Indiana has had two constitutions. The first was adopted in 1816. Only white male citizens over the age of 21 who had lived in Indiana for one year could vote. The constitution also provided for free public education through the college level. Slavery in Indiana was prohibited, however, this law did not apply to slaveholders who lived in Indiana prior to the constitution taking effect.
By 1851, Indiana was poorly managed and in debt and citizens voted to amend the original constitution. The 1851 constitution called for more frequent elections, put restrictions on state debt and established biennial (every other year) sessions for the General Assembly. Unfortunately, the constitution contained racism, in the form of Article XIII, which prohibited African-Americans from settling in the state. The 1851 constitution has been amended numerous times, but it still stands as Indiana’s constitution today.