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New Mexico Constitution Collection

Identifier: MSS-171-BC

Scope and Content

This is a collection of New Mexico constitutional documents and publications. Included are Spanish copies of the 1850 and 1889 Constitutions. One Spanish copy of the 1889 Constitution is bound with a few miscellaneous volumes of Spanish religious journals; the journals date from 1886-1889. From the 1910-1912 constitutional era, there are copies of the rules governing the 1910 Constitutional Convention, published proceedings of that convention, copies of the 1910 Constitution in English and Spanish, and versions of the Constitution as amended during the period leading up to Statehood in 1912. One English copy is a published, annotated version from 1911. There is a large photocopy of the signatures of all signatories to the 1910 Constitution. The collection also contains several pocket-sized editions of the state constitution. These versions are dated 1936, 1941, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1957, and 1965, and reflect the various amendments made to the Constitution at these times. There is one newspaper edition of the Constitution, published prior to a 1969 vote on amendments.

All documents in this collection are typed and published, and are written in Spanish or English.


  • 1886-1969


Language of Materials

English Spanish

Historical Information

The New Mexico Constitution Collection reflects at least four eras of New Mexican constitutional history. First, the collection contains one copy of the 1850 Constitution, which was drafted by New Mexico's leaders in an attempt to gain Statehood at that time. Despite the support of a majority of New Mexico residents, Congress denied Statehood in 1850, in part, because of strong New Mexican opposition to slavery. The United States Congress passed instead what is known as the "1850 Compromise," a bill which created the Territory of New Mexico.

Second, documents in the collection pertain to the 1889 Constitution of New Mexico. This document was written by the New Mexican Territorial Government in another attempt to gain Statehood. Unlike the 1850 effort, however, the 1889 Constitution was rejected by New Mexico voters and never reached the U.S. Congress. The Constitution failed in New Mexico under Democratic Party pressure; Democrats disliked the Constitutions provisions for secular schooling and limited taxation.

Next, there are copies of the Constitution drafted in 1910. This document eventually passed all votes necessary for New Mexico to become a state in 1912. The New Mexico Constitution was created through debate at a Constitutional Convention held between October 3 and November 21, 1910. Despite the political domination by Republican lawmakers at the Convention, the Constitution was approved first by Convention delegates and then overwhelmingly by the New Mexican electorate in January 1911. President Taft approved the Constitution on February 24, 1911 and this was followed by Congressional approval on March 1, 1911. A filibuster in the Senate concerning New Mexico"s articles of amendment, however, delayed passing of the Constitution at the Federal level until August 1911. New Mexico became a state on January 6, 1912.

Finally, some Constitutional documents in the collection relate to the era after Statehood. Included are numerous copies of amended Constitutions, reflecting changes to the Constitution between 1912 and 1969.


1 box (.45 cu. ft.)


The New Mexico Constitution Collection consists of published New Mexico Constitutions. Included are Spanish copies of the 1850 and 1889 Territorial Constitutions, documents pertaining to the drafting of the 1910 Constitution, and several copies of the 1910 Constitution itself. The 1910 document formed the basis for New Mexico Statehood in 1912.

Collection Available Online

Selected materials from this collection are available online at the Center for Southwest Research's Manuscripts digital collections.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Larson, Robert W. New Mexico's Quest for Statehood, 1846-1912. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1968.
  • Mabry, Thomas J. "New Mexico's Constitution in the Making: Reminiscences of 1910," New Mexico Historical Review. 19:168-184 (1944).
  • Shelton, Wilma Loy. "Checklist of New Mexico Publications: Constitutions," New Mexico Historical Review. 24:134-136 (1949).
Finding Aid of the New Mexico Constitution Collection, 1886-1969
Processed by Tad McIlwraith
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 171 BC::New Mexico Constitution Collection)//EN" "nmu1mss171bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131