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Washington State Constitution Research


People researching the Washington State constitution often need to explore the Oregon constitution, since the Washington drafters were strongly influenced by the older state to the south.

Primary Sources

Oregon Constitution, 1857 (Oregon State Archives).

Oregon Constitution (current) (Oregon Legislature).

Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Oregon (1882) (130 p.) Google Bookscatalog record.

The Oregon Constitution and Proceedings and Debates of the Constitutional Convention of 1857 (Charles Henry Carey ed., 1926), JK9025 1926 .A6 at classified stackscatalog record.

Oregon State Archives, Crafting the Oregon Constitution: Framework for a New State (online exhibit).

Secondary Sources About the Oregon Constitution: General

Claudia Burton & Andrew Grade, A Legislative History of the Oregon Constitution of 1857 – Part I (Articles l and II), 37 Willamette L. Rev. 469 (2001), HeinOnline (UW restricted);  catalog record (parts I & II).

Claudia Burton, A Legislative History of the Oregon Constitution of 1857 – Part II (Frame of Government: Articles III-VII), 39 Willamette L. Rev. 245 (2003), HeinOnline (UW restricted); Willamette Law Review site (introduction only); catalog record (parts I & II).

Claudia Burton, A Legislative History of the Oregon Constitution of 1857 – Part III (Mostly Miscellaneous: Articles VIII-XVIII), 40 Willamette L. Rev. 225 (2003), HeinOnline (UW restricted); Willamette Law Review site (introduction only).

Hon. Jack L. Landau, History and Interpreting the Oregon Constitution: A Guide for the Perplexed (April 2005) (paper linked from Oregon Constitutional Newsletter, July 2005).

Ralph James Mooney, Remembering 1857, 87 Or. L. Rev. 731 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

David Schuman, The Creation of the Oregon Constitution, 74 Or. L. Rev. 611 (1995), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Secondary Sources About the Oregon Constitution: Topics

Paula Abrams, The Majority Will: A Case Study of Misinformation, Manipulation, and the Oregon Initiative Process, 87 Or. L. Rev. 1025 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Thomas A. Balmer, Some Thoughts on Proportionality, 87 Or. L. Rev. 783 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Thomas A. Balmer, "Does Oregon's Constitution Need a Due Process Clause? Thought on Due Process and Other Limitations on State Action, 91 Wash. L. Rev. Online 157-76 (2016).

Richard A. Clucas, The Oregon Constitution and the Quest for Party Reform, 87 Or. L. Rev. 1061 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Stephanie N. Davenport, Note, Oregon Steps into the Breach: The Recognition of a Right to Petition in Privately Owned Shopping Centers under Article IV, Section I of the Oregon Constitution, 30 Willamette L. Rev. 195 (1994), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Ronald W. Messerly, Development in the Law, Development of the Right to Exclude Illegally Seized Evidence in Oregon under Article 1, Section 9 of the Oregon Constitution, 25 Willamette L. Rev. 697 (1989), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Paul A. Diller, The Partly Fulfilled Promise of Home Rule in Oregon, 87 Or. L. Rev. 939 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Carl Hostick, Financial Provisions of the Oregon Constitution, 67 Or. L. Rev. 105 (1988), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Susan M. Johnson, Measure for Measure: Amendment and Revision of the Oregon Constitution, 74 Or. L. Rev. 1065 (1995), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Jack L. Landau, The Search for the Meaning of Oregon's Search and Seizure Clause, 87 Or. L. Rev. 819 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Hans A. Linde, What Is a Constitution, What Is Not, and Why Does It Matter?, 87 Or. L. Rev. 717 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Roy Pulvers, Separation of Powers under the Oregon Constitution: A User's Guide, 75 Or. L. Rev. 443 (1996), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

David Schuman, Oregon's Remedy Guarantee: Article I, Section 10 of the Oregon Constitution, 65 Or. L. Rev. 35 (1986), HeinOnline (UW restricted).

Pete Shepherd, One Hundred Fifty Years of Electing Judges in Oregon: Will There Be Fifty More?, 87 Or. L. Rev. 907 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Timothy W. Snider, Comment, A Rational Basis for Rational Basis Review under Article I, Section 20 of the Oregon Constitution, 39 Willamette L. Rev. 1215 (2003), HeinOnline (UW restricted), Willamette Law Review site (first 4 pages only)

Darin E. Tweedt, Validity of Legislative Restrictions on Abortion under the Oregon Constitution, 65 Temple L. Rev. 1349 (1992), HeinOnline (UW restricted)

Norman R. Williams, Direct Democracy, the Guaranty Clause, and the Politics of the “Political Question” Doctrine: Revisiting Pacific Telephone, 87 Or. L. Rev. 979 (2008) (part of symposium issue).

Robert F. Williams, Should the Oregon Constitution Be Revised, and If So, How Should It Be Accomplished?, 87 Or. L. Rev. 867 (2008) (part of (part of symposium issue).


Secondary Sources About the Oregon Constitution: Racial Exclusion

When the Oregon constitution was presented to the voters, there were three questions:

  • Do you vote for the constitution?
  • Do you vote for slavery in Oregon?
  • Do you vote for the free Negroes in Oregon?

The vote went against slavery (which became section 34 of article I) and for exclusion of Negroes (which became Section 35 of article I) ("No free Negro, or Mulatto, not residing in this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, shall come, reside, or be within this state, or hold any real estate, or make any contracts, or maintain any suit therein; an the Legislative Assembly shall provide by penal laws, for the removal, by public officers, of all such Negroes, and Mulattos, and for their effectual exclusion from the state, and for the punishment of persons who shall bring them into the state, or employ, or harbor them."). See Oregon constitution of 1857, pp 24-25 (notes).

Section 35 was repealed by ballot measure in 1926. Ballotpedia.



Jacki Hedlund Tyler, The Color and Gender of Citizenship: Immigration Restriction in the Development of Oregon, 24 Western Legal Hist. 59 (2011) [HeinOnline]