The Fundamental Orders

po_Fundamental-Orders1The Fundamental Orders were adopted by the Connecticut Colony council on January 15, 1639. The orders describe the government set up by the Connecticut River towns, setting its structure and powers.

It has the features of a written constitution, and is considered by some as the first written Constitution in the Western tradition, and thus earned Connecticut its nickname of The Constitution State. John Fiske, a Connecticut historian, was the first to claim that the Fundamental Orders were the first written Constitution, a claim disputed by some modern historians. The orders were transcribed into the official colony records by the colony’s secretary Thomas Welles. It was a Constitution for the colonial government of Hartford and was similar to the government Massachusetts had set up. However, this Order gave men more voting rights and made more men eligible to run for elected positions.