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Arizona Constitutional Convention (1910) [2023 Edition]


Person icon People: 53, Procedure icon Procedures: 1992, Document icon Documents: 776, Voting icon Decisions: 5728 View more »

The Constitution of Arizona (1910) was written from October to December of 1910. Following the Arizona-New Mexico Enabling Act of 1910, 52 delegates from twelve counties met in Phoenix to draft the state’s foundational text.

Rather than starting with single, coherent set of propositions (such as the Virginia Plan in the 1787 Federal Constitutional Convention), the Arizona Convention approached constitution-writing with a more open proposition format. Individual delegates presented propositions on specific subjects, which were numbered and referred to standing committees established to consider the propositions relevant to their subject of expertise. These committees prepared reports on the propositions in which they recommended indefinite postponement, adoption, amendment, or a substitute proposition on the same subject. These 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 to either adopt the recommendation of the standing committee report or to offer its own recommendation. The Convention then voted to adopt or reject the Committee of the Whole recommendation. If the proposition was not indefinitely postponed at this stage, it was referred to the Committee on Style to be amended and/or engrossed. If the Convention approved these changes, the proposition returned to the Committee on Style for incorporation into the draft Constitution.

To construct the Quill timeline, the editors consulted a number of primary sources, including the Records of the Constitutional Convention, the Minutes of the Arizona Constitutional Convention, and the Arizona Republican. A full list of source materials can be found on the “Full Record” view. Where relevant, multiple sources have been used to corroborate the events in a timeline. Future iterations of this project could incorporate the accounts of the proceedings published in other contemporary newspapers as well.

From these sources, the editors have reconstructed a robust view of the daily proceedings of the Convention and the Committee of the Whole. As is common of state constitutional conventions, the standing and select committee records do not survive. In many cases, the only evidence of a committee’s proceedings is the text of its final report as it was entered onto the journal of the Convention. In these instances, the committee sessions have been recreated based on reports and debates that were delivered in the Convention. In order to avoid implying that sittings occurred on days where there is no evidence to suggest that was the case, the standing committee sessions have been created to align with the days on which they reported to the Convention.

Much to the particular disappointment of modern scholars on the Arizona Constitution, the records of the Committee on Style are missing. Based on the debate in the Records of the Arizona Constitutional Convention, it is clear that the committee made a number of substantive changes to several propositions after their final reading. However, the substance of these changes does not survive.

The lack of reports as well as intermediary copies of propositions and the draft Constitution necessitated some difficult editorial choices. For example, the editors chose not to represent the engrossment of propositions. Rather, the text is shown as engrossed as the articles of the draft Constitution are adopted. These editorial decisions are indicated by editors' notes within the timeline.

To create the draft of the Constitution, the editors compared the text of the agreed propositions with the text of the version of the Constitution that was signed by the delegates and the amendments described in the Records and the Minutes. The amendments agreed by the Convention were subtracted from the text of the final version and supplemented with the texts of the propositions as modelled in Quill in order to arrive at an iteration of a draft. Upon close reading of the Records, it is clear that the individual articles of the draft came up for consideration as they returned from the printer. The editors have attempted to re-create the order and groupings in which the articles were presented to the Convention by proposing the Constitution in a four-part draft.

An interesting finding that resulted from this exercise is that the Committee on Style did not include the entire texts of the agreed propositions in the draft. Certain provisions, such as Section 29 of Substitute Proposition Number 94 on the right of workers to organize, were excluded from the draft by the committee. This proposition was eventually incorporated into the Constitution as Article II.

The Arizona Constitutional Convention was uniquely fragmentary in its proposition format and utilized an exceptionally complicated committee approach. Over 150 propositions and pieces of proposed constitutional text filtered through the various committees of 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”.

Senior Documentary Editor
Quill Project
Pembroke College, Oxford.
February 2023.

Part of: Constitution Writing in the American West (NEH).

Full Record

This page shows the complete source-material for this negotiation.

Users with the appropriate permission can use this screen to make changes to the convention records from here.

Full Record »

Guided Research Tools

Guided Research Tools

This page gives access to the main visualizations used to explore the work of committees or individuals.

It is the best place to start if you have specific research questions to investigate.

Guided Research Tools »

Calendar View

Calendar View

This view shows a timeline of the events with an indication the
flow of documents between committees.

This will help make sense of the relationship between committees. The page also shows how busy committees were at different times.

Calendar View »

PCA Analysis

PCA Analysis

This view offers a set of tools to examine shifting alliances.

PCA Analysis »

Topic Overview

Topic Overview

This view shows a summary of the topic keywords associated with events during this negotiation, and
allows users to find events associated with each keyword.

Topic Overview »

Activity Summary

Activity Summary

This page offers a series of views for exploring the work of those involved in this process of negotiation, focusing on the hierarchical
relationship of proposals rather than on the sequence of events. Other tools presented here show the volume of work handled by each committee, or the number of events that each
individual played a leading roll in.

Activity Summary »

Current Document Library

Current Document Library

A tool mostly useful for those using Quill to run meetings.

This page shows the documents currently agreed to or under consideration by various committees.

Current Document Library »

Cite as: Lauren Davis, Aaron Kushner, Harriet Carter, Elizabeth Green, Annabel Harris, Grace Penn, Nicholas Jacobs, Arizona Constitutional Convention (1910) [2023 Edition], Quill Project at Pembroke College (Oxford, 2023).