1780 · Boston
Massachusetts congressional broadside announcing the results of the public vote to adopt the State Constitution, the only one of the 13 original state constitutions that did not require wholesale revision following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
With the leading expert on constitutional law during the Revolution, John Adams, as its chief architect, the Massachusetts State Constitution replaced the colonial charter and served as a model for the U.S. Constitution-particularly in its strict separation of powers and system of checks and balances. “The process of constitution-making in Massachusetts gave life to what was then the revolutionary concept of ‘We the People,’ a phrase traceable to the Preamble of the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780 and, later, made famous as the inspirational first words of the United States Constitution” (Robert J. Brink). The full text of the Massachusetts Constitution first appeared shortly after March 2, 1780 from the Boston press of Benjamin Edes, a Son of Liberty and one of the organizers of the Boston Tea Party. Edes was the printer of the radical and influential Boston Gazette, which counted among its contributors John Adams, Samuel Adams and other leaders of the Revolution. This is the rare broadside announcement of public endorsement of the Massachusetts Constitution. While it bears no imprint statement, it was probably also printed by Benjamin Edes. Not only does it announce the formal adoption of the Constitution, but also declares an effective date for implementation, sets a date for convening the first General Court, and outlines procedures for electing the Governor, Senators and Representatives. The 1780 Massachusetts Constitution, though extensively amended, still serves her. It is the oldest continuously-used constitution of any state or nation in the world, and this scarce broadside announces its legitimacy. Evans 16846. Ford 2259.
" (Inventory #: 53353)