Constitutional History of Virginia

Title Details

Pages: 396

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 05/01/2023

ISBN: 9-780-8203-6335-6

List Price: $39.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of 1971 Virginia Constitution Commemoration Steering Committee

Constitutional History of Virginia

A comprehensive constitutional history of Virginia that offers unique insights into its political and legal past

Skip to

  • Description
  • Reviews

This is the only modern comprehensive constitutional history of any state, and as a history of Virgina, it is one of the oldest and most complex. Virginia’s state legislature is the Virginia General Assembly, which was established in July 1619, making it the oldest current lawmaking body in North America. Brent Tarter’s Constitutional History of Virginia covers over three hundred years of Virginia’s legislative policy, from colony to statehood, revealing its political and legal backstory.

From the very beginning in 1606, when James I chartered the Virginia Company to establish a commercial outpost on the Atlantic coast of North America, through the first two decades of the twenty-first century, the fundamental constitutions of the colony and state of Virginia have evolved and changed as the demographic, economic, political, and cultural characteristics of Virginia changed. Elements of the colonial constitution influenced the character of the state’s first constitution in 1776, and changing relationships between the people and their government, as well as relationships between the state and federal governments, have influenced how the state’s constitution has evolved. Tarter explores that evolution and taps into its relevance to the people who have lived and still live in Virginia.

Authoritative and well written, Brent Tarter’s Constitutional History of Virginia is now the essential starting place for all research on Virginia’s past governments. Comprehensive in scope, it covers the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries with clear, detailed prose. A must-read for political scientists and historians of state government.

—Sally E. Hadden, author of Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas

About the Author/Editor

BRENT TARTER is a retired senior editor at the Library of Virginia, the founding editor of the Library of Virginia’s Dictionary of Virginia Biography, and a cofounder of the annual Virginia Forum. He is the author of A Saga of the New South: Race, Law, and Public Debt in Virginia and Virginians and Their Histories. He lives and writes in Chesterfield, Virginia.