Additional Resources

The text of Declaration of Rights (Article I of the Constitution) and the Statehood Bill appeared in the July 20, 1890 Wyoming Commonwealth. The titles of each did not appear in the newspaper, but we've added them for context.

Wyoming's Statehood Bill


Text of the Bill Creating the New Commonwealth.

The Rights and Privileges of the New State Clearly Set Forth and Defined.

            WHEREAS, The people of the territory of Wyoming did, on the 30th day of September, 1889, by a convention of delegates called and assembled for that purpose, form for themselves a constitution, which constitution was ratified and adopted by the people of said territory at the election held therefor on the first Tuesday in November, 1889, which constitution is republican in form and is in conformity with the constitution of the United States; and

           WHEREAS, Said convention and the people of the said territory have asked the admission of said territory into the union of states on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever: therefore

Be it enacted by the senate and house of representatives of the United States of America in congress assembled:

            That the state of Wyoming is hereby declared to be a state of the United States of America, and is hereby declared admitted into the union on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever; and that the constitution which the people of Wyoming have formed for themselves be, and the same is hereby accepted, ratified and confirmed.

            Sec. 2. That the said state shall consist of all territory included within the following boundaries, to-wit: Commencing at the intersection of the twenty-seventh meridian of longitude west from Washington with the forty-fifth degree of north latitude and running thence west to the thirty-fourth meridian of west longitude; thence south to the forty-first degree of north latitude; thence east to the twenty-seventh meridian of west longitude, and thence north to the place of beginning. Provided, that nothing in this act contained shall repeal or affect any act of congress relating to the Yellowstone national park, or the reservation of the park as now defined, or as may be hereafter defined or extended, or the power of the United States over it. And nothing contained in this act shall interfere with the right and ownership of the United States in said park and reservation as it now is or may hereafter be defined or extended by law; but exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever shall be exercised by the United States, which shall have exclusive control and jurisdiction over the same, but nothing in this proviso contained shall be construed to prevent the service within said park of civil and criminal process lawfully issued by the authorities of said state; and the said state shall not be entitled to select indemnity school lands for the sixteenth and thirty-sixth sections that may be in said park reservation as the same is now defined or may be hereafter defined.

            Sec. 3. That until the next general census, or until otherwise provided by law, said state shall be entitled to one representative in the house of representatives of the United States, and the election of the representative to the Fifty-first congress and the representative to the Fifty-second congress shall take place at the same time, and be conducted and certified in the same manner as is provided in the constitution of the state for the election of state, district and other officers.

            Sec. 4. That sections numbered sixteen and thirty-six in every township of said proposed state, and where such sections, or any parts thereof, have been sold or otherwise disposed of by or under the authority of any act of congress other lands equivalent thereto in legal subdivisions of not less than one quarter section, and as contiguous as may be to the section in lieu of which the same is taken, are hereby granted to said state for the support of common schools, such indemnity lands to be selected within said state in such manner as the legislature may provide, with the approval of the secretary of the interior: Provided, That section six of the act of congress of August ninth, eighteen hundred and eighty-eight, entitled “An act to authorize the leasing of the school and university lands in the territory of Wyoming, and for other purposes,” shall apply to the school and university indemnity lands of the said state of Wyoming so far as applicable.

            Sec. 5. That all lands herein granted for educational purposes shall be disposed of only at public sale, the proceeds to constitute a permanent school fund, the interest of which only shall be expended in the support of said schools. Bus said lands may, under such regulations as the legislature shall prescribe, be leased for periods of not more than five years, in quantities not exceeding one section to any one person or company; and such land shall not be subject to pre-emption, homestead entry, or any other entry under the land laws of the United States, whether surveyed or unsurveyed, but shall be reserved for school purposes only.

            Sec. 6. That fifty sections of the unappropriated public lands within said state, to be selected and located in legal subdivisions as provided in section four of this act, shall be, and are hereby, granted to said state for the purpose of erecting public buildings at the capital of said state.

