Treasures of the Riesenfeld Center, An online exhibit from the Arthur C. Pulling Rare Books Collection - Home Page
Title page of 'Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention for the Territory of Minnesota. 1858

"Minnesota's Constitutional Convention, which assembled in St. Paul on July 13, 1857, the seventieth anniversary of the passage of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787, was marred by bitterness and division. Feelings were so intense that the Republicans and Democrats met in separate rooms and drafted different constitutions. Finally, after national party leaders had counseled them to stop acting like 'border ruffians,' the leadership of both parties met and appointed a bipartisan committee. This compromise committee fashioned a constitution from the partially finished drafts of the two parties, and this document was accepted with almost no discussion. Some delegates still refused to inscribe their names on a document signed by members of the other party, so two copies were hastily drawn up —one signed by the Democrats, the other by the Republicans. There are over 300 differences in spelling, punctuation, and wording between these two documents. The courts have never been faced with the issue of which document was definitive, so Minnesota is unique in having had two official constitutions simultaneously." Minnesota Legal Research Guide, 2nd ed., 2002 at 6.


Photographed here is the title page of the Debates and Proceedings of the Constitutional Convention: the Republican version. The Democratic version is separately published!





Constitutional Convention of 1857.