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Massachusetts Constitution of 1780


In 1630, John Winthrop and his associates in the Massachusetts Bay Company established the Great and General Court of Massachusetts to provide a form of local government for the Puritans who had settled the Boston area. During the American Revolution, the General Court produced an initial draft of a state constitution for Massachusetts. The citizens of Massachusetts refused to accept this constitution as law, however, due to their nonparticipation in the process by which it was formed; instead they elected representatives to meet at a constitutional convention to determine the nature of their government. In 1779, the representatives convened in Cambridge and designated john adams to be the primary drafter of the constitution. This constitution was ratified in 1780.

Among the terms of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 is the provision that empowers the governor and his or her council or the legislature to obtain advisory opinions from the Supreme Judicial Court on questions relating to the scope of the power of the governor or legislature of the Commonwealth. Presently Massachusetts is the only one of the thirteen original states that has retained its first constitution. The constitution has, however, been subject to numerous amendments, the most extensive of which were made by the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention that was convened from 1917 to 1919.

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