“We the People: The Constitutional Heritage of Arkansas,” an exhibit by the Arkansas History Commission, will open at the Justice Building on Friday, September 8, 2006 and will remain on display Monday through Friday from 7:30 to 5:00 pm for one year. The exhibit will open as part of the annual conference of the Arkansas Supreme Court Historical Society, which will focus on “Arkansas’s Constitutional Heritage” on Friday, September 8, 2006 at the Justice Building. Established in 1905, the Arkansas History Commission serves as the official state archives and cares for many original state documents, such as the constitutions. In conjunction with the exhibit opening, a special showing of four of the original state constitutions will be held during the September 8 conference.
“We the People” examines the history of the five constitutions that have governed Arkansas. Each of the five constitutions symbolizes a change in the state’s political status: statehood in 1836, joining the Confederate States of America during the Civil War in 1861, military occupation near the end of the Civil War in 1864, Reconstruction in 1868 and reaction to Reconstruction in 1874. Although several attempts have been made to draft a new constitution, the 1874 document currently remains the basis for state law in Arkansas.