Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][graphic][subsumed]

ARKANSAS was a part of the Louisiana purchase. It became a separate territory in 1819, and in 1836 it adopted its Constitution and was admitted into the union as a sovereign State. It derives its name from the great river which runs through it.

Area, 54,500 sq. m. Pop. in 1850, 209,639, of whom 46,982 were slaves, and 587 Free clored.

CONSTITUTION.

We, the people of the Territory of Arkansas, by our representatives, in Convention assembled at Little Rock, on Monday, the 4th day of January, A. D. 1836, and of the independence of the United States the sixtieth year, having the right of admission into the Union as one of the United States of America, consistent with the federal Constitution, and by virtue of the treaty of cession by France to the United States, of the province of Louisiana, in order to secure to ourselves and our posterity the enjoyment of all the rights of life, liberty, and property, and the free pursuit of happiness, do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the name and style of “ The State of Arkansas," and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government thereof:

ARTICLE 1.–Of Boundaries. We do declare and establish, ratify and confirm, the following as the permanent boundaries of said State of Arkansas, that is to say: Beginning in the main channel of the Mississippi river, on the parallel of thirty-six degrees north latitude; running from thence west, with the said parallel of latitude, to the St. Francis river; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river to the parallel of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north; from thence west, to the south-west corner of the State of Missouri; and thence to be bounded on the west, to the north bank of Red river, as by acts of Congress and treaties heretofore defining the western limits of the territory of Arkansas; and to be bounded on the south side of Red river by the Mexican boundary line, to the northwest corner of the State of Louisiana; thence east, with the Louisiana State line, to the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river to the thirty-sixth degree of north latitude, the point of beginning.

ARTICLE II.—Declaration of Rights. That the great and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and unalterably established, we declare:

Sec. 1. That all freemen, when they form a social compact, are equal, and have certain inherent and indefeasible rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty; of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property and reputation; and of pursuing their own happiness.

2. That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and happiness. For the advancement of these ends, they have, at all times, an unqualified right to alter, reform, or abolish their government, in such manner as they may think proper.

3. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; and no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect, or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent. That no human authority can, in any case whatever, interfere with the rights of conscience; and that no preference shall ever be given to any religious establishment or mode of worship.

4. That the civil rights, privileges, or capacities of any citizen shall in nowise be diminished or enlarged, on account of his religion.

5. That all elections shall be free and equal.
6. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

7. That printing presses shall be free to every person; and no law shall ever be made to restrain the rights thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print, on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

8. In prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, or where the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence: and in all indictments for libels, the jury may have the right to determine thé law and the fauts.

9. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby any officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described, and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty, and shall not be granted.

10. That no freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land.

11. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard, by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and, in prosecutions by indictment or presentment, a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the crime shall have been committed ; and shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.

12. That no person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.

13. That all penalties shall be reasonable, and proportioned to the nature of the offence.

14. That no man shall be put to answer any criminal charge, but by presentment, indictment, or impeachment.

15. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.

16. That all prisoners shall be bailable by suificient securities, unless in capital offences, where the proof is evident, or the presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless where, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.

17. That excessive bail shall in no case be required, nor excessive fines imposed.

18. That no ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be made.

19. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a republic, and shall not be allowed; nor shall any hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors ever be granted or conferred in this Siate.

20. That the citizens have a righi, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and apply to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address or remonstrance.

21. Thai the free white men of this State shall have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense.

22. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor, in time of war, but in a manner prescribed by law.

23. The military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.

24. This enumeration of rights shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people; and, to guard against any encroachments on the rights herein retained, or any transgression of any of the higher powers herein delegated, we declare, that everything in this article is excepted out of the general powers of government, and shall forever remain inviolate; and that all laws contrary thereto, or to the other provisions herein contained, shall be void.

ARTICLE III. Sec. 1. The powers of the government of the State of Arkansas shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of them to be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: those which are legislative, to one; those which are executive, to another; and those which are judicial, to another.

2. No person, or collection of persons, being of one of these departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others; except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.

ARTICLE IV.- Legislative Department. Sec. 1. The legislative power of this State shall be vestel in a General Assembly, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Qualifications of Electors. 2. Every free white male citizen of the United States, who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall have been a citizen of this State six months, shall be deemed a qualified elector, and be entitled to vote in the county or district where he aciually resides, for each and every office made

elective under this State or the United States: Provided, that no soldier, seaman, or marine in the army or navy of the United States, shall be entitled to vote at any election within this State.

Time of choosing Representatives. 2. The House of Representatives shall consist of members to be chosen every second year by the qualified electors of the several counties.

Qualifications of a Representative. 4. No person shall be a member of the House of Representatives, who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years; who shall not be a free white male citizen of the United States; who shall not, at the time of his election, have an actual residence in the county he may be chosen to represent.

