Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York

By Peter J. Galie | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Toward the Year 2000:
Reflections on New York's
Constitutional Tradition

THE CURRENT NEW YORK CONSTITUTION comprises twenty articles containing over 50,000 words. Six provide the framework for government: the Legislature (Art. III), the Executive (Art. IV), the Judiciary (Art. VI), State Offices (Art. V), Public Officers (Art. XIII), and Local Government (Art. IX). Two establish the rights of citizens: The Bill of Rights (Art. I) and Suffrage (Art. II). Ten -- half the constitution -- concern substantive or policy issues: State Finance (VII), Local Finance (VIII), Corporations (X), Education (XI), Defense (XII), Conservation (XIV), Canals (XV), Taxation (XVI), Social Welfare (XVII), and Housing (XVIII). Finally, Article XIX allows for amending the constitution, and Article XX concerns the time of taking effect.

The fundamentals of the state constitution were shaped in the nineteenth century. Three defining factors stand out: an aversion to special legislation, democratization of the polity, and constitutionalizing of public policy.

That tradition understood the government's role as limited not so much by an ideology of laissez-faire as by an ideology which saw government as a neutral actor in judging competing claims of those who would have it act for their benefit. Government would intervene when a clear public purpose justified action, but would not intervene when such action advanced the interest of one group or individual at the expense of another. The real bête noire for nineteenth-century constitution-makers was special privilege in the form of special charters, and special legislation. Much of their effort was concentrated on preventing passage of such special legislation. In pursuit of this goal numerous restrictions were placed on the legislature concerning both the substance of, and procedures for, passing legislation, and limitaz


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ordered Liberty: A Constitutional History of New York
Table of contents

Table of contents



Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 409

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?