Fundamental Orders of Connecticut is regarded as the first written constitution of an American Colony. John Fiske mentioned that the Fundamental Orders are the first written constitution of western tradition and therefore he called Connecticut as “The Constitution State”. The Orders were adopted on January 14, 1638 and had great significance especially in the field of promotion of voting rights. These orders also inspired other colonies like Hartford and Massachusetts to make their constitution and provide voting rights as mentioned in these Fundamental Orders.
The framing of the constitution started after a series of events that took place in 1635 AD. Puritans of Massachusetts were finding hard to negotiate with the English settlers. In order to remove the dispute between the settlers and puritans, Massachusetts General Court formed a March Commission under the supervision of Roger Ludlow. In 1638 AD, Ludlow wrote to the governor Winthrop that the dispute between the settlers and puritans has been resolved and therefore no external agency is required to look into the whole process.
Roger Ludlow drafted ‘Fundamental Orders of Connecticut’ which established Connecticut as a self-ruled entity.
Impact of Fundamental Orders of Connecticut on US Constitution
The Fundamental Orders were so impressive that many of its feature were adopted in the constitution of United States of America. Some very rare features of the fundamental orders were
- Keeping the identity of the voter as secret.
- Use of paper Ballot System.
- Government should ensure Individual’s Rights.
- Impact on Connecticut Constitution
The “Declaration of Rights” in first article of the current Connecticut Constitution is having individual rights that are directly derived from the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut.