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Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1899
By W. F. HENNING,
The first constitution of California was adopted in convention chosen by the people under proclamation issued by Brevet Brig. General B. Riley, U. S. A., then in command of the United States forces, and ex officio civil governor, by virtue of the laws of Mexico then in force here, and by which the military officer in command became governor in the absence of a duly elected civil governor. The election for members of the convention was held August 1st, 1849; the convention met at Monterey on the 1st of September following, and on the 10th of October of the same year, the constitution was adopted in convention. It was ratified by the people on the 13th of November, and proclaimed on the 20th of December, 1849.
The first amendment was proposed by the legislature in 1855, and ratified November 4th, 1856. This amendment altered the mode in which the constitution might be revised or entirely changed, and provided that the constitution that should be agreed upon by a convention called for such purpose should thereafter be submitted to the people; and provided also for the canvass of the vote cast, and for proclamation thereof by the governor, which provisions were not in the constitution as originally adopted. No other amendments were made until those proposed in 1861, and which were
ratified September 3d, 1862. These amendments changed the sessions of the legislature from annual to biennial, and of course changed the term of office of the members of the house from one to two years, and of senators from two to four years. The terms of governor, secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction were changed from two to four years, and the judicial department was changed in very material respects.
The next amendment was that ratified September 6th, 1871, by which section 22 was added to article I, limiting appropriations to two years.
The present constitution was adopted in convention at Sacramento, March 3d, 1879; was ratified by vote of the people May 7th, 1879, and went into effect, according to its own terms, at 12 o'clock, M., July 4th, 1879, so far as the same relates to the election of all officers, the commencement of their terms, and the sessions of the legislature. In all other respects and for all other purposes, it took effect on the first day of January, 1880, at 12 o'clock, M.
The amendments to this constitution have been five, as follows: Section 19, article XI, and section 9, article XIII, ratified at election held November 5th, 1881; section 8, article XI, ratified at election held April 12th, 1887; and sections 8 and 18, article XI, ratified at election held November 8th, 1892.
It will be seen by reference to Davis v. Superior Court, 63 Cal. 581, and Staude v. Election Commissioners, 61 Cal. 313, People v. O'Brien, 96 Cal. 171, that the present Supreme Court will follow, as authoritative, the construction placed upon any provision of the former constitution - by the former Su