Recognizing Alaska Constitution Day

Alaska Constitution Day

Fast Facts

April 24 marks Alaska Constitution Day and is the anniversary of the 1956 date on which voters approved the drafted document. Alaska wouldn’t be fully admitted into the Union for three more years, but the delegates to the original Constitutional Convention had aspirations of statehood when they came together to lay the foundation for the 49th state. 

2022 is the first year Alaska Constitution Day will be formally recognized, and in November of this year, the Constitution will be in the public eye once again. That’s because every 10 years, voters are asked if we should open up our entire Constitution again and hold another convention. That makes this year a great time to learn more about Alaska’s founding document. 

The Convention

The original Constitutional Convention convened on November 8, 1955, and adjourned on February 6, 1956. Alaska voters ratified the document on April 24, 1956, which is why April 24 is recognized as Alaska Constitution Day.

The Constitutional Convention was held on the Fairbanks campus of the University of Alaska. Delegates wanted to provide a solid foundation for state government and hoped a high-quality document would increase the chances that the Territory of Alaska would be admitted as a state.

55 delegates were elected to serve at the Constitutional Convention. Of those delegates, only one, Vic Fischer, is still alive today.

The Constitution

1959 – Alaska’s Constitution went into effect when Alaska became a state on January 3, 1959.

Model Constitution – Our Alaska Constitution was drafted by policymakers, political scientists, and Alaska residents dedicated to developing an equitable, fair, and sustainable document.

12,000 Words – The ratified version of Alaska’s Constitution was incredibly concise – a mere 12,000 words. Louisiana’s Constitution was drafted in 1921, and it contained over 200,000 words.

Recognizing Alaska Constitution Day.

“The Nation’s Finest” –  The development of Alaska’s Constitution came during a period where flexibility, democracy, and citizen accessibility were believed to be important standards for constitutions. Thanks to key features designed to meet those standards, Alaska’s Constitution is considered by many to be one of the best  in the U.S. Examples include:

  • Nonpartisan selection of judges and a system of retention elections for all appointed judges
  • A strong executive branch
  • An equally strong and truly representative bi-cameral legislature

April 24 – The State Legislature passed a law designating this date as Alaska Constitution Day in 2021. It became effective in September of that year.