State Constitution of 1820

Missouri Constitution of 1820
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State Constitution of 1820

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Missouri Constitution of 1820

We, the people of Missouri, inhabiting the limits hereinafter designated, by our
representatives in convention assembled, at St. Louis, on Monday, the 12th day of June,
1820, do mutually agree to form and establish a free and independent republic, by the
name of "The State of Missouri," and for the government thereof do ordain and establish
this constitution.

Article I. Of Boundaries
We do declare, establish, ratify, and confirm the following as the permanent boundaries of
said state, that is to say: "Beginning in the middle of the Mississippi river, on the parallel
of thirty-six degrees of north latitude; thence, west, along the said parallel of latitude, to the
St. Francois river; thence, up, and following the course of that river, in the middle of the
main channel thereof, to the parallel of latitude of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes;
thence, west, along the same, to a point where the said parallel is intersected by a
meridian line passing through the middle of the mouth of the Kansas river, where the
same empties into the Missouri river; thence, from the point aforesaid, north, along the
said meridian line, to the intersection of the parallel of latitude which passes through the
rapids of the river Des Moines, making the said line correspond with the Indian boundary
line; thence, east, from the point of inter- section last aforesaid, along the said parallel of
latitude, to the middle of the channel of the main fork of the said river Des Moines; thence,
down, and along the middle of the main channel of the said river Des Moines, to the mouth
of the same, where it empties into the Mississippi river; thence, due east, to the middle of
the main channel of the Mississippi river; thence, down, and following the course of the
Mississippi river, in the middle of the main channel thereof, to the place of beginning."

Article II. Of The Distribution Of Powers
The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of which
shall be confided to a separate magistracy; and no person charged with the exercise of
powers properly belonging to one of those departments, shall exercise any power properly
belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or
permitted.

Article Ill. Of The Legislative Power
Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in a "General Assembly," which shall
consist of a "Senate," and a "House of Representatives."

Section 2. The house of representatives shall consist of members to be chosen every
second year, by the qualified electors of the several counties. Each county shall have at
least one representative, but the whole number of representatives shall never exceed one
hundred.

Section 3. No person shall be a member of the house of representatives who shall not
have attained to the age of twenty-four years; who shall not be a free white male citizen of
the United States; who shall not have been an inhabitant of this state two years, and of the
county which he represents, one year, next before his election, if such county shall have
been so long established, but, if not, than of the county or counties from which the same
shall have been taken; and who shall not, moreover, have paid a state or county tax.

Section 4. The general assembly, at their first session, and in the years one thousand
eight hundred and twenty-two, and one thousand eight hundred and twenty-four,
respectively, and every fourth year thereafter, shall cause an enumeration of the
inhabitants of this state to be made; and, at the first session after each enumeration, shall
apportion the number of representatives among the several counties, according to the
number of free white male inhabitants therein.

Section 5. The senators shall be chosen by the qualified electors for the term of four years.
No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years; shall
not be a free white male citizen of the United States; who shall not have been an inhabitant
of this state four years, and of the district which he may be chosen to represent, one year,
next before his election, if such district shall have been so long established, but, if not, then
of the district or districts from which the same shall have been taken; and, who shall not,
moreover, have paid a state or county tax.

Section 6. The senate shall consist of not less than fourteen, nor more than thirty-three
members; for the election, of whom the state shall be divided into convenient districts,
which may be altered from time to time, and new districts established, as public
convenience may require; and the senators shall be apportioned among the several
districts according to the number of free white male inhabitants in each; provided, that
when a senatorial district shall be composed of two or more counties, the counties of
which such district consists shall not be entirely separated by any county belonging to
another district, and no county shall be divided in forming a district.

Section 7. At the first session of the general assembly the senators shall be divided by lot,
as equally as may be, into two classes. The seats of the first class shall be vacated at the
end of the second year, and the seats of the second class at the end of the fourth year, so
that one-half of the senators shall be chosen every second year.

Section 8. After the first day of January, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-two, all
general elections shall commence on the first Monday in August, and shall be held
biennially; and the electors, in all cases, except of treason, felony, or breach of the peace,
shall be privileged from arrest during their continuance at elections, and in going to, and
returning from, the same.

Section 9. The governor shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies as may occur in
either house of the general assembly.

Section 10. Every free white male citizen of the United States, who shall have attained to
the age of twenty-one years, and who shall have resided in this state one year before an
election, the last three months whereof shall have been in the county, or district, in which
he offers to vote, shall be deemed a qualified elector of all elective offices; provided, that
no soldier, seaman, or marine, in the regular army or navy of the United States, shall be
entitled to vote at any election in this state.

Section 11. No judge of any court of law or equity, secretary of state, attorney general,
state auditor, state or county treasurer, register, or recorder, clerk of any court of record,
sheriff, coroner, member of Congress, nor other person holding any lucrative office under
the United States, or this State, militia officers, justices of the peace, and post-masters
excepted, shall be eligible to either house of the general assembly.

