The The United States Constitution had recently

The state of
Georgia has been historically regulated by a series of ruling documents. In
1732, King George granted Georgia a colonial charter that included several
rules and laws for the colony. The first charter addressed leadership,
religion, and council within the colony. A few years later, in 1776, Georgia’s
Provincial Congress adopted the colonial Rules and Regulations document, which
operated as Georgia’s temporary constitution during the American Revolution. Georgia’s
first official constitution was ratified in 1777, and addressed government authority
within a legislature, the separation of powers, and fundamental rights such as
freedom of religion and the right to a jury trial.

            Nearly 12 years after establishing
its official constitution, Georgia made its first changes to the document in
1789. The United States Constitution had recently been ratified, and Georgia amended
its state constitution to reflect the national constitution. Georgia’s 1789
state constitution included civil protections that resembled the U.S. Bill of
Rights, a bicameral legislature, and a commander-in-chief position (governor)
that resembled the U.S. president. In 1798, the state constitution was ratified
again. The new amendments established provisions on how governors would be
elected and also outlawed the importation of enslaved people. The 1798 state
constitution’s ban of the passage of enslaved people would begin a series of
future constitutional amendments related to slavery.

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            Georgia’s constitution of 1861 was
significant because it was enacted the same year the Confederate States of
America was established. Accordingly, Georgia’s constitution closely resembled
the Confederacy’s constitution. An extensive Bill of Rights was included, and
due process and judicial review were also added. Subsequently, Georgia’s 1865
constitution was very important in its historical context. After the Civil War,
the state constitution abolished slavery; furthermore, the constitution also
included an Ordinance of Secession that was required for potential reacceptance
into the Union. However, Georgia’s refusal to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment hindered
the state’s readmission. In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment was finally
ratified, and all male citizens were granted the right to vote. These
amendments were essential, particularly for African-Americans, because they
were granted citizenship and the right to vote for men.  Additionally, a provision was added that
implemented free public education throughout the state. In 1877, Georgia’s
constitution was altered in a post-Reconstruction context. Georgia sought to
regain its power after Republicans ruled the state in the years after the Civil
War.

            The most recent constitutional
changes in Georgia have occurred in 1945, 1976, and 1983. In 1945, the
lieutenant governor position was added and a state board of corrections was
added; the latter is a modern-day issue due to discrimination within the
justice system. Additionally, women were allowed to serve on juries and new
constitutional officers were implemented. In 1976, George Busbee called for
revision of the state’s constitution to make the document more coherent and
organized. Lastly, in 1983, Georgia’s state constitution experienced the
biggest revision since 1877. Many provisions remained the same, but some new
amendments were added, including additional regulations related to the courts
and an equal protection clause. Georgia’s constitution has not experienced significant
changes since 1983, but some amendments have been added. A 1992 amendment added
the lottery, and a 2004 amendment banned same-sex marriage. Overall, Georgia’s
constitution has experienced many significant changes and affects how the state
operates today.