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Constitution Monday: Can’t Change States

Note: Throughout this series, items that are hyperlinked were in the Constitution as written in 1787 but have since been amended or superseded.

Article IV of the Constitution of the United States deals with relations between the States and regulates the creation of new states.  Here is Article IV, Section III:

Section. 3.

New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or Parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.

The Congress shall have Power to dispose of and make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to Prejudice any Claims of the United States, or of any particular State.

At the time of the Constitution’s writing, the States of the Union saw themselves almost as sovereign countries and so needed assurances that the federal government wasn’t going to reorganize them at will. This is probably why the States of the Confederacy were kept intact during Reconstruction despite calls to redraw State borders to reduce the influence of the then ruling elites.


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