Section 12. No person who now is, or who hereafter may be, a collector or holder of public money, nor any assistant or deputy of such collector or holder of public money, shall be
eligible to either house of the general assembly, nor to any office of profit or trust, until he
shall have accounted for and paid all sums for which he may be accountable.

Section 13. No person while he continues to exercise the functions of a bishop, priest,
clergymen, or teacher of any religious persuasion, denomination, society, or sect,
whatsoever, shall be eligible to either house of the general assembly; nor shall he be
appointed to any office of profit within the state, the office of justice of the peace excepted.

Section 14. The general assembly shall have power to exclude from every office of honor,
trust, or profit, within this state, and from the right of suffrage, all persons convicted of
bribery, perjury, or other infamous crime.

Section 15. Every person who shall be convicted of having, directly or indirectly, given or
offered any bribe to procure his election or appointment, shall be disqualified for any
office of honor, trust, or profit, under this state; and any person who shall give or offer any
bribe to procure the election or appointment of any other person, shall, on conviction
thereof, be disqualified for an elector, or for any office of honor, trust, or profit, under this
state, for ten years after such conviction.

Section 16. No senator or representative shall, during the term for which he shall have
been elected, be appointed to any civil office under this state, which shall have been
created, or the emoluments of which shall have been increased, during his continuance in
office, except to such offices as shall be filled by elections of the people.

Section 17. Each house shall appoint its own officers, and shall judge of the qualifications,
elections, and returns, of its own members. A majority of each house shall constitute a
quorum to do business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may
compel the attendance of absent members in such manner, and under such penalties, as
such house may provide.

Section 18. Each house may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members
for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected,
expel a member, but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause.
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 journal at the desire of any two members.

Section 19. The doors of each house, and of committees of the whole, shall be kept open,
except in cases which may require secrecy; and each house may punish, by fine or
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;
provided, that such fine shall not exceed three hundred dollars, and such imprisonment
shall not exceed forty-eight hours for one offence.

Section 20. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than two
days at any one time, nor to any other place than to that in which the two houses may be
sitting.

Section 21. Bills may originate in either house, and may be altered, amended, or rejected,
by the other; and every bill shall be read on three different days in each house, unless twothirds of the house where the same is depending shall dispense with this rule; and every
bill, having passed both houses, shall be signed by the speaker of the house of
representatives, and by the president of the senate.

Section 22. When any officer, civil or military, shall be appointed by the joint or concurrent
vote of both houses, or by separate vote of either house of the general assembly, the votes shall be publicly given viva voce, and entered on the journals. The whole list of the
members shall be called, and the names of absentees shall be noted and published with
the journal.

Section 23. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases, except of treason, felony, or
breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during the session of the general assembly,
and for fifteen days next before 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.

Section 24. The members of the general assembly shall severally receive from the public
treasury a compensation for their services, which may, from time to time, be increased or
diminished by law; but no alteration increasing or tending to increase the compensation of
members, shall take effect during the session at which such alterations shall be made.

Section 25. The general assembly shall direct, by law, in what manner, and in what courts,
suits may be brought against the state.

Section 26.
[Part in bold & red: the occasion for the 2nd Missouri Crisis and 2nd Missouri
Compromise
The general assembly shall have no power to pass laws; First, For the emancipation of
slaves without the consent of their owners, or without paying them, before such
emancipation, a full equivalent for such slaves so emancipated; and, Second, To prevent
bona fide emigrants to this state, or actual settlers therein, from bringing from any of the
United States, or from any of their territories, such persons as may there be deemed to be
slaves, so long as any persons of the same description are allowed to be held as slaves
by the laws of this state.
They shall have power to pass laws; First, To prohibit the introduction into this state of
any slave who may have committed any high crime in any other state or territory; Second,
To prohibit the introduction of any slave for the purpose of speculation, or as an article of
trade or merchandise; Third, To prohibit the introduction of any slave, or the offspring of
any slave, who heretofore may have been or who hereafter may be, imported from any
foreign country into the United States, or any territory thereof, in contravention of any
existing statute of the United States; and, Fourth, To permit the owners of slaves to
emancipate them, saving the rights of creditors, where the person so emancipating will
give security that the slave so emancipated shall not become a public charge.
It shall be their duty, as soon as may be, to pass such laws as may be necessary.
First, To prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to, and settling in, this
state, under any pretext whatsoever; and,
Second, To oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity, and to abstain from all
injuries to them extending to life or limb.

Section 27. In prosecutions for crimes, slaves shall not be deprived of an impartial trial by
jury; and a slave convicted of a capital offence shall suffer the same degree of
punishment, and no other, that would be inflicted on a free white person for a like offence;
and courts of justice before whom slaves shall be tried, shall assign them counsel for their
defense.

Section 28. Any person who shall maliciously deprive of life or dismember a slave, shall
suffer such punishment as would be inflicted for the like offence if it were committed on a
free white person.

