Kentucky: The First “Frontier” State Constitution

State constitutions are a pretty big deal in my economic development history.

Not only does the state constitution create the framework within which state policy systems operate, but it also creates the policy systems of its “creatures”, municipal and regional/counties. Just as important it establishes which level of government “leads” the different policy areas, By “relationship” I mean the degree of autonomy possessed by lower levels in the exercise o state-delegated powers and/or the willingness of the state to delegate policy leadership to lower levels. In this module the reader can also see that state constitutions, specifically reviewing the process and politics in which they are written, draw out the state’s political cultures, and  shed insight on the value conflicts and priorities. These benefits are magnified with the initial state constitution because they set a benchmark to evaluate future constitutions in the event they occur, structure the judicial review and precedents relevant to ED, and often the basic relationships between levels of government and branches of government remain essentially unchanged if only because of inertia and the serious disruption these core constitutional structures can unleash if changed.

It will be apparent as modules and states roll on and on through our history that each state is different, and in important degrees that difference is pertinent to economic development–particularly in the state’s willingness to delegated meaningful  ED to lower levels. We will discover many states preferring to locate key ED decision at the state level–while others dispatch ED to municipal or county levels. Since most students of federalism concern themselves with the state-federal relationship,the study of federalism has assumed a federal-centric focus. We examine federalism from a a state and sub-state perspective. Economic development, rooted  as it is in state policy systems, our history necessarily must concern itself with the distinctive policy systems whose basic framework and processes devolve from its constitution and judicial interpretations that follow. This potentially will inject new meaning into so-called “marble and/or layer cake federalism”.

When one constructs a history of a policy area such as economic development from the “bottoms-up” perspective, and start that history at the inception of its first policy system, it becomes very apparent how long trends started early, and find a way to continue generation after generation. Life being life, as time goes on the pattern becomes more complicated, but in 1790 we can observe patterns that will accurately persist for as much as one hundred and seventy-five years. Amazingly, there is considerable continuity to the present day.

Kentucky Statehood–As Viewed from the Federal Congress

Drafting state constitutions offer the opportunity to delve deeper into state power configurations and sensitize us to how values intrude into political structures that form the framework of a state policy system. So fundamental is the power inherent in a state constitution, a state constitutional convention reflexively, perhaps inevitably, activities state and local elites, o enter into the fray, and not infrequently, often quite necessarily to form into ad hoc coalitions of roughly-similar minded elites. Elites write state constitutions, not public opinion polls, nor masses of citizens. To them may be left ultimate approval–although that was not the case in either Kentucky nor Tennessee. Ironically, the masses are usually far more critical to the convening of a state constitution and their wishes and preferences are usually well-understood by elites. In the end, however, elites wrote the constitutions of both states, yet they did so in the shadow of both the still-evolving American Revolution, and during the throes of an escalating French Revolution.

Kentucky, since Vermont was hardly a trans-Appalachian state, was the first “western” frontier constitution. “Western”  was a novel and scary new development in the 1790 Early Republic United States. Kentucky and Tennessee potential statehood was even more a big deal due to the rise of Jefferson’s brand new D-R Tribe. The Democrat-Republican Tribe was closely associated, certainly in Federalists minds,  to “western” “mob” voters. In Kentucky-Tennessee an ethnic group, the Scots-Irish the most contentious element of the so-called “mob”, comprised much of the electorate. These Scots-Irish had since 1765 engaged in a series of rebellions, “wars”, insurrections and resistance to almost everything “Federalist”–and strong national governance.

As we have seen Hamilton’s Public Credit and National Bank, approved in 1791, tore apart the two-year old Federal Government. The approval of the Anti-Federalist addendum to the Constitution (the Bill of Rights) only a year behind that. Slavery, always there, was lurking in the background. Kentucky would be a slave state–was this a trend? After all, in 1790 the Federal Government had assumed responsibility to manage Tennessee’s statehood process and had established the Southwest District to do so. In Kentucky, the Federal Government, while exercising final approval for admission, had delegated significant responsibility to Virginia to handle the details–including slavery and what and what not could fit into the our Constitution’s continuum of what constituted an acceptable democratic republic. State legislatures elected the their senators to U.S. Senate, and in 1790 states played an enormous role in the electoral college and impeachment process. Electoral districts were a state affair. States indirectly and directly exerted considerable ability to impact Federal decision and policy-making.

A two year old turbulent and unsure national government with a fragile Federalist consensus was wary of western expansion, an anxiety we often find difficult to understand today. Was Kentucky to be a harbinger of something profoundly radical? Would it follow along the outlines of Pennsylvania’s radical democratic state constitution with its unrestricted electoral franchise and super-legislature? What was all this talk about independence–and was there a Spanish Conspiracy? In any case, wouldn’t Kentucky be a model for others to follow? Could the Federalist Tribe consensus on what a “democracy” was be accommodated with a western ethnic settler who had their own ideas on the subject. The Federalists allowed for a strong national government? Would a Jeffersonian constituency produce a policy system at odds with the Federalist policy system? Would the politics that led to Pennsylvania chronic decade and half instability be replicated in Kentucky?

While Virginia negotiated, Congress would not lend its approval statehood until it could answer these questions.

Oh Yes, We were Discussing Kentucky and Tennessee: Kentucky’s “First” Constitution

By the time Kentucky elites got around to writing the state’s initial constitution, the decision to separate from Virginia had long been made. The terms on which it would do so had also been satisfactorily resolved by both parties, and were no longer in question. The Spanish Conspiracy and independence had lost whatever little luster they had–and both Virginia and Kentucky were ready to move one, obtain Virginia’s final OK and then to the United States Congress. Kentucky’s constitutional convention delegates were very concerned with producing a constitution that Congress would approve, and to do so as fast as possible. They had struggled for almost seven years to get to the point they could write a constitution and apply for statehood in 1791. The decision had already been made that a state convention, composed of the state’s political elites would ratify the constitution–and that it would not be sent to the general electorate in a referendum. Despite that decision, diaries and communications reveal the elites who would write the constitution were themselves insecure and troubled by the long-term and unknowable future that could wreck havoc and discredit upon them if it turned out badly. Constitution-writing was a serious enterprise, and they gave it some thought.

What should go into the new constitution had been discussed for some time by Kentucky’s most influential eighteenth century think tank: the Danville Club. Composed of the state’s political and intellectual elites, that club had  already set up a committee and had drafted its own version of the all-important Bill of Rights. While the Virginia constitution was well known to the Danville Club and Kentucky delegates, the Virginia experience elicited more concern with its perceived weaknesses than any blind desire to copy its fabric wholesale. Both rejected outright Virginia’s reliance on county-based electoral districts, but by population. Delegates  instead relied on the James Madison’s advice that three branches, bicameral legislature, separation of powers and some checks and balances among branches of government was essential to secure the confidence of outsiders. As good anti-Federalist D-R’s (which most of them were) they all almost instinctively wanted a limited government, not an aggressive or expansive one; they also did included a strong Bill of Rights. More than anything they feared tyranny, more than mob chaos. In essence, on their own these elites were not continuing a revolution, as many populists preferred, but they overlapped many of their values and perspectives.

The Partisans who had participated in the state conventions for those seven years exhibited renewed vigor as statehood approached. They polled their principal constituency, the local company militias for ideas and reactions as to what should be in the constitution. They formed county committees in at least five counties. The Populist cornerstone principle wast “all power resided in the people”, and that power should be lodged in a one house legislature. Corruption should be limited by keeping immoral men from political office, and all government positions should be elected by the people directly, not by institutions or collections of elites. Voting should be by ballot not voice, and everybody’s land and property should be included in the tax base. That meant slaves should be taxed, as well as unused land. As to suffrage, it should be open to free, white, male residents greater than twenty-one years of age [1].

So, if the elites had thought things out, so had the Partisans. Most importantly, while the elites reflected Madison wishes and his preference for structures and relationships as incorporated into the 1789 Constitution, the Populists were continuing their revolution to establish a democratic republic along the lines they preferred. The basic structural framework of their proposed policy system was not Madison’s, the Danville Club, or constitutional convention elite delegates. The Convention had a bit of a struggle on its hands as it set down to write.

But if the two ideological-cultural-elite/mass groupings had their own idea, so did an influential blogger who wrote a series of articles for the Kentucky Gazette. He referred to himself as “the Disinterested Citizen”. The Disinterested Citizen viewed the proposed constitution differently than either faction. He was most concerned with unrestricted, unchecked authority; rulers had to be constrained if individual rights were to be secure. Unrestricted authority was a two way street for him. Checks and balances constrained elites, but for the Disinterested Citizen restricted authority must also constrain powerful majorities–especially that all-powerful one legislative house that represented the sovereign people’s will. Different classes, interests had to be included in government  policy-making, and in the processes that made laws, and governed relationships among the branches of government. Checks and balances were THE essential concern of the Disinterested Citizen’s concept of a policy system. He resisted in particular, the supra-legislature, and urged a second house (Senate), suffrage with some restrictions, property ownership, for at least the upper house of the legislature.

