Virginia Constitutions

The effectiveness of constitutional revision as a means of reform is subject to limitations imposed by the social and political conditions of the society for which the constitution is designed and by which it must ultimately be accepted.

-Wythe W. Holt, Jr. “Constitutional Revision in Virginia, 1902 and 1928: Some Lessons on Roadblocks to Institutional Reform.” Virginia Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 5, 1968.

The state constitution intimately affects all aspects of our daily lives. While students learn about the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and all the amendments, many people do not realize that the laws passed in their state are informed and shaped by a state constitution.

Virginia created its first state constitution in 1776. Since then, Virginia has fully revised its constitution six times, with additional adjustments along the way. Those changes are inspired by perceived social and political needs, and can result in economic opportunity to some and disadvantage to others; changes in the kind of public education our children receive, if any; and determining who may vote and who may not. A state constitution shapes our present and future, yet many are unaware of its existence.

We invite you to learn more about Virginia’s Constitutions by exploring the historical context of each document, discovering them in our digital collections, and exploring their meaning and influence on our lives.

Learn about Virginia’s constitutions with historian Brent Tarter

Virginia Constitution Timeline

facebook twitter youtube instagram view more