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Quill Project and UVU Launch Ground-breaking Model of the 1895 Utah State Constitutional Convention

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On 11 April at the UVU campus in Orem, Quill, alongside its strategic partner at UVU, the Center for Constitutional Studies (CCS), will launch its model of the 1895 Utah State Constitutional Convention. Dr Nicholas Cole, Director of the Quill Project, will speak at the event which will highlight the project’s contribution to the study of constitutionalism.

For the last year and a half, under the oversight of Quill, CCS students have worked with digital records from the Utah State Archives, including the minutes of meetings, the convention journal, committee reports, and newspapers, to reconstruct the Constitutional Convention’s negotiation processes. Their work has shed new light on the relationship between state constitutions and the Federal union, while also demonstrating that the negotiation of state-level constitutional law was often a much more complicated affair than the creation of the Federal government.

The records of the1895 Utah State Constitutional Convention have now been fully digitized and made available to the public for the first time. Understanding of the negotiation processes involved has been enhanced through detailed reconstruction of the debates and bespoke interactive visualizations, timelines, statistical analysis, search tools, commentaries, and other resources.

The remarkable commitment that CCS students have brought to the project has given them the chance to contribute to ground-breaking research and develop the skills set needed to become world-class historians.

This is Quill’s first state constitution project, following the publication of its flagship project on the 1787 Convention. It has served to highlight the importance of this often-neglected area of US constitutional history. Two further projects are now under way in other states and a separate project on the Bill of Rights will also be launched later this year.