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1972 Constitutional Convention

Page history last edited by mkohl@mt.gov 7 months, 2 weeks ago

Adopted in 1972, Montana's current state constitution enshrines rights beyond those guaranteed by the U.S. constitution, including the right to privacy and the right to a "clean and healthful" environment. Montana's constitution has been called one of the most beautiful, progressive constitutions in the United States. It is a model that other states, and even nations, have followed to write their own constitutions.  In many ways it reset the state’s government, but it was not an easy process.  The “people’s crusade” that led to its creation was one of the most significant reform efforts in Montana history. The crusade involved many young people and individuals and organizations new to traditional politics.  Securing support for the 1972 convention required these people and organizations to articulate the need for change.  Organizing the convention itself so that members could state and acknowledge conflicting views and reach consensus and compromise required great commitment and skill.  Finally, persuading Montanans to adopt the new constitution required substantive and no nonsense effort. 


Secondary Sources


"Chapter 21: A People's Constitution, 1972," Montana: Stories of the Land (Helena, MT, 2008).  Read the chapter on-line (good brief background)


Cody E. Ferguson, "Beyond Oro y Plata: The 1971-1972 Montana State Constitutional Convention and the Writing of Montana's Environmentally Progressive Constitution," Senior Thesis, Carroll College, 2001. [available at the MHS Research Center]


Harry W. Fritz, “Montana, 1965-1975,” Montana Magazine 64 (March-April 1984): 10-14.


Montana Constitutional Society of 1972 Book Committee, 100 Delegates: Montana Constitutional Convention of 1972. Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Co., 1989.


Primary Sources at the Montana Historical Society


Montana Constitution Revision Commission Records, 1969-1971 (RS 20).

For details, see the on-line finding aid for this collection of historical records.


Montana Constitutional Convention (1972) Records, 1971-1972 (RS 22)

For details, see the on-line finding aid for this collection of historical records.


Primary and Secondary Sources on the Internet


Resources for Teaching about the Montana Constitution 


 1972 Montana Constitution.  


Montana Constitutional Convention proceedings, 1971-1972.
Volumes I and II include information on delegates, Convention Rules, and Delegate and Committee Proposals. Volumes III through VII include a full transcript of the convention. An Index is also provided.



Vertical Files at the Montana Historical Society


"Montana Constitution, 1972"

"Montana Constitutional Convention - 1972" (3 folders)

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