August 26 marks the 205th anniversary of the adoption of Illinois' inaugural state Constitution in 1818. This foundational document paved the way for the establishment of a government structure in the 21st state of the nation. Drafted primarily by Elias Kent Kane, a New York lawyer and Yale graduate, the Constitution was influenced by precedents from other states, including Ohio and Kentucky.
The Constitutional Convention convened at Bennett's Tavern in Kaskaskia, saw 33 delegates from 15 counties shape the Constitution in just three weeks. Notably, the Constitution delineated the separation of powers into three branches and introduced the House of Representatives and Senate, elected directly by the people, differing from the federal model.
The Constitution set the stage for elections, established qualifications for representatives and senators, and designated the division of powers. It also created the judiciary and outlined the roles of various officials. The llinois Constitutions has seen three revisions; 1848, 1870, and 1970.