Who was this Disinterested Citizen, and why should he be singled out? It was George Nicholas, and George Nicholas was destined to be the Chair of the Constitutional Convention, and today is commonly referred to as the “Father of the 1792 Constitution”.

Who was this George Nicholas? He is our earlier mentioned fat “plum pudding with legs”. He was not only Madison’s close friend, he was also Kentucky’s most renowned lawyer, for several terms a representative to the Virginia legislature (and knew first-hand how poorly that often worked), and a consistent power player through the nine state conventions that had negotiated the drive to statehood. Nicholas was very familiar with Pennsylvania’s 1776 radical state constitutions–a strong version of which was then advocated by Kentucky Partisans for Kentucky. He was also well aware of the conflicted mess it had left for Pennsylvania politics for nearly a decade and half. Indeed. he borrowed much from Pennsylvania’s constitution, its REJECTED articles for his approach to Kentucky separation of powers [1a]. He was also quite aware, that the year before Pennsylvania had rewritten that constitution and imposed another–and more than almost anything he wanted to avoid that contentious policy system. And so Nicholas went to the the Kentucky state constitutional convention “armed with determination that his skills as debater, his reputation as being the best lawyer in Kentucky, and [his] well-formulated ideas on what form the constitution should take” would be imprinted on its final version [2]. Nicholas was his own independent faction, central to entire proceeding.

The Document

The government Kentucky proposed for themselves was something that would not rattle the federal Congress and ought calm fears of a French Revolution in America. That, of course, was bad news for the Partisans, But, since thirteen original state constitutions were each different, there was a range of structural alternatives that could be borrowed. Moreover, western elites were far from clones of coastal elites–and Virginia Tidewater elites, Federalist and anti-Federalist, were not without their populist inclinations. So even though Populists and Scots-Irish were a minority of the elites elected to write the state constitution, there was always some hope they could find Tidewater elite allies. Still, given the centrality of George Nicholas in both debate and decision process, Populists faced an uphill struggle.

The Partisans won some of the battles, and in other cases were able to insert some subtle clauses that checked Federalist ambitions. Yet hard-core Federalists decisively won the battle of political structures. Federalists also downplayed local democracy and created a relatively strong, at least potentially, state policy system. Partisan-Populists, however, defined the voting franchise. They also conducted a strong attack against slavery and successfully resisted plantation owner initiatives to replicate the federal constitution’s three-fifth rule, which allowed five slaves to equal three voters in each election district. Several states, such as South Carolina, had included the federal three-fifths compromise into their state constitution, the effect of which was greatly magnify the votes of slave-holding whites in the state legislature. In that sense at least Kentucky was more egalitarian. Likely a major factor was that seven (out of forty-five delegates) were active religious ministers, all of which was to some degree opposed to slavery. That the Second Great Awakening was in its early phase, we may be witnessing its impact.

Article IX  legitimized slavery in Kentucky–through the back door by limiting legislation designed to repeal it, but never authorized it in the first place. The Constitution also included sections that at least theoretically allowed for a slave owner to free his slaves, and which made slave mistreatment an offense for which the owner could be compelled to sell his slaves. I certainly understand the obvious inadequacies and immorality of this position regarding slavery, but do observe that it checked the power of plantation owners, and in 1791 suggested  support for slavery on the western frontier had its limits. Nicholas was the strongest defender of Kentucky slavery If the reader remembers, Kentucky wound up as a border state that did not fight for the Confederacy. Indeed, the Civil War pitted Kentucky-born Lincoln against Kentucky-born Jefferson Davis.

Partisans feared the slaveholding plantation owner power. and distrusted their lawyer kinfolk. They fought to preserve local democracy by constraining local oligopolies which dominated county politics, cabals that pushed aside hardscrabble Scots-Irish homesteaders. They were successful in this because they defined the eligible electorate as all free (no race specified) males over twenty-one, resident for a year. Kentucky’s absence of a property restriction and poll tax was exceptional in this period, and it it reflected the approach taken by radical Pennsylvania constitution. The lack of income barriers to voting meant that poor, renters, and hardscrabble could vote. This is a rather big deal which created a possibility that the strong Federalist political structures and processes could by challenged by a mobilized electorate. Seldom mentioned by most historians, Kentucky required voting by ballot, not voice–which was not common practice in the South.