Section 29. The governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney general, and all judges of the courts of law and equity, shall be liable to
impeachment for any misdemeanor in office; but judgment in such case shall not extend
farther than removal from office, and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or
profit, under this state. The party impeached, whether convicted or acquitted, shall,
nevertheless, be liable to be indicted, tried and punished, according to law.

Section 30. The house of representatives shall have the sole power of impeachment. All
impeachments shall be tried by the senate; and, when sitting for that purpose, the
senators shall be on oath or affirmation to do justice according to law and evidence. When
the governor shall be tried, the presiding judge of the supreme court shall preside; and no
person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all the senators present.

Section 31. A state treasurer shall be biennially appointed by joint vote of the two houses
of the general assembly, who shall keep his office at the seat of government. No money
shall be drawn from the treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and
an accurate account of the receipts and expenditures of the public money shall be annually
published.

Section 32. The appointment of all officers, not otherwise directed by this constitution,
shall be made in such manner as may be prescribed by law; and all officers, both civil and
military, under the authority of this state, shall, before entering on the duties of their
respective offices, take an oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United
States, and of this State, and to demean themselves faithfully in office.

Section 33. The general assembly shall meet on the third Monday in September next; on
the first Monday in November, eighteen hundred and twenty-one; on the first Monday in
November, eighteen hundred and twenty-two; and thereafter the general assembly shall
meet once in every two years, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in November,
unless a different day shall be appointed by law.

Section 34. No county now established by law shall ever be reduced, by the establishment
of new counties, to less than twenty miles square; nor shall any county hereafter be
established which shall contain less than four hundred square miles.

Section 35. Within five years after the adoption of this constitution, all the statute laws of a
general nature, both civil and criminal, shall be revised, digested, and promulgated, in
such manner as the general assembly shall direct, and a like revision, digest, and
promulgation, shall be made at the expiration of every subsequent period of ten years.

Section 36. The style of the laws of this state shall be--"Be it enacted by the general
assembly of the state of Missouri."

Article IV. Of The Executive Power
Section 1. The supreme executive power shall be vested in a chief magistrate, who shall
be styled "The Governor of the state of Missouri."

Section 2. The governor shall be at least thirty-five years of age, and a natural born citizen
of the United States, or a citizen at the adoption of the constitution of the United States, or
an inhabitant of that part of Louisiana now included in the state of Missouri at the time of
the cession thereof from France to the United States, and shall have been a resident of
the same at least four years next before his election.

Section 3. The governor shall hold his office for four years, and until a successor be duly
appointed and qualified. He shall be elected in the manner following: At the time and
place of voting for members of the house of representatives, the qualified electors shall vote for a governor; and when two or more persons have an equal number of votes, and a
higher number than any other person, the election shall be decided between them by a
joint vote of both houses of the general assembly at their next session.

Section 4. The governor shall be ineligible for the next four years after the expiration of his
term of service.

Section 5. The governor shall be commander in chief of the militia and navy of this state,
except when they shall be called into the service of the United States; but he need not
command in person, unless advised so to do by a resolution of the general assembly.

Section 6. The governor shall have power to remit fines and forfeitures, and, except in
cases of impeachment, to grant reprieves and pardons.

Section 7. The governor shall, from time to time, give to the general assembly information
relative to the state of the government, and shall recommend to their consideration such
measures as he shall deem necessary and expedient. On extraordinary occasions he
may convene the general assembly by proclamation, and shall state to them the purpose
for which they are convened.

Section 8. The governor shall take care that the laws be distributed, and faithfully
executed; and he shall be a conservator of the peace throughout the state.

Section 9. When any office shall become vacant, the governor shall appoint a person to fill
such vacancy, who shall continue in office until a successor be duly appointed and
qualified according to law.

Section 10. Every bill which shall have been passed by both houses of the general
assembly, shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the governor for his
approbation. If he approve, he shall sign it; if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to
the house in which it shall have originated, and the house shall cause the objections to be
entered at large on its journals, and shall proceed to reconsider the bill. If, after such
reconsideration, a majority of all the members elected to that house shall agree to pass
the same, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other house, by which it shall
be in like manner reconsidered, and, if approved by a majority of all the members elected
to that house, it shall become a law. In all such cases the votes of both houses shall be
taken by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for and against the bill
shall be entered on the journal of each house, respectively. If any bill shall not be returned
by the governor within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to
him, the same shall become a law in like manner as if the governor had signed it, unless
the general assembly, by its adjournment, shall prevent its return, in which case it shall not
become a law.

Section 11. Every resolution to which the concurrence of the senate and house of
representatives may be necessary, except on cases of adjournment, shall be presented to
the governor, and, before the same shall take effect, shall be proceeded upon in the same
manner as in the case of a bill.

Section 12. There shall be an auditor of public accounts, whom the governor, by and with
the advice and consent of the senate, shall appoint. He shall continue in office for four
years, and shall perform such duties as may be prescribed by law. His office shall be kept
at the seat of government.

Section 13. The governor shall, at stated times, receive for his services an adequate
salary, to be fixed by law, which shall neither be increased or diminished during his
continuance in office, and which shall never be less than two thousand dollars annually.

