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: Oct 30, 2014
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.
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 use 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
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.
- Constitution Convention of 1802—Journal of the Convention
Ohio Historical Society website. (Contained in Daniel J. Ryan, "From Charter to Constitution", p. 80-131)
- Constitutional Convention of 1850-51‚Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Ohio, 1850-51, Vol 1
(University of Michigan's Making of America Books). Volume 2
. Also on Google books.
- On Google books: Constitutional Convention of 1850-51‚ Report of the Debates and Proceedings of the Convention for the Revision of the Constitution of the State of Ohio, 1850-51- Vol. 1
- Constitutional Convention of 1873-74
Official Report of the Proceedings and Debates of the Third Constitutional Convention of Ohio, 2 vols. (Cleveland: W.S. Robison & Co., 1873-74)(From the University of Michigan's Making of America Books). Also on Google Books
This convention did not result in a new constitution.
- Constitutional Convention of 1912
Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Ohio: Convened January 9, 1912, 2 vols. (Ohio Supreme Court's website)Address of Theodore Roosevelt,
While this convention did not result in a new constitution, it resulted in 42 proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot. Voters approved 34 of these amendments.
- 1912 Constitutional Convention on Google Books - Volume 1
Only volume one is on Google books
- Review of Fourth Ohio Constitutional Convention by Contributing Members and Amendments Adopted by the People in 1912
published in Mercer, James K. Ohio Legislative History 1909-1913
. Columbus: Edward T. Miller Co., pages 409-476. (1913). (pdf)
In print: KFO421 .M4
Also on Google Books