74 Or. L. Rev. 611 (1995)
The Creation of the Oregon Constitution

handle is hein.journals/orglr74 and id is 621 raw text is: DAVID SCHUMAN*

The Creation of the Oregon
O REGON has had only one constitution, created during a
single month in 1857. The sixty drafters, most of whom
were farmers,' produced a state charter remarkable only for its
conventionality and small-mindedness; 172 of its 185 sections
were copied from other constitutions,2 and the thirteen original
ones consisted almost entirely of various racial exclusions and
measures limiting state expenditures.3
Despite this apparent crabbed conservatism, however, the Or-
egon Constitution has played a key role in the twentieth cen-
tury's  most   radical   and   progressive   state  constitutional
developments: the so-called Oregon System of popular democ-
racy, which grew out of the initiative and referendum provisions
of the Oregon Constitution;4 and the revival of state constitu-
tional rights known as the new judicial federalism, first and
most persistently practiced by the Oregon judiciary. These influ-
ential doctrines derive not from the text of the document as
drafted in 1857, but from subsequent historical developments:
the populist reform politics of the early twentieth century and the
revival of state constitutionalism by the Oregon Supreme Court
beginning in the late 1970s.
* Associate Professor and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, University of
Oregon School of Law. B.A., Stanford University, 1966; Ph.D., University of Chi-
cago, 1974; J.D., University of Oregon School of Law, 1984. This article, in abridged
form, will appear as part of Chapter 1 of DAVID SCHUMAN, THE OREGON CONSTI-
TUTION: A REFERENCE GUIDE (G. Alan Tarr ed., forthcoming 1997).
TUTIONAL CONVENTION OF 1857, at 28-29 (Charles H. Carey ed., 1926) [hereinafter
2 See, e.g., id. at app. a (listing correlations between the 1857 Oregon Constitution
and the constitutions of Indiana, Maine, and Iowa).
3 Id. See generally W.C. Palmer, The Sources of the Oregon Constitution, 5 OR. L.
REV. 200 (1926).
4 David Schuman, The Origin of State Constitutional Direct Democracy: William
Simon U'Ren and The Oregon System, 67 TEMP. L. REV. 947 (1994).


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