The “franchise” as defined in the Kentucky constitution was not typical of the conventional Federalist state constitution. Harrison properly draws the distinction that “the new constitution was still one of the most democratic in the nation, but few people called it radical[3]. In an other concession, the Federalists permitted the insertion of a article that required an automatic second constitutional convention in seven years, if demanded by the state electorate. If this free male over twenty-one electoral franchise wanted it, they could get a second bite of the constitutional apple. As we shall see, they exercised that right and a second constitution was constructed in 1798. More on that latter. Interestingly, Nicholas played an important role in that compromise.

Structurally, however, the Federalists won. The Partisan populists wanted a powerful, virtually sovereign state legislature–but they didn’t get it–not even close. The First Constitution state policy system checked the lower house of the legislature with an upper house chosen not by the voters directly but by a electoral college like structure composed of elites, one for each county, elected specifically to elect the Governor and the Senate. So Kentucky wound up with a two house legislature–and if anything the upper house and Governor were likely to be of a similar perspective. George Nicholas, active and impactful, was the strongest force and speaker on these topics (two house legislature and strong governor). Nicholas wanted the governor to be elected directly by the people, not the electoral college, but lost. The Governor, however would serve for four years and could succeed himself. Nicholas also lost some ground under attack from Partisans in regards to the judiciary. The Partisans distrusted as strong judiciary, whose decisions often viewed as arbitrary and self-serving–Partisan experience with Kentucky land courts made this debate the most bitter. Nicholas won a key vote and inserted into the Constitution the creation of a special commission to site the new state capital.

Importantly, the summaries of each day’s debate were compiled by the convention’s delegate-clerk, James Garrard, and his summaries which were handed over to a drafting committee strongly reflected and emphasized the positions taken by Nicholas. James Garrard was to some day be Kentucky’s second governor. Over the weekend the drafting committee wrote out a proposed constitution. It was augmented by an suggested draft submitted by Nicholas. The final draft was submitted to the convention floor, debated and amended, and on the next day was read formally and was seemingly approved unanimously by voice vote as the “Constitution of the State of Kentucky”.  There were no formal signatories by the delegates. The agreed-upon final constitution was immediately sent to the President of the United States for referral to the Congress. The Constitutional Convention then adjourned and went home. The Convention was met in thirteen working sessions over eighteen days. Interestingly, a copy was also forwarded to the future state legislature and that document mostly referred to the “Commonwealth” of Kentucky.

Amazingly, on top of this, the First Constitution empowered an exceptionally strong governor by the standards of the time. Entrusted with a veto, appointive powers of two key Cabinet officials and county justices of the peace, the Governor controlled much elite patronage. Very importantly, in a period where Indian fighting and raiding was still an active threat, the state constitution made the Governor the commander-in-chief of the Kentucky militia–a formidable power in that each county possessed its militia company and lieutenant, which the Governor appointed. The militia, it might be remembered, was the stronghold of the Partisans at the local level. The militia in 1792 Kentucky afforded to the Governor control over Kentucky’s only institution that included a goodly share of the electorate and was rooted in every county of the state. In the hands of its most famous Indian fighter, Issac Sibley, that was a page-turner. There was no Lieutenant Governor. Again Harrison observes, correctly, the Kentucky governor was arguably the strongest governor’s office in the entire of the United States [4]. A major reason for the strong Governor was Kentucky’s experience with Virginia’s weak governor–which simply was not adequate to a geography engaged in Native American wars [5].

The Second Constitution

Predictably certain features of the First Constitution did not curry favor among the mass electorate, most of whom can be thought of a likely “Partisans”.

So in May 1797 the first vote for or against a new constitution was held as required, but it sort of imploded and a second election had to be called and after some delay the constitutional convention was approved. The convention met in July 1799 in Frankfurt, the state capital; it would deliberate for twenty-seven days before reporting out its findings on August 17th [6] . The Second Constitution formally took effect on June 1, 1800.

Professor Church reports that “by 1794 cries of Aristocracy was heard on every side“. Complaints and frustrations focused especially on senatorial and gubernatorial indirect election by an “electoral college”. Viewed by many as an affront to democracy, the electoral college was perceived as discriminatory in favor of elites, and opposed to the interests of the common people. In fact, over the intervening years there were widely-reported instances where the Senate had involved itself in land claims that privileged speculators over settlers resident in the area–and the electoral college was credited with making that body a haven for plantation and land speculation. Accordingly, the chief amendment made by the Second Constitution was to eliminate the electoral college and instead instituted the direct election of both the Senate and Governor. An office of Lieutenant Governor was also created. The Judicial Branch was fleshed out as the Commonwealth’s Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, was created, empowered with appellate jurisdiction only. The Legislature was empowered to appoint its subordinate court judges.

