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Wyoming State Constitutional Convention 1889

Constitution Writing in the American West (NEH)

Cite as: Wyoming State Constitutional Convention 1889, Quill Project at Pembroke College (Oxford, 2023).

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People Icon67 People
Procedures Icon860 Procedures
Documents Icon373 Documents
Decisions Icon1988 Decisions

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Wyoming State Constitutional Convention 1889 Wyoming State Constitutional Convention 1889

The Constitution of Wyoming was written in September 1889. Over just 25 working days, and without the authorization of an enabling act by the U.S. Congress, 49 of the 55 delegates elected to the Convention met in Cheyenne to draft the state’s foundational text.

Like other contemporary state constitutional conventions, such as North Dakota (1889), and Arizona (1910), Wyoming followed an open proposition approach to constitution-writing. Individual delegates presented files on specific subjects, which were numbered and referred to one—or occasionally multiple—of the standing committees established to consider propositions relevant to their area of expertise. The committees prepared reports on these propositions in which they recommended indefinite postponement, adoption, amendment, or a substitute proposition on the same subject. The reports were then referred to the Convention to be taken up in the Committee of the Whole. The Committee of the Whole considered the standing committee reports, and drafted its own reports either recommending the adoption of the standing committee’s recommendations, or offering its own on the file or files under consideration. The Convention then voted to adopt or reject the Committee of the Whole’s report. When a report which recommended the passage of a particular file was adopted, the file in question was referred to the Committee on Revision and Adjustment, whose duty it was to order the propositions into a draft constitution, whilst ensuring that no one part of the Constitution conflicted with any other. The draft constitution was sent back to the Convention, where it was amended and voted upon article-by-article. Successful articles were ultimately enrolled as the Constitution of Wyoming, approved by the Convention on September 30, and ratified on November 5, 1889.

To construct the Quill timeline, the editors consulted a number of sources, most notably the Journal and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Wyoming, in addition to copies of the propositions deposited in the Wyoming State Archives, and contemporary newspapers. In many cases, these newspapers describe events that were not accounted for in the Journal or the Debates. Where relevant, multiple sources have been used to corroborate the events in a timeline. A full list of source materials can be found on the “Full Record” view.

Users may be interested in how pieces of proposed constitutional text circulated throughout the Convention. This procedure is captured in a document event’s “Related Events” tab. A more general overview of documents’ journeys throughout the Convention is provided by the “Calendar View”. The “Document Library” view provides a zoomed out look at all documents that were introduced in the Convention and will be compelling to those users who are approaching the project with an interest in particular documents.


Documentary Editor

Quill Project

Pembroke College, Oxford.

July 2023.

Sessions Chart

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16 historical records used for this dataset.


29 committees met in 186 sessions.

Average 11.62 sessions each.


Dates from Monday, 02 September 1889 to Monday, 30 September 1889.


67 people in 10 voting delegations.

Top 5 most active people are:

Summary of person events:

  • Person join icon 299 join a committee.
  • Person leave icon 3 leave a committee.
  • Person elect icon 110 elections to a position.


860 procedural motions considered.

Summary of procedural events:

  • Procedural motion icon 860 procedural motion proposed.
  • Debate motion icon 209 motions debated.


373 documents considered with 908 amendments presented.

Summary of document events:

  • Create a new document proposal 373 new documents created.
  • Document copied 463 documents passed from another committee.
  • Document amended 908 amendments to a document proposed.
  • Debate a document proposal 453 debates on a proposal.


1988 number of decisions made.

Summary of decision made:

  • Vote adopt icon 1269 proposals adopted.
  • Vote reject icon 169 proposals rejected.
  • Vote refer icon 320 proposals referred to another committee.
  • Postpone debate icon 3 debate of a proposal postponed.
  • Vote drop icon 111 proposal dropped from discussion without a formal vote.
  • Vote drop icon 5 some other decision on a proposal.

List of proposals by delegation

List of proposals by person

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