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Sometime Henry E. Johnston Scholar in
The Johns Hopkins University








My purpose in this study is to give a statement of the practice concerning the amendment and revision of state constitutions, and to discuss the legal principles controlling the alteration of such constitutions. Emphasis has been placed upon present conditions, but some attention has been devoted to the historical aspects of the subject, especially with respect to the constitutional convention, which cannot be understood except when treated historically.

Judge Jameson's great work on "Constitutional Conventions" has been used freely, as have also Oberholtzer's "Referendum in America" and Borgeaud's "Adoption and Amendment of Constitutions." Judge Lobingier's recent work on "The People's Law" did not appear until this study was almost completed, but it has been used to some extent. My indebtedness to these works is great, and I have also received much assistance from Professor J. Q. Dealey's monograph on "Our State Constitutions;" from Cooley's from Cooley's "Constitutional Limitations," and from Professor J. W. Garner's article on the "Amendment of State Constitutions which appeared in volume one of the American Political Science Review.

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Of the works dealing specifically with the subject of constitutional changes in the United States, Judge Lobingier's is almost purely historical, and devotes little


attention to the practical or legal aspects of the subject. Judge Jameson's work constructed a theory regarding constitutional conventions, which conformed more or less closely to the facts, but in which the facts were subordinated to the theory. Oberholtzer and Borgeaud based their treatment of the subject largely upon the foundation of Judge Jameson's theory. It has been my effort to study the practice of constitutional alteration and the legal principles relating thereto, without reference to any preconceived theory or to questions as to what methods of procedure may be considered most expedient. When Judge Jameson wrote there had been only a few judicial decisions with reference either to the powers of conventions or to the amending procedure through legislative action, and since his work was published little has been done toward treating the legal aspects of the subject. For this study the judicial decisions have been carefully read, and an effort has been made to present the principles which they have established.

The work upon this monograph was done in part during the years 1908-10 while the author held a research appointment as Henry E. Johnston scholar in Johns Hopkins University, and part of the material here used was first presented in a course of lectures delivered at that University in 1909 on "Distinctions between Constitutions and Statutes in the Constitutional Law of the United States." These lectures discussed (1) the development of methods for constitutional alteration distinct from those for the enactment of statutes, and (2) the development of judicial control over legislation. The first branch of this subject has been elaborated somewhat for publication. The chapter on the first state constitutional conventions appeared in very nearly its

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