Tennessee State Constitution
The first constitution of the state of Tennessee was adopted in 1796. The constitution was drafted in Knoxville by a convention consisting of 55 delegates. Once it was completed, the delegates sent the Constitution to Washington City for review by the Congress before it adjourned. President Washington signed the bill giving Tennessee immediate statehood on June 1, 1796. Most of the provisions regarding declarations on rights, taxes, and legislative authority were drawn from the North Carolina and Pennsylvania constitutions. According to historian J. G. M. Ramsey, Thomas Jefferson described the Tennessee constitution as the “least imperfect and most republican of the state constitutions.” The original 1796 constitution is kept at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. Click here to see a digital image of the 1796 Constitution and download a transcription.