Section 14. There shall be a lieutenant governor, who shall be elected at the same time, in
the same manner, for the same term, and shall possess the same qualifications, as the
governor. The electors shall distinguish for whom they vote as governor, and for whom as
lieutenant governor.

Section 15. The lieutenant governor shall, by virtue of his office, be president of the
senate. In committee of the whole he may debate on all questions; and when there is an
equal division, he shall give the casting vote in senate, and also in joint votes of both
houses.

Section 16. When the office of governor shall become vacant by death, resignation,
absence from the state, removal from office, refusal to qualify, impeachment, or otherwise,
the lieutenant governor, or in case of like disability on his part, the president of the senate
pro tempore, or, if there be no president of the senate pro tempore, the speaker of the
house of representatives, shall possess all the powers, and discharge all the duties, of
governor, and shall receive for his services the like compensation, until such vacancy be
filled, or the governor so absent or impeached shall return or be acquitted.

Section 17. Whenever the office of governor shall become vacant, by death, resignation,
removal from office, or otherwise, the lieutenant governor, or other person exercising the
powers of governor for the time being, shall, as soon as may be, cause an election to be
held to fill such vacancy, giving three months' previous notice thereof; and the person
elected shall not thereby be rendered ineligible to the office of governor for the next
succeeding term' Nevertheless, if such vacancy shall happen within eighteen months of
the end of the term for which the late governor shall have been elected, the same shall not
be filled.

Section 18. The lieutenant governor, or president of the senate pro tempore, while
presiding in the senate, shall receive the same compensation as shall be allowed to the
speaker of the house of representatives.

Section 19. The returns of all elections of governor and lieutenant governor shall be made
to the secretary of state, in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
Section 20. Contested elections of governor and lieutenant governor shall be decided by
joint vote of both houses of the general assembly, in such manner as may be prescribed
by law.

Section 21. There shall be a secretary of state, whom the governor, by and with the advice
and consent of the senate, shall appoint. He shall hold his office four years, unless sooner
removed on impeachment. He shall keep a register of all the official acts and proceedings
of the governor, and when necessary shall attest them; and he shall lay the same, together
with all papers relative thereto, before either house of the general assembly, whenever
required so to do, and shall perform such other duties as may be enjoined on him by law.

Section 22. The secretary of state shall, as soon as may be, procure a seal of state, with
such emblems and devices as shall be directed by law, which shall not be subject to
change. It shall be called the "Great Seat of the State of Missouri,” and shall be kept by the
secretary of state, and all official acts of the governor, his approbation of the laws
excepted, shall be thereby authenticated.

Section 23. There shall be appointed in each county a sheriff and a coroner, who, until the
general assembly shall otherwise provide, shall be elected by the qualified electors at the
time and place of electing representatives. They shall serve for two years, and until a
successor be duly appointed and qualified, unless sooner removed for misdemeanor in
office, and shall be ineligible four years in any period of eight years. The sheriff and
coroner shall each give security for the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Whenever a county shall be hereafter established,
the governor shall appoint a sheriff and coroner therein, who shall each continue in office
until the next succeeding general election, and until a successor shall be duly qualified.

Section 24. When vacancies happen in the office of sheriff or coroner, they shall be filled
by appointment of the governor; and the persons so appointed shall continue in office
until successors shall be duly qualified, and shall not be thereby rendered ineligible for the
next succeeding term.

Section 25. In all elections of sheriff and coroner, when two or more persons have an
equal number of votes, and a higher number than any other person, the circuit courts of the
counties, respectively, shall give the casting vote; and all contested elections for the said
offices shall be decided by the circuit courts, respectively, in such manner as the general
assembly may by law prescribe.

