New York State Constitution: Rights & Responsibilities

Instructor: Kat Kadian-Baumeyer

Kat has a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Management and teaches Business courses.

When it was approved over 200 years ago, the New York State Constitution outlined the government and structure of one of the original members of the 13 colonies. Composed of 20 Articles, it outlines the rights and responsibilities of both citizens and government, which you can read about in this lesson.

Background and Organization

On April 20, 1777, the Convention of Representatives of the State of New York approved the first New York Constitution. Later versions of the document were approved in 1821, 1846, 1894 and 1938, after which it was amended on several occasions.

The New York State Constitution is a document that defines the structure of the government. Within this document are 20 Articles, which talk about how government interacts with its citizens. In other words, it is like a step-by-step guide to how New York State's government works. The New York State Constitution:

  • Describes how the government is organized
  • Identifies each branch of government and its power limitations
  • Provides a Bill of Rights for its citizens

Overview of the Articles

Let's take a look at each of the articles found in the New York State Constitution. As you'll read below, the last two are the only ones that do not define the rights and responsibilities of the people or government.

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