How was Arizona’s constitution written? A Constitutional Convention, or meeting, was held. George W. P. Hunt was elected president of this convention. People from all over Arizona met and wrote a constitution, a basic set of laws for the state. The voters approved the state constitution by December of 1911. The constitution was then sent to Congress, which also approved it. But President Taft vetoed it. Veto means to turn down the bill. Arizona’s constitution had new ideas that he did not like. These new ideas gave great power to the people of Arizona. They were called the recall, initiative and referendum. The recall was a way by which a public official could be removed from office by popular vote. An initiative was the right of citizens to suggest a law by petition and bringing this suggested law to a vote. A referendum was a way that citizens could suggest a change in the Arizona Constitution. Then that suggested change would be put to a public vote. The members of the convention met again and changed the constitution to get the President’s approval. Taft signed the bill on February 14, 1912. Arizona became a state and George W. P. Hunt became its first governor. The people of Arizona then voted to change the constitution again—back to the way it was; the way they had originally written it. The people of Arizona regained their political power. Because Arizona’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, it is sometimes called the “sweetheart state.” Sometimes Arizona is also called the “Copper State.” Its official nickname became “the Grand Canyon State.” William Howard Taft was the 27th President of the United States. He signed the bill making Arizona a state on February 14, 1912. He is the only man in American history to serve both as President and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Great Seal of Arizona. 96  Chapter 9 • Becoming a State