1866, 1868 and 1870 respectively.5
B. F. s.
1 Cf. Debates of the Constitutional Convention of 1857, Vol. I., pp. 350, 351, 355, 367, 377.
% See p. 219 of this number.
THE CONVENTION OF 1857. AN ACT PROVIDING FOR THE REVISION OR AMENDMENT OF
THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS STATE. SECTION I. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Iowa, That at the next general election in this State, to be holden on the first Monday of August, A. D. 1856, there shall be a poll opened in each township and election precinct, for the purpose of taking a vote of the people, for or against a convention to revise or amend the present constitution of this State.
§ 2. Voters desiring such a convention, shall have written or printed on their ballots, the words “ For a Convention," and those opposed, shall have written or printed on their ballots the words “ Against a Convention.”
§ 3. The election shall be conducted in the same manner as the general elections of the State, and the poll books shall be returned and canvassed, as provided in the 25th chapter of the Code, and abstracts shall be forwarded to the Secretary of State, which abstracts shall be canvassed in the manner provided for the canvass of state officers.
§ 4. On or before the first day of October, A. D. 1856 the Governor shall issue his proclamation, declaring the result of said election and if a majority of the votes cast at said election shall be in favor of a convention as aforesaid, then an election of delegates to said convention shall be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, in said year, and the election shall be conducted, and the returns made, according to the provisions of the Code, regulating general elections.
$ 5. The number of delegates shall correspond to the number of Senators in the General Assembly, according to the apportionment at the time of the election of said delegates, and each senatorial district shall constitute a district for the election of delegate.
§ 6. Said delegates shall possess the qualifications of Senators in the General Assembly, and shall meet in Convention at the then Capital of the State, on the third Monday in January, A. D. 1857, for the purpose of revising or amending the constitution of the State.
§ 7. Should a vacancy or vacancies at any time occur by death, resignation or otherwise, the Governor shall issue writs of election to fill the same, in the manner prescribed for filling vacancies of members of the General Assembly.
§ 8. Each delegate shall receive three dollars per day, from the State Treasury for each day's attendance in said convention, and three dollars for every twenty miles travel, in going to, and returning from said convention; the mileage to be computed by the usually traveled route.
$ 9. The Convention shall have power to appoint its own officers, and to fix their compensation; and shall also have power to provide the necessary printing for said convention; it shall also keep a journal of its proceedings, containing all amendments, revisions, or alterations, agreed upon, which journal shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State, to be kept as other official papers of this State.
§ 10. Said revised or amended constitution, when agreed upon by the convention, shall be submitted to a vote of the people, for their adoption or rejection, and if a majority of the legally qualified electors shall approve the same, it shall then become the constitution and the supreme law of the land.
§ 11. The convention shall fix the time, and prescribe the manner of submitting the question to the people; it shall also provide for the publication of the proposed amendments a journal of its proceedings, and for the manner of canvassing the votes given for and against said amended constitution; it shall also have full power to make all necessary regulations, for the taking effect of the said amended, or revised constitution: Provided, That all elections contemplated in this Act, shall be conducted, as nearly as practicable, in the same manner as provided by law for the regulation of general elections in this State.
The Secretary of State is hereby required to furnish a suitable room for the meeting of said delegates, and also to furnish stationary for the use of the convention which shall be paid for out of the State Treasury.
Approved January 24th, 1855.
I certify that the foregoing Act was published by direction of the Governor in the Iowa Capital Reporter on the 14th of February, and Iowa Republican on the 21st day of February, 1855.
Geo. W. McCLEARY,
Secretary of State.
-Reprinted from Acts of the Fifth General Assembly of the State of Iowa, Ch. 78, p. 114.
WHEREAS, “ At the general election in State of Iowa, held on the first Monday of August last, there was a poll opened in each township and election precinct, for the purpose of taking a vote of the people, for or against a Convention, to revise or amend the present Constitution of the State," of which election due returns have been made and the votes canvassed.
Now, Therefore, I, JAMES W. GRIMES, Governor of said State, do declare and make known, that there were polled for a Convention, thirty-two thousand, seven hundred and ninety votes, and against a Convention, fourteen thousand, one hundred and sixty-two votes, being a majority in favor of a Convention of eighteen thousand, six hundred and twenty-eight votes. And I do furthermore declare that an election of delegates to said Convention will be held on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November next, the election to be conducted and the returns made according to the provisions of the Code regulating general elections, and an act entitled, “ An act providing for the revision and amendment of the Constitution of this State," approved January 24th, 1855.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my L. S. hand and caused the great seal of the State to be
hereunto affixed. Done at Iowa City, this tenth day of September, A. D. 1856.
JAMES W. GRIMES. By the Governor: Geo. W. McCLEARY,
Secretary of State. -Reprinted from the Washington Press (Iowa), Vol. I., No. 23, October ist, 1856.1
THE CONSTITUTION OF 1857.
STATE OF 10WA.
WE, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF Iowa, grateful to the
Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of those blessings, do ordain and establish a free and independent government, by the name of THE STATE OF Iowa, the boundaries whereof shall be as follows:
Beginning in the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River, at a point due East of the middle of the mouth of the main channel of the Des Moines River, thence up the middle of the main channel of the said Des Moines River, to a point on said river where the Northern boundary line of
1 The proclamation which is here reprinted from the Washington Press does not seem to have been preserved in the archives of the Commonwealth.