The document that played a key role in creating the state of Iowa is marking a major birthday today. The state constitution was ratifed 150 years ago. Michael Mauro, Iowa’s Secretary of State, says it’s a very important part of Iowa’s history and it didn’t come into being easily — it took three votes over 13 years.
Mauro says Iowa had three constitutional conventions and all three were held in Iowa City. The first one, in 1844, ended with the proposal’s rejection by a popular vote. The second convention in 1846 ended the same way. He says "Finally, in 1857, on August 3rd, we ratified the constitution that we currently have in Iowa today." Mauro says the state’s founding document looks familiar, if you take the time to read it.
Mauro says: "It’s patterned after the Constitution of the United States. There’s a Bill of Rights that’s part of that constitution and it talks about the legislative, executive and judicial branches and lays out government for you." Given the actual document’s advanced age, Mauro says it’s still in remarkably good condition.
Mauro says, "Iowa was the 29th state to ratify the constitution and it’s one of the oldest constitutions in effect today across the whole country. And that constitution is on display in the Iowa Secretary of State’s office. We’re encouraging people to come to the capitol, take a moment to come look at it. We have the original copy here." The Iowa Constitution is a so-called "living" document, meaning, it can be amended. So far, it’s been amended 46 times.