Article V. Of The Judicial Power
Section 1. The judicial powers, as to matters of law and equity, shall be vested in a
"supreme court," in a "chancellor," in "circuit courts," and in such inferior tribunals as the
general assembly may, from time to time, ordain and establish.
Section 2. The supreme court, except in cases otherwise directed by this constitution,
shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive with the state, under the
restrictions and limitations in this constitution provided.
Section 3. The supreme court shall have a general superintending control over all inferior
courts of law. It shall have power to issue writs of habeas corpus, mandamus, quo
warranto, certiorari, and other original remedial writs, and to hear and determine the
same.
Section 4. The supreme court shall consist of three judges, any two of whom shall be a
quorum; and the said judges shall be conservators of the peace throughout the state.
Section 5. The state shall be divided into convenient districts, not to exceed four, in each
of which the supreme court shall hold two sessions annually, at such place as the general
assembly shall appoint; and, when sitting in either district, it shall exercise jurisdiction over
causes originating in that district only: Provided, however, that the general assembly may,
at any time hereafter, direct, by law, that the said court shall be held at one place only.
Section 6. The circuit court shall have jurisdiction over all criminal cases which shall not be
otherwise provided for by law, and exclusive original jurisdiction in all civil cases which
shall not be cognizable before justices of the peace, until otherwise directed by the
general assembly. It shall hold its terms in such place in each county as may be by law
directed.
Section 7. The state shall be divided into convenient cir- cuits, for each of which a judge
shall be appointed, who, after his appointment, shall reside, and be a conservator of the
peace, within the circuit for which he shall be appointed.
Section 8. The circuit courts shall exercise a superintending control over all such inferior
tribunals as the general assembly may establish, and over justices of the peace in each
county in their respective circuits.
Section 9. The jurisdiction of the court of chancery shall be co-extensive with the state, and
the times and places of holding its sessions shall be regulated in the same manner as
those of the supreme court. Section 10. The court of chancery shall have original and appellate jurisdiction in all
matters of equity, and a general control over executors, administrators, guardians, and
minors, subject to appeal, in all cases, to the supreme court, under such limitations as the
general assembly may, by law, provide.
Section 11. Until the general assembly shall deem it expedient to establish inferior courts
of chancery, the circuit courts shall have jurisdiction in matters of equity, subject to appeal
to the court of chancery, in such manner, and under such restrictions, as shall be
prescribed by law.
Section 12. Inferior tribunals shall be established in each county for the transaction of all
county business; for appointing guardians; for granting letters testamentary, and of
administration; and for settling the accounts of executors, administrators, and guardians.
Section 13. The governor shall nominate, and, by and with the advice and consent of the
senate, appoint, the judges of the supreme court, the judges of the circuit courts, and the
chancellor, each of whom shall hold his office during good behavior, and shall receive for
his services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during his continuance in
office, and which shall not be less than two thousand dollars annually.
Section 14. No person shall be appointed a judge of the supreme court, nor of a circuit
court, nor chancellor, before he shall have attained to the age of thirty years; nor shall any
person continue to exercise the duties of any of said offices after he shall have attained to
the age of sixty-five years.
Section 15. The courts, respectively, shall appoint their clerks, who shall hold their offices
during good behavior. For any misdemeanor in office they shall be liable to be tried and
removed by the supreme court, in such manner as the general assembly shall by law
provide.
Section 16. Any judge of the supreme court, or of the circuit court, or the chancellor, may
be removed from office on the address of two-thirds of each house of the general
assembly to the governor for that purpose; but each house shall state, on its respective
journal, the cause for which it shall wish the removal of such judge or chancellor, and give
him notice thereof; and he shall have the right to be heard in his defense in such manner
as the general assembly shall by law direct; but no judge nor chancellor shall be removed
in this manner for any cause for which he might have been impeached.
Section 17. In each county there shall be appointed as many justices of the peace as the
public good may be thought to require. Their powers and duties, and their duration in
office, shall be regulated by law.
Section 18. An attorney general shall be appointed by the governor, by and with the
advice and consent of the senate. He shall remain in office four years, and shall perform
such duties as shall be required of him by law.
Section 19. All writs and process shall run, and all prosecutions shall be conducted, in the
name of the "State of Missouri;" all writs shall be tested by the clerk of the court from which
they shall be issued, and all indictments shall conclude, "against the peace and dignity of
the state."
Article VI. Of Education
Section 1. Schools, and the means of education, shall forever be encouraged in this
state; and the general assembly shall take measures to preserve, from waste or
damage, such lands as have been, or may hereafter be, granted by the United States for the use of schools within each township in this state, and shall apply the funds, which may
arise from such lands, in strict conformity to the object of the grant, and one school, or
more, shall be established in each township as soon as practicable and necessary, where
the poor shall be taught gratis.
Section 2. The general assembly shall take measures for the improvement of such lands
as have been, or hereafter may be, granted by the United States to this state for the
support of a seminary of learning; and the funds accruing from such lands, by rent or
lease, or in any other manner, or which may be obtained from any other source, for the
purposes aforesaid, shall be and remain a permanent fund to support a university for the
promotion of literature, and of the arts and sciences; and it shall be the duty of the general
assembly, as soon as may be, to provide effectual means for the improvement of such
lands, and for the improvement and permanent security of the funds and endowments of
such institution.
Article VII. Of Internal Improvement
Internal improvement shall forever be encouraged by the government of this state; and it
shall be the duty of the general assembly, as soon as may be, to make provision by law for
