Talk:California Constitution

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We need to show how this document has changed over time. It is extremely difficult to find the constitution in its original form, I imagine because it is so embarrassing. For the federal constitution, you find many sources with sections lined out where they are no longer valid. It would be of great interest to compare the original and current CA documents, crossing out sections which have been deleted, and italicizing sections which were added. 76.93.172.63 08:30, 23 February 2008 (UTC)

The original constitution is here and it is definitely not the same as we have here. I'm not sure what edition we have here, which is not good. John Vandenberg (chat) 09:41, 23 February 2008 (UTC)


A note from Tom Condit, 9 March 2008:

I think the problem John Vandenberg is finding flows from missing a stage in the source documents. The first consititution (1849) is not the document currently being amended. A constitutional convention was held in 1878 to rewrite the California constitution, and the results of that process were ratified in an 1879 election. All amendments since have been to the 1879 constitution, not the 1849 constitution.

The problem is finding a clean copy of the 1879 constitution, which I've been unable to do thus far. I strongly suspect that political censorship is part of what's going on here. The 1878 convention was not a Rotary Club gathering.

Don't know if you can use this, but Wikipedia has what claims to be a photocopy of the constitution published in 1880: w:Image:California State Constitution of 1879.pdf. Hut 8.5 17:35, 26 April 2008 (UTC)
I have set up a transcription project Index:California State Constitution of 1879.djvu using that PDF, and using the text of Art. I, Sec. 3, a search turns up this text which says it is the constitution of 1879, so the text should be able to be copied and pasted onto the pages of the DJVU transcription project. John Vandenberg (chat) 03:42, 27 April 2008 (UTC)

Having the text of the 1879 constitution is only part of the solution. A straightforward redline (strikeout + insert) on the constitution isn't terribly useful because the text has been amended hundreds of times.

Even more problematic is the reorganization that the legislature undertook in the 1960s and 70s. Whole articles were stricken and replaced with other subject matter. Even worse, sections of articles moved to other articles and some sections were broken up and moved into other sections (whose contents were often simultaneously moved elsewhere). In 1974, for example, what was a straightforward prohibition of slavery in Art. I Sec. 18 moved to Art. I Sec. 6 (with some minor language edits). What was originally Sec. 6 moved to Sections 10, 12, 17 (where text from other sections also ended up).

I've mapped parts of this maze when I had to. Presenting the results (reasonably) coherently requires breaking the Constitution into sections or subsections and tracking each one's movement over the decades. Wonderbreadsf (talk) 22:58, 6 September 2008 (UTC)

You could make a little flash animation that shows its evolution. Parts fading away, sliding around, and new amendments popping up, all to the tune of that Bill song from School House Rock... 75.111.30.138 02:42, 18 November 2008 (UTC)
That would be fantastic. Although, I doubt the "I'm Just a Bill" song is under a free license. Gentgeen (talk) 03:16, 20 November 2008 (UTC)