The State Constitutions of 1846 and 1848

For most of Wisconsin's territorial existence, political leaders and businessmen (often one and the same) had urged the territory's advancement toward statehood. They believed that statehood would give politicians both personal and political benefits by increasing their scope of power and influence. Businessmen would benefit from a more efficient and cohesive government that could more effectively attract investments from the East to aid Wisconsin's economic development.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 had prescribed the conditions under which territories could be admitted as states. Whenever a territory's population reached 60,000 free inhabitants, it would be eligible for statehood with the same... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: An African American attempts to vote in Milwaukee in 1865An African American attempts to vote in Milwaukee in 1865
Link to article: Debates about suffrage during the 1846 convention.Debates about suffrage during the 1846 convention.
Link to article: An anonymous writer advocates women's rights in the 1846 constitution.An anonymous writer advocates women's rights in the 1846 constitution.
Link to article: A group expresses their opposition to women's rightsA group expresses their opposition to women's rights
Link to article: The Waukesha Freeman denounces the 1848 constitutionThe Waukesha Freeman denounces the 1848 constitution
Link to article: A Racine attorney argues against giving women and immigrants rightsA Racine attorney argues against giving women and immigrants rights
Link to article: The Shooting in the Territorial Council - 1The Shooting in the Territorial Council - 1
Link to article: An 1846 delegate offers a moderate position on banks.An 1846 delegate offers a moderate position on banks.
Link to article: A Milwaukee newspaper disputes the results of the 1849 referendum on black suffrageA Milwaukee newspaper disputes the results of the 1849 referendum on black suffrage
Link to article: The memoirs of Nelson Dewey, the state's first governor.The memoirs of Nelson Dewey, the state's first governor.
Link to article: Wisconsin voting and civil rights legislation, 1846-1929.Wisconsin voting and civil rights legislation, 1846-1929.
Link to article: Wisconsin's Black citizens fight for suffrage, 1847-1869Wisconsin's Black citizens fight for suffrage, 1847-1869
Link to article: Delegates debate whether banks should be outlawed in the 1846 constitution.Delegates debate whether banks should be outlawed in the 1846 constitution.
Link to artifacts: The Shooting in the Territorial Council - 2The Shooting in the Territorial Council - 2
Link to book: The approved constitution of 1848The approved constitution of 1848
Link to images: Early Wisconsin settler and Madison Promoter James Duane DotyEarly Wisconsin settler and Madison Promoter James Duane Doty
Link to manuscript: The rejected constitution of 1846The rejected constitution of 1846
Link to manuscript: Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847Northern settlers try to join Minnesota, 1847
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