Sunday, 20 March 2016

constitutional conventions or prairie home companion

A bit like the decision of Illinois to make its official language American, which requires I think a bit more than cursory curiosity to get to the bottom of it, the territory of Minnesota, when the US Congress through its enabling acts, invited voters to join the union in 1857, factious fighting in the corridors of power in Saint Paul kept resulting in a gridlock and the failure of the new government to produce a state constitution. Facing this impasse to accession against the will of all constituencies, two constitutions were drafted, one that the Republicans found acceptable and one palatable for the Democrats of the territorial government.
Aside from being transcribed on plain white paper and blue tinged stationary respectively and differences in grammar and syntax (neither party would relent to the other’s victory but the antagonism had no real substance to it), both of these documents upheld the letter of the law in essentially the same way and both documents were submitted to Washington, concluding the convention. Despite the fact there was no difference between Republican and Democrat editions and I think that Minnesota’s founders never intended the members of one political party to be subject to a different prevailing policy to those on the other side of the aisle, it does not seem like a very good precedence in any terms. I wonder if the oddity is still on the books, or if eventually, one or the other parties conceded. I realise that there are other versions of America’s national constitution out there—with transcription errata, like editions of the Bible with damning typos—but without a definitive copy, what would it mean to make amends?