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The Topeka Constitution, the first constitution written for Kansas Territory, was drafted by free state supporters in reaction to contested elections that gave the proslavery party initial control of Kansas' territorial government. Free-staters gathered in convention at Lawrence on August 14 and Big Spring on September 5, 1855 and delegates assembled at Topeka on October 23, 1855, to draft a constitution. The document was approved on December 15 by a vote of 1,731 to 46. The Topeka Constitution prohibited slavery and limited suffrage to white males and "every civilized male Indian who has adopted the habits of the white man." Congress rejected this constitution and the accompanying request for Kansas to be admitted to the Union. While the first original was "filed in the office of the Executive Committee of Kansas Territory" in 1855, the location or existence of that original is not known. The convention made this copy of the original for submission to Congress and the signers verified that "it is a true copy and transcript of the original adopted at Topeka, Kansas Territory on the 12th day of November, 1855." The National Archives located this copy in the records of the U.S. Senate in the Fall of 2013. Citation: Constitution of the State of Kansas (Topeka Constitution), October 23, 1855, Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives.

Date: November 12, 1855

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Topeka Constitution - 1

Item Number: 221061
Call Number: K 978.1 W65
KSHS Identifier: DaRT ID: 221061

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