            Sec. 7. That five per centum of the proceeds of the sales of public lands lying within said state which shall be sold by the United States subsequent to the admission of said state into the Union, after deducting all the expenses incident to the same, shall be paid to the state, to be used as a permanent fund, the interest of which only shall be expended for the support of the common schools within said state.

            Sec. 8. That the lands granted to the territory of Wyoming by the act of February 18, 1881, entitled “An act to grant lands to Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Idaho and Wyoming for university purposes,” are hereby vested in the state of Wyoming, to the extent of the full quantity of seventy-two sections to said state, and any portion of said lands that may not have been selected by said territory of Wyoming may be selected by the said state; but said act of February 18, 1881, shall be so amended as to provide that none of said lands shall be sold for less than $10 per acre, and the proceeds shall constitute a permanent fund to be safely invested and held by said state and the income thereof be used exclusively for university purposes. The schools, colleges and universities provided for in this act shall forever remain under the exclusive control of the said state, and no part of the proceeds arising from the sale or disposal of any land herein granted for educational purposes shall be used for the support of any sectarian or denominational school, college or university. The section of land granted by the act of May 28, 1888, to the territory of Wyoming for a fish hatchery and other public purposes shall, upon the admission of the said state of Wyoming into the union, become the property of said state.

            Sec. 9. That the penitentiary at Laramie City, Wyoming, and all lands connected therewith and set apart and reserved therefor, and the personal property of the United States now being in the territory of Wyoming, and which has been in use in the said territory in the administration of the territorial government, including books and records, and the property used at the constitutional convention which convened at Cheyenne in the month of September, 1889, are hereby granted and donated, and unexpended appropriations of money therefor, are hereby granted and donated to the state of Wyoming.

            Sec. 10. That 90,000 acres of land, to be selected and located as provided in section four of this act, are hereby granted to said state for the use and support of an agricultural college in said state as provided in the acts of congress making donations of lands for such purpose.

            Sec. 11. That in lieu of the grant of land for purposes of internal improvement made to new states by the eighth section of the act of September 4, 1841, which section is hereby repealed as to the state of Wyoming, and in lieu of any claim or demand by the said state under the act of September 28, 1850, and section 2479 of the revised statutes making a grant of swamp and overflowed lands to certain states, which grant it is hereby declared is not extended to the state of Wyoming, and in lieu of any grant of saline lands to said state, the following grants of land are hereby made, to-wit:

            To the state of Wyoming: For the establishment and maintenance and support in the said state of the insane asylum in Uinta county, 30,000 acres; for the penal, reform, or educational institution in course of construction in Carbon county, 30,000 acres; for the penitentiary in Albany county, 30,000; for the fish hatchery in Albany county, 5,000 acres; for the deaf, dumb and blind asylum in Laramie county, 30,000 acres; for the poor farm in Freemont county, 10,000; for the hospital for miners who shall become disabled or incapacitated to labor while working in the mines of the state, 30,000; for public buildings at the capitol of the state, in addition to those herein before granted for that purpose, 75,000 acres; for state charitable educational, penal and reformatory institutions, 260,000 acres, making a total of 500,000 acres: Provided, That none of the lands granted by this act shall be sold for less than $10 per acre.

            Sec. 12. That the state of Wyoming shall not be entitled to any further or other grants of land for any purpose than as expressly provided in this act; and the lands granted by this section shall be held, appropriated and disposed of exclusively for purposes herein mentioned, in such manner as the legislature of the state may provide.

            Sec. 13. That all mineral lands shall be exempted from the grants made by this act. But if sections sixteen and thirty-six, or any subdivision or portion of any smallest subdivision thereof in any township, shall be found by the department of the interior to be mineral lands, said state is hereby authorized and empowered to select, in legal subdivision, an equal quantity of other unappropriated lands in said state in lieu thereof for the use and the benefit of the common schools of said state.

