Colonists
Citizens
Constitutions

Colonists, Citizens, Constitutions highlights documents that tell the story of American constitutionalism from the founding era through the turn of the twentieth century. Accompanying a major exhibition at the New-York Historical Society featuring the only privately owned copy of the original U.S. constitution, these federal and state constitutional materials offer essential windows onto the history of the United States. Remarkably numerous and impressively diverse, constitutions enabled Americans to create revolutionary governments of, by, and for the people. Weaving both well-known and less familiar documents into a compelling narrative, the accessible text reveals how Americans have exercised their constitutional powers to shape their communities and why democracy remains an ongoing process, one in which citizens must constantly strive to create ‘more perfect’ unions among themselves.

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