ascertaining the most proper objects of improvement, in relation both to roads and
navigable waters; and it shall also be their duty to provide by law for a systematic and
economical application of the funds appropriated to those objects.
Article VIII. Of Banks
The general assembly may incorporate one banking company, and no more, to be in
operation at the same time. The bank to be incorporated may have any number of
branches, not to exceed five, to be established by law; and not more than one branch shall
be established at any one session of the general assembly. The capital stock of the bank
to be incorporated shall never exceed five millions of dollars at least one-half of which
shall be reserved for the use of the state.
Article IX. Of The Militia
Section 1. Field officers and company officers shall be elected by the persons subject to
militia duty within their respective commands; brigadiers general shall be elected by the
field officers of their respective brigades; and majors general by the brigadiers and field
officers of their respective divisions, until otherwise directed by law.
Section 2. General and field officers shall appoint their officers of the staff.
Section 3. The governor shall appoint an adjutant general, and all other militia officers,
whose appointments are not other- wise provided for in this constitution.
Article X. Of Miscellaneous Provisions
Section 1. The general assembly of this state shall never interfere with the primary
disposal of the soil by the United States, nor with any regulation Congress may find
necessary for securing the title in such soil to the bona fide purchasers. No tax shall be
imposed on lands the property of the United States, nor shall lands belonging to persons
residing out of the limits of this state ever be taxed higher than the lands belonging to
persons residing within the state.
Section 2. The state shall have concurrent jurisdiction on the river Mississippi, and on
every other river bordering on the said state, so far as the said river shall form a common
boundary to the said state, and any other state or states, now, or hereafter to be, formed and bounded by the same; and the said river Mississippi, and the navigable rivers and
waters leading into the same, whether bordering on or within this state, shall be common
highways, and forever free to the citizens of this state and of the United States, without any
tax, duty, impost, or toll, therefor, imposed by the state.
Article XI. Of The Permanent Seat Of Government
Section 1. The general assembly, at their first session, shall appoint five commissioners,
for the purpose of selecting a place for the permanent seat of government, whose duty it
shall be to select four sections of the land of the United States, which shall not have been
exposed to public sale.
Section 2. If the commissioners believe the four sections of land so by them to be
selected, be not a suitable and proper situation for the permanent seat of government,
they shall select such other place as they deem most proper for that purpose, and report
the same to the general assembly at the time of making their report, provided for in the
first section of this article; provided, that no place shall be selected which is not situated
on the bank of the Missouri river, and within forty miles of the mouth of the river Osage.
Section 3. If the general assembly determine that the four sections of land, which may be
selected by authority of the first section of this article, be a suitable and proper place for
the permanent seat of government, the said commissioners shall lay out a town thereon,
under the direction of the general assembly; but, if the general assembly deem it most
expedient to fix the permanent seat of government at the place to be selected by authority
of the second section of this article, they shall so determine, and, in that event, shall
authorize the said commissioners to purchase any quantity of land, not exceeding six
hundred and forty acres, which may be necessary for the purpose aforesaid; and the
place so selected shall be the permanent seat of government of this state, from and after
the first day of October, one thousand eight hundred and twenty-six.
Section 4. The general assembly, in selecting the above mentioned commissioners, shall
choose one from each extreme part of the state, and one from the centre, and it shall
require the concurrence of at least three of the commissioners to decide upon any part of
the duties assigned them.
Article XII. Mode Of Amending The Constitution
The general assembly may, at any time, propose such amendments to this constitution as
two-thirds of each house shall deem expedient, which shall be published in all the newspapers published in this state, three several times, at least twelve months before the next
general election; and if, at the first session of the general assembly, after such general
election, two-thirds of each house shall, by yeas and nays, ratify such proposed
amendments, they shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as parts of this constitution;
provided, that such proposed amendments shall be read on three several days, in each
house, as well when the same are proposed, as when they are finally ratified.
Article XIII. Declaration of Rights
That the general, great, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be
recognized and established, we declare,
1. That all political power is vested in, and derived from, the people.
2. That the people of this state have the inherent, sole, and exclusive right of regulating the
internal government and police thereof, and of altering and abolishing their constitution
and form of government, whenever it may be necessary to their safety and happiness. 3. That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to
apply to those vested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, by petition
or remonstrance; and that their right to bear arms, in defense of themselves and of the
state, cannot be questioned.
4. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to
the dictates of their own consciences; that no man can be compelled to erect, support, or
attend any place of worship, or to maintain any minister of the gospel, or teacher of
religion; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that
no person can ever be hurt, molested, or restrained in his religious profession or
sentiments, if he do not disturb others in their religious worship.
5. That no person, on account of his religious opinions, can be rendered ineligible to any
office of trust or profit under this state; that no preference can ever be given by law to any
sect or mode of worship; and that no religious corporation can ever be established in this
state.
6. That all elections shall be free and equal.
7. That courts of justice ought to be open to every person, and certain remedy afforded for
every injury to person, property, or character; and that right and justice ought to be
administered without sale, denial, or delay; and that no private property ought to be taken
or applied to public use without just compensation.
8. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
9. That, in all criminal prosecutions, the accused has the right to be heard by himself and
his counsel; to demand the nature and cause of accusation; to have compulsory process
for witnesses in his favor; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; and, in
prosecutions on presentment or indictment, to a speedy trial by an impartial jury of the
vicinage; that the accused cannot be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be
deprived of life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers or the law of the land.
10. That no person, after having been once acquitted by a jury, can, for the same offence,
be again put in jeopardy of life or limb, but if, in any criminal prosecution, the jury be
divided in opinion at the end of the term, the court before which the trial shall be had, may,
in its discretion, discharge the jury, and commit or bail the accused for trial at the next term
of such court.
11. That all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offences,
when the proof is evident or the presumption great, and the privilege of the writ of habeas
corpus cannot be suspended, unless when, in case of rebellion or invasion, the public
safety may require it.
12. That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and
unusual punishments inflicted.
13. That the people ought to be secure in their persons, papers, houses, and effects, from
unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place or to seize any
person or thing can issue, without describing the place to be searched, or the person or
thing to be seized, as nearly as may be, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or
affirmation.
14. That no person can, for an indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally by
information, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia when in
actual service in time of war or public danger, or, by leave of the court, for oppression or misdemeanor in office.
15. That treason against the state can consist only in levying war against it, or in adhering
to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; that no person can be convicted of treason
unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on his own confession
in open court; that no person can be attainted of treason or felony by the general
assembly; that no conviction can work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate; that the
estates of such persons as may destroy their own lives shall descend or vest as in cases
of natural death; and when any person shall be killed by casualty there ought to be no
forfeiture by reason thereof.
16. That the free communication of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of
man, and that every person may freely speak, write, and print, on any subject, being
responsible for the abuse of that liberty. That, in all prosecutions for libels, the truth thereof
may be given in evidence, and the jury may determine the law and the facts, under the
direction of the court.
17. That no ex-post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or
retrospective in its operation, can be passed; nor can the person of a debtor be
imprisoned for debt after he shall have surrendered his property for the benefit of his
creditors in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
18. That no person who is religiously scrupulous of bearing arms can be compelled to do
so, but may be compelled to pay an equivalent for military service in such manner as shall
be prescribed by law; and that no priest, preacher of the gospel, or teacher of any
religious persuasion or sect, regularly ordained as such, be subject to militia duty, or
compelled to bear arms.
19. That all property subject to taxation in this state shall be taxed in proportion to its value.
20. That no title of nobility, hereditary emolument, privilege, or distinction, shall be granted;
nor any office created the duration of which shall be longer than the good behavior of the
officer appointed to fill the same.
21. That migration from this state cannot be prohibited.
22. That the military is, and, in all cases, and at all times, shall be, in strict subordination to
the civil power; that no soldier can, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the
consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in such manner as may be prescribed by law;
nor can any appropriation for the support of an army be made for a longer period than two
years.
Schedule
Section 1. That no inconvenience may arise from the change of government, we declare,
that all writs, actions, prosecutions, judgments, claims, and contracts, of individuals, and of
bodies corporate, shall continue as if no change had taken place; and all process which
may, before the third Monday in September next, be issued under the authority of the
Territory of Missouri, shall be as valid as if issued in the name of the state.
Section 2. All laws now in force in the Territory of Missouri, which are not repugnant to this
constitution, shall remain in force until they expire by their own limitations, or be altered or
repealed by the general assembly.
Section 3. All fines, penalties, forfeitures, and escheats, accruing to the Territory of
Missouri, shall accrue to the use of the state. Section 4. All recognizances heretofore taken, or which may be taken before the third
Monday in September next, shall remain valid, and shall pass over to, and may be
prosecuted in, the name of the state; and all bonds executed to the governor of the
territory, or to any other officer or court, in his official capacity, shall pass over to the
governor, or other proper state authority, and to their successors in office, for the uses
therein respectively expressed, and may be sued for and recovered accordingly. All
criminal prosecutions and penal actions, which have arisen, or which may arise before the
third Monday in September next, and which shall then be depending, shall be prosecuted
to judgment and execution in the name of the state. All actions at law which now are, or
which, on the third Monday in September next, may be, depending in any of the courts of
record, in the Territory of Missouri, may be commenced in, or transferred to, any court of
record of the state which shall have jurisdiction of the subject matter thereof; and all suits
in equity may, in like manner, be commenced in, 'or transferred to, the court of chancery.
Section 5. All officers, civil and military, now holding com- missions under authority of the
United States, or of the territory of Missouri, shall continue to hold and exercise their
respective offices until they shall be superseded under the authority of the state; and all
such officers holding commissions under the authority of the territory of Missouri, shall
receive the same compensation which they have hitherto received, in proportion to the
time they shall be so employed.
Section 6. The first meeting of the general assembly shall be at St. Louis, with power to
adjourn to any other place; and the general assembly, at the first session thereof, shall fix