            Sec. 14. That all lands granted in quantity or as indemnity by this act shall be selected, under the direction of the secretary of the interior, from the surveyed, unreserved, and unappropriated public lands of the United States within the limits of the state entitled thereto. And there shall be deducted from the number of acres of land donated by this act for specifics objects to said state the number of acres heretofore donated by congress to said territory for similar objects.

            Sec. 15. That the sum of $30,000, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is hereby appropriated, out of any money in the treasury not otherwise appropriated, to said territory for defraying the expenses of the said convention and for the payment of the members thereof, under the same rules and regulations and at the same rates as are now provided by law for the payment of the territorial legislatures, and for the elections held therefor and thereunder. Any money hereby appropriated not necessary for such purpose shall be covered into the treasury of the United States.

            Sec. 16. That the said state, when admitted as aforesaid, shall constitute a judicial district, the name thereof to be the same as the name of the state; and the circuit and district courts therefor shall be held at the capitol of the state for the time being, and the said district shall, for judicial purposes, until otherwise provided, be attached to the eighth judicial circuit. There shall be appointed for said district one district judge, one United States attorney, and United States marshal. The judge of said district shall receive a yearly salary of $3,500, payable in four equal installments, on the first days of January, April, July and October of each year and shall reside in the district. There shall be appointed clerks of said courts in the said district, who shall keep their offices at the capitol of said state. The regular terms of said courts shall be held in said district at the place aforesaid on the first Monday in April and the first Monday in November of each year, and only one grand jury and one petit jury shall be summoned in both said circuit and district courts. The circuit and district courts for said district and the judges thereof, respectively, shall possess the same powers and jurisdiction, and perform the same duties required to be performed by the other circuit and district courts and judges of the United States, and shall be governed by the same laws and regulations. The marshal, district attorney and clerks of the circuit and district courts of said district, and all other officers and persons performing duties in the administration of justice therein, shall severally possess the powers and perform the duties lawfully possessed and required to be performed by similar officers in other districts of the United States; and shall, for the services they may perform, received the fees and compensation allowed by law to other similar officers and persons performing similar duties in the state of Oregon.

            Sec. 17. That all cases of appeal or writ of error heretofore prosecuted and now pending in the supreme court of the United States upon any record from the supreme court of said territory, or that may hereafter lawfully be prosecuted upon any record from said courts, may be heard and determined by said supreme court of the United States. And the mandate of execution or of further proceedings shall be directed by the supreme court of the United States to the circuit or district court hereby established within the said state from or to the supreme court of such state, as the nature of the case may require. And the circuit, district and states court herein named shall, respectively, be the successor of the supreme court of the territory, as to all such cases arising within the limits embraced within the jurisdiction of such courts, respectively, with full power to proceed with the same, and award mesne or final process therein; and that from all judgments and decrees of the supreme court of the territory mentioned in this act, in any case arising with the limits of the proposed state prior to admission, the parties to such judgment shall have the same right to prosecute appeals and writs of error to the supreme court of the United States as they shall have had by law prior to the admission of said state into the union.

            Sec. 18. That in respect to all cases, proceedings and matters now pending in the supreme or district courts of the said territory at the time of the admission into the union of the state of Wyoming and arising within the limits of such state, whereof the circuit or district court by this act established might have had jurisdiction under the laws of the United States had such courts existed at the time of commencement of such cases, the said circuit and district court, respectively, shall be the successors of said supreme and district courts of said territory and in respect to all other cases, proceedings, and matters pending in the supreme or district courts of said territory at the time of the admission of such territory into the union, arising within the limits of said state, the court established by such state shall, respectively, be the successors of said supreme and district territorial courts; and all the files, records, indictments and proceedings relating to any such cases shall be transferred to such circuit, district and state courts, respectively, and the same shall be proceeded with therein in due course of law, but no writ, action, indictment, cause or proceeding now pending or that prior to the admission of the said state shall be pending, in any territorial court in said territory shall abate by the admission of such state into the union, but the same shall be transferred and proceeded with in the proper United States circuit, district or state court, as the case may be: Provided, however, that in all civil actions, causes and proceedings in which the United States is not a party, transfers shall not be made to the circuit and district court of the United States except upon written request of one of the parties to such action or proceeding filed in the proper court; and in the absence of such request such cases shall be proceeded with in the proper state courts.

