Declaration of Rights
When white Ohians examined their first constitution, they considered the state "a bastion of liberty." Salmon Portland Chase in A Preliminary History of Ohio extolled the virtues of the state. Ohio never required property for voting. It protected personal and property rights. It assured a trial by jury, peaceable assembly, an educational system, and it prohibited slavery. Ohio, however, was no bastion of liberty for African Americans. Along with its declarations of rights, the state constitution subtly decreed Ohio to be a white state. Its constitutional policy limited all rights and privileges to whites, particularly white males. The following documents show this dual policy.
Constitution of Ohio, Article 8, 1802.
That the general, great, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized, and forever unalterably established, we declare:
Section 1. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural inherent and inalienable rights; amongst which are enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety; and every free republican government, being founded on their sole authority, and organized for the great purpose of protecting their rights and liberties, and securing their independence: to effect these ends, they have at all times a complete power to alter, reform or abolish their government, whenever they may deem it necessary.