the seat of government until the first day of October, one thousand eight hundred and
twenty-six; and the first session of the general assembly shall have power to fix the
compensation of the members thereof; any thing in the constitution to the contrary
notwithstanding.
Section 7. Until the first enumeration shall be made, as directed in this constitution, the
county of Howard shall be entitled to eight representatives; the county of Cooper to four
representatives; the county of Montgomery to two representatives; the county of Lincoln to
one representative; the county of Pike to two representatives; the county of St. Charles to
three representatives; the county of St. Louis to six representatives; the county of Franklin
to two representatives; the county of Jefferson to one representative; the county of
Washington to two representatives; the county of Ste. Genevieve to four representatives;
the county of Cape Girardeau to four representatives; the county of New Madrid to two
representatives; the county of Madison to one representative; the county of Wayne to one
representative; and that part of the county of Lawrence situated within this state shall
attach to, and form part of, the county of Wayne, until otherwise pro- vided by law, and the
sheriff of the county of Wayne shall appoint the judges of the first election, and the place of
holding the same, in the part thus attached; and any person who shall have resided within
the limits of this state five months previous to the adoption of this constitution, and who
shall be otherwise qualified, as prescribed in the third section of the third article thereof,
shall be eligible to the house of representatives, any thing in this constitution to the
contrary notwithstanding.
Section 8. For the first election of senators, the state shall be divided into districts, and the
apportionment shall be as follows; that is to say: the counties of Howard and Cooper shall
compose one district, and elect four senators; the counties of Montgomery and Franklin
shall compose one district, and elect one senator; the county of St. Charles shall compose
one district, and elect one senator; the counties of Lincoln and Pike shall compose one
district, and elect one senator; the county of St. Louis shall compose one district, and elect
two senators; the counties of Washington and Jefferson shall compose one district, and
elect one senator; the county of St. Genevieve shall compose one district and elect one
senator; the counties of Madison and Wayne shall compose one district, and elect one
senator; the counties of Cape Girardeau and New Madrid shall compose one district, and
elect two senators; and, in all cases where a senatorial district consists of more than one county, it shall be the duty of the clerk of the county second named in that district to certify
the returns of the senatorial election within their proper county to the clerk of the county first
named, within five days after he shall have received the same; and any person who shall
have resided within the limits of this state five Months previous to the adoption of this
constitution, and who shall be otherwise qualified, as prescribed in the fifth section of the
third article thereof, shall be eligible to the senate of this state, any thing in this constitution
to the contrary notwithstanding.
Section 9. The president of the convention shall issue writs of election to the sheriffs of the
several counties, (or, in case of vacancy, to the coroners,) requiring them to cause an
election to be held, on the fourth Monday in August next, for a governor, a lieutenant
governor, a representative in the Congress of the United States for the residue of the
sixteenth Congress, a representative for the seventeenth Congress, senators and
representatives for the general assembly, sheriffs, and coroners; and the -returns of all
township elections, held in pursuance thereof, shall be made to the clerk of the proper
county, within five days after the day of election; and any person who shall reside within the
limits of this state at the time of the adoption of this constitution, and who shall be
otherwise qualified, as prescribed in the tenth section of the third article thereof, shall be
deemed a qualified elector, any thing in this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding.
Section 10. The elections shall be conducted according to the existing laws of the
Missouri territory. The clerks of the circuit courts of the several counties shall certify the
returns of the election of governor and lieutenant governor, and transmit the same to the
speaker of the house of representatives, at the temporary seat of government, in such
time that they may be received on the third Monday of September next. As soon as the
general assembly shall be organized, the speaker of the house of representatives and the
president, pro tempore, of the senate shall, in the presence of both houses, examine the
returns, and declare who are duty elected to fill those offices; and, if any two or more
persons shall have an equal number of votes, and a higher number than any other person,
the general assembly shall determine the election in the manner herein- before provided;
and the returns of the election for member of Congress shall be made to the secretary of
state within thirty days after the day of election.
Section 11. The oaths of office, herein directed to be taken, may be administered by any
judge or justice of the peace, until the general assembly shall otherwise direct.
Section 12. Until a seal of state be provided, the governor may use his private seal.
Done by the representatives of the people of Missouri, in convention assembled, at the
town of St. Louis on the nineteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight
hundred and twenty, and of the independence of the United States of America the fortyfifth.
David Barton, President of the Convention, and Representative from the County of St.
Louis
From the County of Cape Girardeau:
Stephen Byrd
Joseph M'Ferron
Alexander Bucknor
Richard S. Thomas
James Evans
From the County of Cooper:
Robert P. ClarkRobert Wallace
William Sillard
From the County of Franklin: John G. Heath
From the County of Howard:
Nicholas S. Burckhartt
Benjamin H. Reeves
Jonathan Smith Findlay
John Ray
Duff Green
From the County of Jefferson: S. Hammond
From the County of Lincoln:Malcolm Henry
From the County of Montgomery:
Jonathan Ramsay
James Talbott
From the County of Madison:Nathaniel Cook
From the County of New Madrid:
Robert D. Dawson
Christo. G. Houts
From the County of Pike:Stephen Cleaver
From the County of St. Charles:
Hiram H. Baber
Benjamin Emmons
Nathan Boone
From the County of St. Genevieve:
R. T. Brown
H. Dodge
John D. Cook
John Scott
From the County of St. Louis:
Wm. Rector
Pr. Chouteau, jun.
Thos. F. Riddick
Edw. Bates
A. M'Nair
Bernd. Pratte
John C. Sullivan
    From the County of Washington:John Rice Jones
    John Hutchings
    Samuel Perry
    From the County of Wayne: Elijah Bettis
    Attest: William G. Pettus, Secretary of the Convention
    Source: Missouri Constitution of 1820, Washington D. C., 1820
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