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Ohio Constitution - Law and History   Tags: constitution, constitutional law, legal history, ohio, ohio constitution  

Sources for researching the Ohio Constitution, including new and current versions of the Ohio Constitution, constitutional conventions, information on proposed and passed amendments, Ohio Supreme Court cases, a bibliography and more.
Last Updated: Nov 26, 2014 URL: http://guides.law.csuohio.edu/ohioconstitution Print Guide RSS Updates

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Current Ohio Constitution


Baldwin's Ohio Revised Code (on Westlaw) and Page's Ohio Revised Code have annotated copies of the Ohio Constitution. 

The current constitution in Ohio was originally passed in 1851, but has been amended numerous times since. 

Prior Ohio Constitutions & Northwest Ordinance

The Northwest Ordinance was the governing document before Ohio became a state.  The first Ohio constitution was the Ohio Constitution of 1802, which was replaced by the Ohio Constitution of 1851.  The text of the various amended versions of the Ohio Constitution can be found on Westlaw.  An 1874 constitution was created, but was not approved by the voters.

  • Ordinance of the Northwest Territory, 1787
    Before Ohio became a state in 1803, it was part of the Northwest Territory. In addition to organizing the government of the Northwest Territory, the Northwest Ordinance contained six “ articles of compact” that guaranteed certain individual liberties.
  • Constitution of 1802 (original)
    Ohio's first constitution.
  • Constitution of 1851 (original)
    Ohio's second constitution, an amended version of which is still in force today.
  • Former Provisions of the Ohio Constitution of the State of Ohio, 1851
    Baldwin's Ohio Revised Code Annotated, KFO 30 1953 .A4
    (3rd volume in the set, marked "Ohio Constitution, Art IV to end, Tables, General Provisions" page 600-650, plus pocket part pages). Available on WestlawNext. Contains any language that used to exist in the Ohio Constitution of 1851, but no longer exists in the current amended version of the Constitution.
  • Proposed Constitution of 1874 (pdf copy)
    (1.44 MB)- pages 182-236 of Isaac Franklin Patterson, The Constitutions of Ohio, (Cleveland: The Arthur H. Clark Co., 1912). KFO401.A15 (Law Special Collections). Also available via Google books.

Constitutional Conventions

Ohio has had four constitutional conventions:  1802, 1850-51, 1873-74 and 1912 (links are to brief descriptions of the conventions).  The first two resulted in new constitutions.  The new constitution created in the 1873-74 convention was rejected by voters.  The 1912 constitutional convention resulted in 42 proposed amendment, 34 of which were approved by voters. 

The links below are transcripts of the convention proceedings, which can be used as "legislative history" materials for interpreting the Ohio Constitution.

Photo: 1912 Ohio Constitutional Convention, by Ohio History Central.

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