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North Carolina Constitution

The state constitution governs the structure and function of the North Carolina government. It is the highest legal document for the state and subjugates North Carolina law. Like all state constitutions in the United States, this constitution is subject to federal judicial review. Any provision of the state constitution can be nullified if it conflicts with federal law and the United States Constitution.

North Carolina has had three constitutions:

  • 1776: Ratified December 18, 1776, as the first constitution of the independent state. The Declaration of Rights was ratified the preceding day.
  • 1868: Framed in accordance with the Reconstruction Acts after North Carolina was readmitted into the Union. It was a major reorganization and modification of the original into fourteen articles. It also introduced townships, which each county was required to create, the only southern state to do so.
  • 1971: Minor consolidation of the 1868 constitution and subsequent amendments.


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