Slavery, unpopular among those of a religious bent (again the evangelistic Great Awakening preacher typically in the South as North did not view slavery with great regard). Henry Clay, a lawyer active in politics and a D-R delegate to the second constitutional convention, for example, argued vehemently in favor of emancipation–hypocritically it would seem as in the near future he became a slaveholder himself. The “aristocrats” who opposed the convention were well prepared to defend their interests which centered above all on the sanctity of their land contracts and maintenance of slavery. The only reference to slavery was a section allowing trial of slaves in the courts–and language was inserted into Article IX that rendered any attempt to nullify slavery impracticable. Otherwise, the franchise and structural sections of the First Constitution remained undisturbed .[7].

It may be observed that George Nicholas’s strong system of checks and balances had been substantially weakened–but not overturned. Kentucky entered the 19th century with a stronger governor than most states, but also boasted a fairly radical–taking into account it was a slave state–unrestricted electoral franchise open to the non propertied/wealth and requiring no religious qualification. As such Kentucky retained much of the Revolutionary War egalitarian fervor, without the limitations on public authority, yet limiting that authority with checks and balances. Amost by default, it adopted Virginia’s county-based sub-state system, which being closest to the electorate would feel the effects of its radical franchise most.

What does stand out is the role played by George Nicholas. Taking advantage of his expertise, salient to constitution-writing, his close friendship with the King of Constitution-writing, James Madison–who twice offered his advice on Kentucky’s constitution, and his long-standing and credible past as a reputable state-wide leader, Nicholas was firm in his intention, consistently aggressive and active during the policy process, holding a, perhaps THE, strategic position in the constitutional convention, Nicholas demonstrates the potential power of a strong and expert individual/personality in the writing of a constitution. That many other delegates looked to him for leadership in an task in which many felt no special competence, the ingredients were there for a larger than life role of a dominant, well-placed individual policy entrepreneur. By logic, must also accept that broad powerful dynamic forces such as political culture, the conflict of classes, and incipient partisanship–not to mention environmental pressures–can all be checked, if only for a period of time. The role of an individual actor in the construction of a new, or existing for that matter, policy system cannot be ignored, and must not be summarily dismissed in favor of some form of statistical or dynamic determinism.

The Kentucky Constitution (Second Constitution) was well-received by newly developing states tasked with constitution-writing. Nicholas’s design and leadership had region-wide consequences. Probably the best example of the Kentucky Constitution impact was the near-verbatim version produced by Missouri’s thirty-eight day constitutional convention in the summer of 1820–it was the constitution that played a major role in that year’s famous Missouri Compromise. That it was used as a model also supports the east-of-the-Mississippi diffusion of the Tidewater policy system, carried along the path of Virginia Tidewater migration, across the Mississippi and into Kansas. Perhaps, that impact can also be traced to Henry Clay, an early protege of Nicholas, and his fellow faculty member at Transylvania University School of Law. It is a small world after all, and the almost serendipitous role of personalities and policy entrepreneurs, broadly defined, people like Robert Moses and James Rouse, must be incorporated into our Chapter One Model. Less well-known, George Nicholas’s Madisonian-Federalist policy system will prove sympathetic to Whigs attempting an aggressive pursuit of Clay’s American System–but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Kentucky Sub-State Policy Systems: 

The first Kentucky state Constitution made no specific mention of sub-state matters–save that each county could elect its own sheriff and coroner (there has to be some irony in that?). Silence in regards to local government, however, ignores the reality the Kentucky constitution grafted onto Virginia’s sub-state pattern of local governance. Virginia did not use the township, and city incorporation was not formalized and provided some meaning until the post-Reconstruction constitution was approved in 1871. Counties were Virginia’s basic unit of local governance. The close relationship of the state legislature to counties produced a state policy-making process that was exceedingly decentralized, that looked down for guidance and criteria on which to make decisions. That proved to be Virginia’s undoing in many ways, but it was an anti-Federalist delight in that it had strong roots in its core local institution: the county.

