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For organic acts issued before 1790 relating to the land now included within Kentucky see in this work :

Charters of Virginia, 1606, 1609, 1612 (Virginia, pp. 3783-3812).
Ordinances for Virginia, 1621 (Virginia, p. 3810).
Constitution of Virginia, 1776 (Virginia, p. 3812).



An Act for the Government of the Territory of the United States, south of the

river Ohio

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the territory of the United States south of the river Ohio, for the purposes of temporary government, shall be one district; the inhabitants of which shall enjoy all the privileges, benefits, and advantages set forth in the ordinance of the late Congress for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio. And the government of the said territory south of the Ohio shall be similar to that which is now exercised in the territory northwest of the Ohio; except so far as is otherwise provided in the conditions expressed in an act of Congress of the present session, entitled "An act to accept a cession of the claims of the State of North Carolina to a certain district of western territory." I

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted, That the salaries of the officers, which the President of the United States shall nominate, and with the advice and consent of the Senate appoint, by virtue of this act, shall be the same as those, by law established, of similar officers in the government northwest of the river Ohio. And the powers, duties, and emoluments of a superintendent of Indian affairs for the southern department shall be united with those of the governor.

Approved, May 26, 1790.

a Kentucky was originally settled by the wbites as a colony of Virginin, but after the revolutionary war the settlers demanded an independent government. under the following provision in the first constitution of Virginia : "The western and northern extent of Virginia shall, in all other respects, stand, as fixed by the charter of King James I, in the year 1609, and by the public treaty of peace between the courts of Great Britain and France, in the year 1763, unless by act of this legislature one or inore governments be established westward of the Allegbany Mountains.” It was not, however, until after there had been ten successive conventions elected by the people of the “district,” and four successive enabling acts passed by the legislature of Virginia, that Kentucky was allowed to enter the Federal Union as an independent State, on an equality with those which had establisbed themselves as a nation.



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An Act declaring the consent of Congress, that a new State be formed within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and admitted into this Union, by the name of the State of Kentucky

Whereas the legislature of the commonwealth of Virginia, by an act entitled "An act concerning the erection of the district of Kentucky into an independent state," passed the eighteenth day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine, have consented that the district of Kentucky, within the jurisdiction of the said commonwealth, and according to its actual boundaries at the time of passing the act aforesaid, should be formed into a new state: And whereas a convention of delegates, chosen by the people of the said district of Kentucky, have petitioned Congress to consent that, on the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, the said district should be formed into a new state, and received into the Union, by the name of “ The State of Kentucky:

SECTION 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, and it is hereby enacted and declared, That the Congress doth consent that the said district of Kentucky, within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth of Virginia, and according to its actual boundaries on the eighteenth day of December, one thousand seven hundred and eighty. nine, shall, upon the first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninety-two, be formed into a new State, separate from, and independent of the said commonwealth of Virginia.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted and declared, That upon the a foresaid first day of June, one thousand seven hundred and ninetytwo, the said new State, by the name and style of the State of Kentucky, shall be received and admitted into this Union as a new and entire member of the United States of America.

Approved, February 4, 1791.


We, the representatives of the people of the State of Kentucky, in convention assembled, do ordain and establish this constitution for its government.


1. The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of them to be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit, those which are legislative to one, those which are executive to another, and those which are judiciary to another.

* Verified from “The General Statutes of Kentucky. Bullitt and Feloud, Louisville. The Barnaby and Gilbert Co., 1887.” pp. 56–72.

a This constitution was adopted by a convention which met at Danville April 2, 1792, and completed its labors on the 19th of April, 1792. The constitution vas not submitted to the people for ratification.

2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly permitted.

3. The legislative powers of this commonwealth shall be vested in a general assembly, which shall consist of a senate and house of representatives.

4. The representatives shall be chosen annually, by the qualified electors of each county respectively, on the first Tuesday in May; but the several elections may be continued for three days, if, in the opinion of the presiding officer or officers, it shall be necessary, and no longer.

