Text by Ana Daraban
The Salt Lake Tribune
In May 1895, ninety-nine state delegates
gathered at the City and County Building in Salt Lake
City to create a state constitution. The delegates had
met six times previous to obtain congressional approval
of a state constitution and the cherished grant of statehood.
This seventh convention was successful, but this constitution
was drafted and the convention was elected on the initiative
of the U.S. Congress that passed an “enabling
act” dictating both procedures and terms.
The state constitution was ratified
at 12:15 p.m. on May 8, 1895 and it took the delegates
from noon to 1:40 p.m. to sign their names. According
to The Tribune “The magnitude of the honor of
signing the great Charter of the State or a too anxious
desire to make their signature specimens of their very
best penmanship, caused most of the delegates to write
their very worst.” The delegates thought a governor
should be worth a salary of $2,000 a year and $1,500
would be a fair stipend for an attorney general.
The convention forbade the “State
to authorize any game of chance” but it agreed
to suffrage for women, an issue that repeatedly split
the convention members.