The New York Constitution and the Federal System

Peter Galie

in The Oxford Handbook of New York State Government and Politics

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195387230
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 The New York Constitution and the Federal System

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This article addresses the establishment of New York Constitution and the American federal system. The New York Constitution demonstrates a framework for governance, distributes and limits powers, and protects individual rights. Constitutional change in the state has led or been reflected in dominant movements in American politics—Jacksonian democracy, Progressive reform, Depression-era activist government. The roots of constitutional government in New York are embedded in the state's colonial history, which is rooted in English constitutional and common law. In New York after 1821, voters could vote directly on whether to approve a constitutional amendment. The constitution of 1846 has been called the “People's Constitution.” Constitutional commissions would come to play an important role in state constitutional reform. State constitutions shape collective public identities and character. The state's constitution is an imperfect document, generally acknowledged in need of reform.

Keywords: New York Constitution; American federal system; state constitutional reform; constitutional government; People's Constitution; Jacksonian democracy; Progressive reform; Depression-era activist government

Article.  12083 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Institutions

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