The significance to the number 1851 is that the Constitution of the State of Michigan was amended by popular vote in November of 1850 to say, "the State shall not subscribe to or be interested in the stock of any company, association, or corporation," and also "the State shall not be a party to or interested in any work of internal improvement, nor engaged in carrying on any such work, except in the expenditure of grants to the State of land or other property." The new constitution banned state aid to railroads and canals. No longer would Michigan rely on state government to build its internal improvements. Voters decided to turn private entrepreneurs loose to build all future railroads and industries--from lumber to cars to cornflakes. This society honors those who believe, as did Michigan voters in 1850, that the government which governs least governs best. The amendment was ratified and put into law in 1851, hence the name, 1851 Society.

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