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Virginia Constitution, 1971 and Today

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Virginia signed its first constitution in 1776 upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Since that time, there have been frequent amendments and six major revisions to the constitution: 1830, 1851, 1864, 1870, 1902, and 1971. Our current constitution is an amended version of the 1971 constitution. These revisions to the Virginia constitution are representative of the political, social, regional, and racial climate of the times.

The 1971 constitution incorporated changes mandated by the Civil Rights movement, such as the federal Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Act. These historic pieces of legislation invalidated many of the segregation and Jim Crow voting requirements present in the 1902 constitution.

The 1971 constitution also serves as our current constitution. That doesn't mean the constitution hasn't changed since 1971. Instead, there have been numerous amendments passed that alter specific sections of the constitution. The changes were important, but did not make changes that would require a completely new constitution.

This document presents the original 1971 constitution and all amendments to it.

Source: Constitution of Virginia, 1971, Virginia General Assembly (accessed October 6, 2009).