5. No person shall be a representative who shall not have attained the age of twenty-four years, and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State two years preceding his election, and the last six months thereof an inhabitant of the county in which he may be chosen; unless he shall have been absent on the public business of the United States, or this State.

6. Within two years after the first meeting of the general assembly, and within every subsequent term of four years, an enumeration of the free male inhabitants above twenty-one years of age shall be made, in such manner as may be directed by law. The number of the representatives shall, at the several periods of making such enumeration, be fixed by the legislature, and apportioned among the several counties, according to the number of free male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years in each, and shall never be less than forty, !!or greater than one hundred; but no county hereafter erected shall be entitled to a separate representation, until a sufficient number of free male inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years shall be contained within it, to entitle them to one representative, agreeable to the ratio which shall then be established.

7. The senators shall be chosen for four years.

8. Until the first enumeration be made, the senate shall consist of eleven members, and thereafter for every four members added to the house of representatives, one member shall be added to the senate.

9. In choosing the senate, one member at least shall be elected from each county, until the number of counties is equal to the number of senators; after which, when a new county is made, it shall, as to the choice of senators, be considered as being a part of the county or counties from which it shall have been taken.

10. The senate shall be chosen in the following manner: All persons qualified to vote for representatives shall, on the first Tuesday in May, in the present year, and on the same day in every fourth year, , forever thereafter, at the place appointed by law for choosing repre- . sentatives, elect by ballot, by a majority of votes, as many persons as they are entitled to have for representatives for their respective counties, to be electors of the senate.

11. No person shall be chosen an elector who shall not have resided in the State three years next before his election, and who shall not have attained the age of twenty-seven years.

12. The electors of the senate shall meet at such place as shall be appointed for convening the legislature, on the third Tuesday in May, in the present year, and on the same day in every fourth year forever thereafter; and they, or a majority of them so met, shall proceed to elect by ballot, as senators, men of the most wisdom,

experience, and virtue, above twenty-seven years of age, who shall have been residents of the State above two whole years next preceding the election. If on the ballot two or more shall have an equal number of ballots in their favor, by which the choice shall not be determined by the first ballot, then the electors shall again ballot before they separate, in which they shall be confined to the persons who, on tħe first ballot, shall have had an equal number, and they who shall have the greatest number in their favor on the second ballot shall be accordingly declared and returned duly elected; and if on the second ballot an equal number shall still be in favor of two or more persons, then the election shall be determined by lot between those who have equal numbers; which proceedings of the electors shall be certified under their hands, and returned to the secretary for the time being; to whom shall also be made, by the proper officers, returns of the persons chosen as electors in the respective counties.

13. The electors of senators shall judge of the qualifications and elections of members of their body, and on a contested election shall admit to a seat as an elector such qualified person as shall appear to them to have the greatest number of legal votes in his favor.

14. The electors, immediately on their meeting, and before they proceed to the election of senators, shall take an oath, or affirmation, to elect, without favor, affection, partiality, or prejudice, such person for governor, and such persons for senators, as they in their judgment and conscience believe best qualified for the respective offices.

15. That in case of refusal, death, resignation, disqualification, or removal out of this State, of any senator, the senate shall immediately thereupon, or at their next meeting thereafter, elect, by ballot, in the same manner as the electors are herein directed to choose senators, another person in his place, for the residue of the said term of four

years. 16. The general assembly shall meet on the first Monday in November in every year, till the time of their meeting shall be altered by the legislature, unless sooner convened by the governor.

17. Each house shall choose its speaker and other officers, and the senate shall also choose a speaker, pro tempore, when their speaker shall exercise the office of governor.

18. Each house shall judge of the qualifications of its members; contested elections shall be determined by a committee to be selected, formed, and regulated, in such manner as shall be directed by law. A majority of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized by law to compel the attendance of absent members, in 'such manner and under such penalties as may be provided.

19. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member; but not a second time for the same cause.

20. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish them weekly, except such parts of them as may require secrecy, and the yeas and nays of the members on any question shall, at the desire of any two of them, be entered on the journals.

21. The doors of each house and of committees of the whole shall be open, unless when the business shall be such as ought to be kept secret.

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