            Sec. 19. That the legislature of the said state may elect two senators of the United States as is provided by the constitution of said state, and the senators and representatives of said state shall be entitled to be admitted to seats in congress and to all the rights and privileges of senators and representatives of other states in the congress of the United States.

            Sec. 20. That until the state officers are elected and qualified under the provisions of the constitution of said state the officers of the territory of Wyoming shall discharge the duties of their respective offices under the constitution of the state, in the manner and form as therein provided.

            Sec. 21. That from and after the admission of said state into the union in pursuance of this act, the laws of the United States, not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force and effect within the said state as elsewhere within the United States; and all laws in force made by said territory, at the time of its admission into the union, until amended or repealed, shall be in force in said state, except as modified or changed by this act or the constitution of the state and all acts or parts of acts in conflict with the provisions of this act, whether passed by a legislature of said territory or by congress, are hereby repealed.

Approved July 10, 1890.


(Wyoming Commonwealth July 20, 1890, p. 7)

Declaration of Rights



Sec. 1.  Power inherent in the people.

All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; for the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

Sec. 2.  Equality of all.

In their inherent right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, all members of the human race are equal.

Sec. 3.  Equal political rights.

Since equality in the enjoyment of natural and civil rights is only made sure through political equality, the laws of this state affecting the political rights and privileges of its citizens shall be without distinction of race, color, sex, or any circumstance or condition whatsoever other than individual incompetency, or unworthiness duly ascertained by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Sec. 4.  Security against search and seizure.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by affidavit, particularly describing the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

Sec. 5.  Imprisonment for debt.

No person shall be imprisoned for debt, except in cases of fraud.

 Sec. 6.  Due process of law.

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. 

Sec. 7.  No absolute, arbitrary power.

Absolute, arbitrary power over the lives, liberty and property of freemen exists nowhere in a republic, not even in the largest majority.

Sec. 8.  Courts open to all; suits against state.

All courts shall be open and every person for an injury done to person, reputation or property shall have justice administered without sale, denial or delay. Suits may be brought against the state in such manner and in such courts as the legislature may by law direct.

Sec. 9.  Trial by jury inviolate.

The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate in criminal cases. A jury in civil cases and in criminal cases where the charge is a misdemeanor may consist of less than twelve (12) persons but not less than six (6), as may be prescribed by law. A grand jury may consist of twelve (12) persons, any nine (9) of whom concurring may find an indictment. The legislature may change, regulate or abolish the grand jury system.

Sec. 10  Right of accused to defend.

In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to defend in person and by counsel, to demand the nature and cause of the accusation, to have a copy thereof, to be confronted with the witnesses against him, to have compulsory process served for obtaining witnesses, and to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offense is alleged to have been committed. When the location of the offense cannot be established with certainty, venue may be placed in the county or district where the corpus delecti [delicti] is found, or in any county or district in which the victim was transported.

Sec. 11.  Self-incrimination; jeopardy.

No person shall be compelled to testify against himself in any criminal case, nor shall any person be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense. If a jury disagree, or if the judgment be arrested after a verdict, or if the judgment be reversed for error in law, the accused shall not be deemed to have been in jeopardy.

Sec. 12.  Detaining witnesses.

No person shall be detained as a witness in any criminal prosecution longer than may be necessary to take his testimony or deposition, nor be confined in any room where criminals are imprisoned.

Sec. 13.  Indictment.

Until otherwise provided by law, no person shall, for a felony, be proceeded against criminally, otherwise than by indictment, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.

Sec. 14.  Bail; cruel and unusual punishment.

All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor shall cruel or unusual punishment be inflicted.

Sec. 15.  Penal code to be humane.

The penal code shall be framed on the humane principles of reformation and prevention.

Sec. 16.  Conduct of jails.