Kentucky inherited all that, and there was no debate to incorporate other forms of local governance. The one distinction in Kentucky’s constitution, an important one, was that it elected a county sheriff and coroner,–with term limitations. In an odd exception from Virginia practice, the Virginia state legislation allowed its western counties to elect a county clerk, but Kentucky’s First constitution did not recognize the position. So the sheriff constituted what could be labeled as local democracy. In Virginia there were no such elective offices at this time.  The sheriff, today an office associated almost exclusively with law enforcement, was in 1792 a more wide-ranging functional official. The sheriff was tasked with election management and tax collection for example. The governor appointed local justices of the peace, with an indefinite term of office was the extent of democracy at Kentucky’s lower level of government. In a much remarked difference from northern states, there was no mention of public education in the Kentucky constitution–Georgia and North Carolina did, however, include public education as a local policy area..

Local autonomy suffered when the Second Constitution was approved in 1797, and the sheriff’s term was limited, and all other local offices were appointed by the Governor–and they served for life as long as they exhibited “good behavior” to the Governor’s satisfaction. That persisted until the Third Constitution (1850) when a huge reform institutionalized southern Jacksonian government at the sub-state level. When Kentucky’s Legislative Commission did its study of the history of Kentucky county government, a one hundred-fifty+ page report, its discussion of the pre-1850 county history consumed all of three paragraphs. The Commission reported that upon statehood Virginia had established nine counties, and Kentucky inherited them. Over the next eight years, the period we are currently discussing, forty-three new counties were established. Counties were created early on as the Kentucky Commission observes “so that the county seat would be more accessible in the days of poor roads and transportation … [or] for political and economic reasons. If part of a county was at odds with the politics and policies of those controlling the courthouse, the residents there might simply form a new county“. By 1850 there were one hundred counties [8]. Today there are one hundred and twenty. No surprise that Louisville and Lexington currently are both city-counties in their metropolitan structure. Counties have been the dominant form of Kentucky sub-state government for its entire history.

Wrap Up and Segue Way 

Kentucky’s constitutional experience suggest some insights into features one could associate with “western” state constitutions in the South especially. Slavery, while a given to be incorporated in southern states, was more in discussion than given credit today. Having said that, its inclusion into constitution, society and economy was never in doubt. The elite-mass distinction introduced above, pertinent for all states I would assert, did in Kentucky mask and subsume the ethnic and cultural preferences of the Kentucky common man. The Kentucky constitution was far more Federalist in content than would have been if the Partisans had controlled the constitutional convention. The strong executive, not a Virginia import, nor Pennsylvania was a feature desired by Kentucky elites as a defense against what they perceived would be populist, Scots-Irish legislature. That the latter wanted a strong, indeed almost sovereign lower house, is another insight that would find plenty of examples in other future states. Checks and balances that restrained the legislature, which was clearly perceived as the instrument of the common man, were resented and opposed–to little effect outside of the franchise limitation, the electoral college for senators and governor, which was itself repudiated in the Second Constitution. A strong underlying theme that will be found in other newly-settled states is the importance of land, land claims, land contracts, and land finance and abuse (anti-speculation). Land redistribution in any form was a silent third rail of the constitutional convention.



[1] Lowell H. Harrison, Kentucky’s Road to Statehood (the University Press of Kentucky, 1992), pp. 98-9; see also, Joan Wells Coward, Kentucky in the New Republic: the Process of Constitution-Making (University Press of Kentucky. 1979)

[1a] Sheryl G. Snyder and Robert M. Ireland, “the Separation of Governmental Powers Under the Constitution of Kentucky” (Kentucky Law journal 73 (1984-5): 206

[2] Lowell H. Harrison, Kentucky’s Road to Statehood, p. 104

[3] Lowell H. Harrison, Kentucky’s Road to Statehood, p. 116

[4]  Lowell H. Harrison, Kentucky’s Road to Statehood, p. 120

[5] Virginia’s 1776 constitution created a much weaker governor, and a much stronger legislature with very close ties to counties (each county had two delegates to the Virginia General Assembly, chosen annually). Senators were chosen from twenty-four districts for a four year term. The Governor did not enjoy a veto and was limited to one term. any legislation had to be introduced first in the General Assembly. The Governor in early versions of the state constitution could not call up the militia or mobilize to resist attack without formal approval by the legislature. This proved a disaster when the British invaded or raided Virginia–and was a personal embarrassment to Jefferson who as Governor had to abandon the state capital to its fate.

[6] Thomas Clark, a History of Kentucky, pp. 110-14

[7]  Thomas Clark, a History of Kentucky,  (pp. 110-14

[8] “County Government in Kentucky“, Kentucky Legislative Commission, Informational Bulletin No. 115, , August 2016 Downloads/IB115%20County%20Government%20in%20Kentucky%20(1).pdf