Qualifications of a Senator. 5. The Senate shall consist of members to be chosen every four years by the qualified electors of the several districts.

6. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years; who shall not be a free white male citizen of the United States; who shall not have been an inhabitant of this State one year; and who shall not, at the time of his election, have an actual residence in the district he may be chosen to represent.

Meeting of the General Assembly. 7. The General Assembly shall meet every two years, on the first Monday of November, at the seat of government, until altered by law.

The Mode of Election, and Time, and Privilege of Electors. 8. All general elections shall be vira roce, until otherwise directed by law, and shall commence and be holden every two years, on the first Monday in October, until altered by law; and the electors in all cases, except in cases of treason, felony, and breach of the peace, shall be privileged from arrest during their attendance on elections, and in going to and returning therefrom.

Duty of Governor. 9. The Governor shall issue writs of election, to fill such vacancies as shall occur in either house of the General Assembly.

10. No judge of the Supreme, Circuit, or inferior courts of law or equity, Secretary of State, Attorney for the United States, State auditor or treasurer, register or recorder, clerk of any court of record, sheriff, coroner, member of Congress, nor any other person holding any lucrative office under the United States, or this State, (militia officers, justices of the peace, postmasters, and judges of the county courts, excepted,) shall be eligible to a seat in either house of the General Assembly.

11. No person who now is, or shall be hereafter, a collector, or holder of public money, nor any assistant or deputy of such holder or collector of public money, shall be eligible to a seat in either house of the General Assembly, nor to any office of profit or trust, until he shall have accounted for and paid over all sums for which he may have been liable.

12. The General Assembly shall exclude from every office of trust and profit, and from the right of suffrage within this State, all persons convicted of bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime.

13. Every person who shall have been convicted of directly or indirectly giring or offering any bribe, to procure his election or appointment, shall be disqualified from holding any office of trust or profit in this State; and any person who shall give or offer any bribe to procure the election or appointment of any person, shall, on conviction thereof, be disqualified from being an elector, or from holding any office of trust or profit under this State.

14. No senator nor representative shall, during the term for which he shall have been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this State, which shall h ve been created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, durir : his continuance in office; except such offices as shall be filled by the electi 1 of the people.

15. Each house shall appoint its own officers, and shall judge of the qualifications, returns, and elections of its own members. Two-thirds of each house shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each house shall provide.

16. Each house may determine rules for its own proceedings, punish its own members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of the members elected, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same ottence. They shall each, from time to time, publish a journal of their proceedings, except such parts as may, in their opinion, require secrecy; and the yeas and nays on any question shall be entered on the jour nal at the desire of any five members.

17. The door of each house, when in session, or in committee of the whole, shall be kept open, except in cases which may require secrecy: and each house may punish, by fine and imprisonment, any person, not a member, who shall be guilty of disrespect to the house, by any disorderly or contemptuous behavior in their presence during their session; but such imprisonment shall not extend beyond the final adjournment of that session.

18. Bills may originate in either house, and be amended or rejected in the other; and every bill shall be read on three different days in each house, unless two-thirds of the house where the same is pending shall dispense with the rules; and every bill having passed both houses shall be signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

19. Whenever an officer, civil or military, shall be appointed by the joint or concurrent vote of both houses, or by the separate vote of either house of the General Assembly, the vote shall be given viva voce, and entered on the journal.

20. The senators and representatives shall, in all cases except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the General Assembly, and for fifteen days betore the commencement and after the termination of each session; and for any speech or debate in either house they shall not be questioned in any other place.

21. The members of the General Assembly shall severally receive from the public treasury compensation for their services, which may be increased or diminished; but no alteration of such compensation of members shall take effect during the session at which it is made.

The manner of bringing Suits against the Slale. 22. The General Assembly shall direct, by law, in what courts and in what manner suits may be commenced against the State.

23. They shall have power to pass all laws that are necessary to prohibit the introduction in this State of any slave or slaves who may have committed any high crime in any other State or Territory.

21. The General Assembly shall not have power to pass any bill of divorce; but may prescribe by law the manner in which such cases shall be investigated in the courts of justice, and divorces granted.

25. The General Assembly shall have power to prohibit the introduction of any slave or slaves for the purpose of speculation, or as an article of trade and merchandise; to oblige the owners of any slave or slaves to treat them with humanity; and in the prosecution of slaves for any crime, they shall not be deprived of an impartial jury; and any slave who shall be convicted of a capital offence shall suffer the same degree of punishment as would be inflicted on a free white person, and no other; and courts of justice, before whom slaves shall be tried, shall assign them counsel for their defense.

26. The Governor, Secretary of State, auditor, treasurer, and all the judges of the Supreme, Circuit, and inferior courts of law and equity, and the prosecuting attorney for the State, shall be liable to impeachment for any malprac

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »