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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. O., September 1, 1875. SIR: Educational interests, although commonly subjects of legislation, and largely dependent upon the statute-law, have, from the very beginning of our State governments, been more or less within the limitations and guarantees of our State constitutions, and many of their most valued features have by this means been placed beyond chance of change, other than by a modification of the organic law.
Several of the larger States embraced no provisions having direct reference to educational subjects in their first constitutions, nor for many years afterward; but in the successive revisions that have since been made, one after another has extended these pledges, guarantees, and grants to the various interests relating to education, literature, and science, until there is not now a single State in the American Union in which these interests are not recognized and guarded. A careful study of the subject will lead to the remark, that the ideas of one have been adopted by another, according as these several instruments have been consulted and followed in the preparation of new plans of government or in the revision of old ones. This process of constraction and amend. ment is going on every year, and the study of fundamental principles in government becomes, in one part of the country or another, a frequent subject of immediate practical importance with those who may be charged with these responsible duties or who may feel an interest in the success of the labors of those who are so charged. The merits of these several principles come under the direct personal inspection of every citizen who thoughtfully studies the plan subinitted for his approval or rejection; and with the increasing intelligence which it is the province of education to impart, we may reasonably hope that every change in the organic law will be an improvement, and that these frames of government will in each change present a principle justified by experience and well founded in justice and wisdom.
The frequent occasions that arise for information as to constitutional provisions in regard to educational subjects have led me to request Dr. Franklin B. Hough, of Lowville, N. Y., to prepare this Circular as the best answer that can be given to these inquiries. It is believed to be complete in all that expressly relates to educational, literary, or scientific matters in the constitution of each of the States, from the beginning down to the present time. It contains no remark showing preference of one over another, and no note other than such as tends to illustrate or explain the subject matter of the text, or to show how the several requirements of the constitutions have been carried into effect. It is accompanied by a classified summary, in which are briefly stated the principal features of the several State constitutions in such an order that their origin, successive changes, and present condition may be known. This synopsis does not refer to the rejected constitutions, most of which are given in smaller type in the text, or in the form of notes, nor is it claimed as complete in the minor details, although, it is hoped, sufficiently full to show historically and comparatively every important fact or principle that has been, or that is, a part of the organic law in each of the States of the American Union. A concise index has been added, to further facilitate the use of this circular.
I recommend the publication of this material as a Circular of Information. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissioner. Hon. O. DELANO,
Secretary of the Interior. Approved, and publication ordered.
B. R. COWEN,
constitutional provisions, 1871. (Not adopted)....
Nevada, constitutional provisions, 1864....
New Hampshire, constitutional provisions, 1784.
proposed provisions, 1870 ...
EDUCATION, LITERATURE, AND SCIENCE
SEVERAL STATES OF THE AMERICAN UNION,
ALL FORMER PROVISIONS, AS WELL AS THOSE NOW IN FORCE, AND THOSE PROPOSED BY
CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTIONS BUT NOT ADOPTED;
A CLASSIFIED ABSTRACT OF THE MORE IMPORTANT FEATURES,
AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
FRANKLIN B. HOUGH.