No person arrested and confined in jail shall be treated with unnecessary rigor. The erection of safe and comfortable prisons, and inspection of prisons, and the humane treatment of prisoners shall be provided for.

Sec. 17.  Habeas corpus.

The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless, when in case of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.

Sec. 18.  Religious liberty.

The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship without discrimination or preference shall be forever guaranteed in this state, and no person shall be rendered incompetent to hold any office of trust or profit, or to serve as a witness or juror, because of his opinion on any matter of religious belief whatever; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of the state.

Sec. 19.  Appropriations for sectarian or religious societies or institutions prohibited.

No money of the state shall ever be given or appropriated to any sectarian or religious society or institution.

Sec. 20.  Freedom of speech and press; libel; truth a defense.

Every person may freely speak, write and publish on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and in all trials for libel, both civil and criminal, the truth, when published with good intent and [for] justifiable ends, shall be a sufficient defense, the jury having the right to determine the facts and the law, under direction of the court.

Sec. 21.  Right of petition and peaceable assembly.

The right of petition, and of the people peaceably to assemble to consult for the common good, and to make known their opinions, shall never be denied or abridged.

Sec. 22.  Protection of labor.

The rights of labor shall have just protection through laws calculated to secure to the laborer proper rewards for his service and to promote the industrial welfare of the state.

Sec. 23.  Education.

The right of the citizens to opportunities for education should have practical recognition. The legislature shall suitably encourage means and agencies calculated to advance the sciences and liberal arts.

Sec. 24.  Right to bear arms.

The right of citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state shall not be denied.

Sec. 25.  Military subordinate to civil power; quartering soldiers.

The military shall ever be in strict subordination to the civil power. No soldier in time of peace shall be quartered in any house without consent of the owner, nor in time of war except in the manner prescribed by law.

Sec. 26.  Treason.

Treason against the state shall consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering to its enemies, or in giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court; nor shall any person be attained of treason by the legislature.

Sec. 27.  Elections free and equal.

Elections shall be open, free and equal, and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent an untrammeled exercise of the right of suffrage.

Sec. 28.  Taxation; consent of people; uniformity and equality.

No tax shall be imposed without the consent of the people or their authorized representatives.

Sec. 29.  Rights of aliens.

No distinction shall ever be made by law between resident aliens and citizens as to the possession, taxation, enjoyment and descent of property.

Sec.30.  Monopolies and perpetuities prohibited.

Perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free state, and shall not be allowed. Corporations being creatures of the state, endowed for the public good with a portion of its sovereign powers, must be subject to its control.

Sec. 31.  Control of water.

Water being essential to industrial prosperity, of limited amount, and easy of diversion from its natural channels, its control must be in the state, which, in providing for its use, shall equally guard all the various interests involved.

Sec. 32.  Eminent domain.

Private property shall not be taken for private use unless by consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, and for reservoirs, drains, flumes or ditches on or across the lands of others for agricultural, mining, milling, domestic or sanitary purposes, nor in any case without due compensation.

Sec. 33.  Compensation for property taken.

Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public or private use without just compensation.

Sec. 34.  Uniform operation of general law.

All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation.

Sec. 35.  Ex post facto laws; impairing obligation of contracts.

No ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be made.

Sec. 36.  Rights not enumerated reserved to people.

The enumeration in this constitution, of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.

Sec. 37.  Constitution of United States supreme law of land.

The State of Wyoming is an inseparable part of the federal union, and the constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

(Wyoming Commonwealth July 20, 1890, p. 6)


Click on each image below to enlarge it.

Joseph Carey's Speech in the House of Representatives

Source: Wyoming State Archives

Telegram from Representative J.M. Carey

Territorial Representative to the U.S. House, Joseph M. Carey sent a telegram from Washington to Wyoming extending "hearty congratulations" and proclaiming that Wyoming was now a member of the Union.

Memorial of the State Constitutional Convention to Congress

Proclamation by the Governor
July 11, 1890

Click on each image to enlarge it.

Copyright notice: Digitized collection materials are accessible for educational and personal research purposes.

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