Montana Constitution 101: The Preamble & Article I

In this multi-part series, we take a deep-dive into the Montana Constitution to give a better understanding of what the Constitution says, what it means and how we got here.


Part 2: The Preamble & Article I

The Preamble of the Montana Constitution begins by acknowledging the people of Montana’s gratitude to their spiritual and political heritage and the bravery of their forefathers who fought for their rights and freedom. The Preamble declares that Montana is a state committed to democracy, liberty, and individual dignity. It states that the people of Montana have come together to establish a constitution that will secure and maintain their common welfare, promote their safety, and protect their individual rights and liberties. The Preamble further acknowledges the importance of preserving Montana’s natural resources and the state’s unique cultural heritage for future generations. Finally, the Preamble ends with a commitment to justice, freedom, and equality for all Montanans.

Article I affirms the state’s compact with the United States and consists of just 88 words. Article I states: All provisions of the enabling act of Congress (approved February 22, 1889, 25 Stat. 676), as amended and of Ordinance No. 1, appended to the Constitution of the state of Montana and approved February 22, 1889, including the agreement and declaration that all lands owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribes shall remain under the absolute jurisdiction and control of the congress of the United States, continue in full force and effect until revoked by the consent of the United States and the people of Montana.

CLICK HERE to read more from this series

Additional resources:

University of Montana Constitutional Convention Oral History Project

Montana State University Constitutional Convention Oral History Collection