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mand, and, ere long, will compel, a revision of the Constitution. We need not break with the past, it will be enough to do what our fathers did in 1834, when they modified the Constitution so as to adapt it to the needs of that time, "touching it, with a cautious and circumspect hand."


The Constitution of the State of Tennessee as revised by the Convention of delegates, assembled in Nashville, January 10, 1870, with notes of the more important changes from the Constitution of 1834. Except as herein noted the Constitution remains, substantially, as adopted in 1834.


DECLARATION OF RIGHTS. Section 1. 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 those ends they have, at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper.

Section 2. That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

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

Section 4. That no political or religious test, other than an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of this State, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State.

The inhibition of a political test and the requirement of an oath to support the Constitution of the United States and of Tennessee, were not in the Constitution of 1834.

Section 5. That elections shall be free and equal, and the right of suffrage, as hereinafter declared, shall never be denied to any person entitled thereto, except upon a conviction by a jury of some infamous crime, previously ascertained and declared by law, and judgment thereon by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Constitution 1834, simply declared: “That elections shall be free and equal."

Section 6. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate, and no religious or political test shall ever be required as a qualification for jurors.

Constitution 1834, declared: “That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate."

Section 7. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offenses are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty, and ought not to be granted.

Section 8. That no man 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.

Constitution 1834, extended the immunity only to "free"


Section 9. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath the right to be heard by himself and his 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 in which the crime shall have been committed, and shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.

Constitution 1834, in prescribing the place of trial used the words “county or district."

Section 10. That no person shall, for the same offense, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.

Section 11. That laws made for the punishment of acts committed previous to the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are contrary to the principles of a free government; wherefore no ex post facto law shall be made.

Section 12. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate. The estate of such persons as shall destroy their own lives, shall descend or vest, as in case of natural death. If any person be killed by casualty, there shall be no forfeiture in consequence thereof.

Section 13. That no person arrested and confined in jail shall be treated with unnecessary rigor.

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

Section 15. That all prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great. And the privileges of the writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the General Assembly shall declare the public safety requires it.

Constitution 1834, did not contain the words: The General Assembly shall declare.”

Section 16. That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Section 17. That all courts shall be open; and every man, for an injury done him in his lands, goods,

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