Happy Birthday, Missouri Constitution!
One hundred ninety years ago, on July 19, 1820, Missouri’s founders signed the state’s first constitution. It was far from a perfect document — it permitted the abhorrent practice of slavery and prohibited free blacks from moving into the state, among other deficiencies — but the Missouri Constitution of 1820 represents the beginning of self-government and constitutional protections for liberty in this geographical region. As such, it is a critical milestone on the path toward liberty for all Missourians. And, at roughly 9,400 words, it makes for far easier reading than our current 70,000-word monstrosity. I hope you’ll consider looking it over, or — at a bare minimum — that you’ll take a few moments to consider the words of Article XIII, section 16, which provides in part: “That the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and that every person may freely speak, write, and print, on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.”