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PUBLICATIONS

OF THE

STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF WISCONSIN

JOSEPH SCHAFER, SUPERINTENDENT

MILO M. QUAIFE, EDITOR

WISCONSIN HISTORICAL PUBLICATIONS

COLLECTIONS, VOLUME XXIX

CONSTITUTIONAL SERIES, VOLUME IV

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PEG 38

F

576

1881
154293

V.29

1928

COPYRIGHT, 1928

BY THE

STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF WISCONSIN

5

2000 COPIES PRINTED

THE ANTES PRESS, Evansville, Wisconsin, State Printers

PREFACE

That the people of Wisconsin were determined to discard the shackles of territorial bondage was evident at least as early as the beginning of the year 1846. The long turmoil which culminated in the decisive rejection of the constitution of 1846 by the voters on April 6, 1847 did not operate to lessen this determination. The debate over ratification, set forth in the preceding volume of this series, made it abundantly clear that the voters did not desire statehood under the constitution of 1846; equally clear was it that with a convention more wisely organized than the first had been, and in the light of the popular mandate against certain features of the first constitution which the electorate had been persuaded were unduly "progressive," a document might be drafted which would meet with general acceptance.

We have seen (in Volume III) that early in 1847 the territorial legislature sought to anticipate the prospective rejection of the constitution then before the voters by making provision for a second convention should this event transpire. This project failed of enactment, however; and when in the April election the voters rejected the constitution of 1846, this action was taken with the knowledge that in all probability it meant the delaying of statehood to a date which would render impossible the much-desired participation in the presidential election of 1848.

Notwithstanding the general desire for statehood, after the election of April 6, 1847 popular attention was promptly diverted to other matters. Whether this was because of a general conviction on the part of the voters that the leaders would procure for them such a constitution as they had roughly indicated their desire to have, or whether it was due to the psychological impossibility of fixing attention longer on the subject, is not wholly clear. Whatever the reason for the loss of interest, there is no more striking change in the history of Wisconsin, perhaps, than that between the

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