View the Original New York State Constitution in Albany April 15th - April 20th

On April 20, 1777, the Fourth Provincial Congress, then New York’s only government, adopted the State’s first constitution at the Ulster County Courthouse. In British eyes, this established Kingston as a hotbed of revolution and therefore worthy of attack, which they did in October of that same year.

The constitution of 1777 was a conservative document with some innovative features. It continued the colonial laws and courts, but it limited the powers of the governor, established a two-house legislature, and balanced power among the three branches of state government. The constitution required that voters own real property, but instituted the secret ballot at elections.

Join us in celebrating the 242th year of New York. View this revolutionary document at the New York State Archives for one week in April. 

When: Monday, April 15, 2019 | 9:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M. through Saturday, April 20, 2019 | 9:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.

Where: New York State Archives | Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230

Cost: Free and open to the public

For more information about the display in Albany, click here.

Typewritten cover page and draft of the handwritten New York State Constitution of 1777. The first constitution of the State of New York was adopted by the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York at Kingston on April 20, 1777. This text is a manuscript draft containing numerous strikeouts, additions, and corrections.

Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). Secretary of State. First constitution of the State of New York, 1777. Series A1802-78.


The old Senate House in Kingston, (Ulster County, N. Y.). New York's newly organized State Senate met in this house for their first meeting in 1777. The house was burned by the British in the same year and later rebuilt. The image is of the front of the single story stone house with three chimneys, two front doors, several shuttered windows, and a wooden porch on the side of the building. Also in view are sidewalk and road in the foreground and part of a large white house next door. 

Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). Education Dept. Division of Visual Instruction. Instructional glass lantern slides, ca. 1856-1939. Series A3045-78, No. D47_KS.


A room in the Senate House in Kingston, (Ulster County, N. Y.), with a beamed ceiling, wooden floor, wainscotted walls, several chairs, wooden door with window, and a fireplace with portraits hanging on the walls around it. New York's newly organized State Senate met in this room for their first meeting in 1777. The house was burned by the British in the same year and rebuilt thereafter.

Source: New York State Archives. New York (State). Education Dept. Division of Visual Instruction. Instructional glass lantern slides, ca. 1856-1939. Series A3045-78, No. D47_KS3.