[Title: The page name is the full title in bold with a shorthand citation (e.g., "II.1. Popular Sovereignty")]
[Text: Full text of provision is printed in bold at the top of the page.]
We the people of Montana grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations do ordain and establish this constitution.
[History includes the sources, drafting, and ratification of the provision.]
[Sources include preceding constitutions including Montana 1889, Montana 1884, other state constitutions, and other textual sources of the provision.]
The object of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body-politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it, with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights and the blessings of life; and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter or change their form of government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity, and happiness.
The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social compact by which the whole people covenant with each citizen and each citizen with the whole people, that all should be governed by certain laws for the common good.
It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well for an impartial interpretation and a faithful execution of them, that every many may at all times find his safety in them. We, therefore, the people of Montana, acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe, in affording us, in the course of His Providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or intimidation, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other, and of forming a constitution of civil government for ourselves and our posterity ; and devoutly imploring His direction in so grand and interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain, and establish the following declaration of rights add form of go government as the Constitution of the State of Montana.
We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty, in order to secure the advantages of a State government, do, in accordance with the provisions of the Enabling Act of Congress, approved the twenty-second of February, A. D. 1889, ordain and establish the constitution.
[Drafting includes the original delegate proposals, committee reports, floor debates, and votes during the Convention on the provision. For referred and initiated amendments, include the legislative process (for referred amendments), ballot statements, and votes.]
Delegate Proposal No. 59 (Campbell, Robinson): We, the People of Montana, instilled with the Spirit of our Creator, gathering our strength from the grandeur of our mountains and the richness of our rolling grasslands, with a reverence for the quiet beauty of our state, with the desire to live in Peace, in order to improve the quality of life and equality of opportunity for this and succeeding generaticns, do hereby ordain and estahlish this Constitution.
Delegate Proposal No. 67 (Foster, Monroe, Mansfield): We, the People of Montana, grateful to the Spirit of Creation, mindful of our rich heritage, thankful for our rugged mountains and rolling plains, and desiring to secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and future generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Delegate Proposal No. 86 (Rollins): We, the people of the state of Montana, recognize the rights and duties of this state as a part of the federal system of government and reaffirm our adherence to the Constitution of the United States of America; and in order to assure to ourselves governmental power to act for the good order of our society and the liberty, health, safety, and welfare of our people, and the preservation and utilization of our resources, do ordain and establish this constitution.
Delegate Proposal No. 118 (Ward, Nutting, Kamhoot, Heliker, Driscoll, Burkhardt, Blend, Wagner, Studer, Mahoney, Aasheim, Sparks, Scanlin, Wilson, Warden): We the people cf Montana are grateful for Divine Guidance, mindful of our rich heritage, thankful for our shining mountains and rolling plains, and realize that all People are free by nature and are equal in their inherent and inalienable rights. Among these rights are the enjoyment of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We recognize corresponding responsibilities and obligations to secure and preserve these rights and to protect our property for future generaticns; and with this intent we do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Bill of Rights Committee Proposal No. 8: We, the people of Montana, grateful to God for the quiet beauty of our state, the grandeur of our mountains, the vastness of our rolling plains, and desiring to improve the quality of life, equality of opportunity, and to secure the blessings of liberty for this and future generations, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
Adoption. The Delegates adopted the committee proposal on voice vote (none opposed) on March 7, 1972. Delegate James moved: "I think that we all took an active part in the presentation of this Preamble. It’s not the usual form sort of thing that many states have. It expresses a reverence for our land, a pride in it; and it’s an expres- sion of a philosophy that we of the committee believe in." Delegate Toole spoke in support: "... I think it represents the use of the English language at its very best; yet it is different, so far as I can determine, from any other state constitution." The Delegates adopted the final draft of the Preamble 93-0 (7 absent) on March 22, 1972.
[Ratification includes official and unofficial voter guides, commentary, and contemporaneous reporting about the provision.]
1972 Official Text with Explanation: Preamble is new. The old Preamble is deleted.
[Interpretation includes cases, legislation, executive action, official speeches, and other materials applying the provision.]
The Preamble is not a source of substantive law. It serves as an explanation of the Montana Constitution's purposes. In some cases the Montana Supreme Court refers to the Preamble to reinforce the guarantees of the Montana Constitution's substantive provisions.
In other cases the Montana Supreme Court refers to the Preamble to clarify the use of similar terms in the Montana Constitution's substantive provisions.
[Commentary includes post-ratification scholarship, reporting, and other commentary on the provision.]Dan Himmelfarb, "The Preamble in Constitutional Interpretation," 2 Seton Hall Constitutional Law Journal 127 (1991)
- 5 Verbatim Transcript 1635 (Mar. 7, 1972).
- 5 Verbatim Transcript 1635 (Mar. 7, 1972).
- 7 Verbatim Transcript 2930-31 (Mar. 22, 1972).
- See, e.g., Matter of C.H., 683 P. 2d 9312 (Mont. 1984) ("Reading the preamble and these sections [Art. II, §§ 3, 4 & 17] of our constitution together, we hold that under the Montana Constitution physical liberty is a fundamental right, without which other constitutionally guaranteed rights would have little meaning.")
- See, e.g., Anaconda-Deer Lodge County v. Lorello, 592 P. 2d 1381 (Mont. 1979) ("The framers used the term 'the people' as a shorthand reference to the citizens of the entire State of Montana," citing preamble, in holding that the Art. III, § 9 provision permitting "the people through initiative or referendum" to authorize gambling applies to the electorate of the entire State, not the electors of a local government unit).