A brief history of the Tennessee Constitution
• That first constitution was written in Knoxville during the winter of 1796.
• That year the state was created from the geographic area known as the Southwest Territory.
• The first constitution was not put to a vote of the citizens of the new state for ratification, but was approved by Congress.
• It gave almost complete control of state government to the legislative branch, not following the fundamental “balance of power” principle.
• That fact, among others, led to the calling of a constitutional convention. The second convention met in Nashville during the spring of 1834.
• A new constitution was approved by the people in March 1835.
• The 1835 document stood until 1870, five years after the ending of the Civil War.
• Delegates elected in December 1869 met in Nashville on Jan. 10, 1870, wrote a new constitution, and adjourned on Feb. 23.
• The new constitution was ratified by the people on the fourth Saturday in March 1870.
• The 1870 constitution stood unchanged until 1953, when it was first amended.
• Further amendments followed in 1960, 1966, 1972, 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014.
Source: The Tennessee Blue Book