The Constitution of 1874

The fourth constitution of the Commonwealth was partly a result of a nationwide reform movement in the 1870s and partly a result of specific corrections to the previous constitution. It provided for the popular election of judges, the State Treasurer, and the Auditor General. It created an office of Lieutenant Governor and a Department of Internal Affairs which combined several offices under an elected secretary. The head of the public school system received the title of Superintendent of Public Instruction. The General Assembly was required to provide efficient public education for no less than one million dollars per year. The Governor’s term was lengthened from three to four years, but he could no longer succeed himself. He was empowered to veto individual items within appropriations bills. The membership of the General Assembly was increased, but its powers were limited by a prohibition of special or local legislation about certain specified subjects, a constitutional debt limit, and other restrictions. Sessions of the General Assembly became biennial.

Back to top