Virginia Constitution, 1868
As required by federal law to be readmitted to the United States, a convention met to write a new state constitution. It reformed local government on the more democratic model of the New England township; it required the General Assembly to create a statewide system of free public schools for all children; it granted the governor the right to veto bills that the assembly had passed; and it granted the vote to "Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one years old," except some supporters of the Confederacy. The constitution as approved by the convention in April 1868 disfranchised some former Confederates, which resulted in a delay in holding a ratification referendum. When the referendum was held in July 1869, voters ratified the constitution by a vote of 210,585 to 9,136, and they rejected the clauses disfranchising former Confederates.
Constitutional Convention (1867-1868), Accession 23877, State Government Records Collection, Library of Virginia.
1868 (ratified 1869)
Library of Virginia
Manuscript on vellum