Section 8: The Constitution of North Dakota

North Dakota government is based on the State Constitution which was written in 1889 when North Dakota became a state. Amendments, which have been approved by the voters, have been added many times to update the North Dakota Constitution.

The United States Constitution and the North Dakota Constitution have the following characteristics in common:

  • A preamble
  • A bill of rights (list of people’s rights that the government must protect)
  • An explanation of how the government works
  • Separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial branches
  • Instructions on how the Constitution may be amended, or changed
The North Dakota Constitution

Figure 15. The North Dakota Constitution was adopted in 1889. (SHSND-ND Studies)

The North Dakota Constitution goes into much more detail than does the Constitution of the United States. The Bill of Rights in the U.S. Constitution is made up of 10 amendments. North Dakota’s bill of rights, which is called the Declaration of Rights, consists of 25 items.

The total length of North Dakota’s Constitution is about three times longer than the U.S. Constitution. The North Dakota Constitution has about 17,500 words; the U.S. Constitution has about 6,000 words.

Preamble to the North Dakota Constitution

We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain and establish this Constitution.