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Sec. 6. It is also further ordained and declared, that in counties wherein, for any cause, elections are not held on the said second Monday of March, next, the same may be held for the several local officers provided for in the constitution, ordinances and schedule of this convention, in the same manner as hereinbefore described, at any time thereafter, till the whole State is fully organized and represented.
SEC. 7. The officers to be voted for in this election, are governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, attorney-general, three judges of the supreme court, nine circuit judges and nine district attorneys, (according to act of January fifteenth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one,) county judges, clerks, sheriffs, coroners, constables, justices of the peace, and all other officers provided for in the constitution and ordinances of this convention, or which may exist by law, and members of the legislature, according to the ratio or apportionment of senatorial districts in force in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty, and members to Congress in districts Nos. 1 and 2, according to the act approved January nineteenth, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-one, (no election being ordered in district No. 3, this convention recognizing the election of Colonel James M. Johnson as the representative from that district.) And it is further hereby declared that all laws in force in this State on the fourth day of March, one thousand eight hundred and sixty. one, are still in force, not inconsistent with the provisions of this constitution, and which have not expired by limitation therein contained.
ROBERT J. T. WHITE, Secretary.
CONSTITUTION OF ARKANSAS—1868.*
We, the people of Arkansas, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and
desiring to perpetuate its blessings and secure the same to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution :
BILL OF RIGHTS. SECTION 1. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people, and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. But the paramount allegiance of every citizen is due to the Federal Government in the exercise of all its constitutional powers as the same may have been or may be defined by the Supreme Court of the United States; and no power exists in the people of this or any other State of the Federal Union to dissolve their connection therewith, or perform any act tending to impair, subvert or resist the supreme authority of the United States. The Constitution of the United States confers full powers on the Federal Government to maintain and perpetuate its existence, and whensoever any portion of the States, or the people thereof, attempt to secede from the Federal Union, or forcibly resist the execution of its laws, the Federal Government may, by warrant of the Constitution, employ armed force in compelling obedience to its authority.
Sec. 2. The liberty of the press shall forever remain in violate. The free communi
* A constitutional convention, called under the reconstruction acts of Congress, met at Little Rock, January 7, 1868, and adopted this constitution on the 11th of February following. It was submitted to the people, and ratified by 27,913 votes against 26,597 votes.
cation of thoughts and opinions is one of the invaluable rights of man, and all persons may freely speak, write and publish their sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of such right. In all criminal prosecutions for libel, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it shall appear to the jury, that the matter charged as libellous is true, and was published with good motives, and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted.
Sec. 3. The equality of all persons before the law is recognized and shall ever remain inviolate; nor shall any citizen ever be deprived of any right, privilege, or immunity, nor exempted from any burden or duty, on account of race, color, or previous condition.
SEC. 4. The citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives and to petition for the redress of grievances, and other proper purposes.
SEC. 5. The citizens of this State shall have the right to keep and bear arms for their common defence.
Sec. 6. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate and shall extend to all cases at law without regard to the amount in controversy ; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties in all cases, in the manner prescribed by law.
Sec. 7. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor shall excessive fines be imposed ; nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted; nor witnesses be unreasonably detained.
SEC. 8. In all criminal prosecutions the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the county or judicial district wherein the crime shall have been committed—which county or district shall have been previously ascertained by law—and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation against him ; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and to have the assistance of counsel in his defence.
SEC. 9. No person shall be held to answer a criminal offence unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases of impeachment, or in cases of petit larceny, assault, assault and battery, affray, vagrancy and such other minor cases as the general assembly shall make cognizable by justices of the peace; or arising in the Army and Navy of the United States, or in the militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger ; and no person after having once been acquitted by a jury, for the same offence, shall be again put in jeopardy of life or liberty ; but if, in any criminal prosecution, the jury be divided in opinion, 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 same or the next term of said court; nor shall any person be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law. All persons shall, before conviction, be bail able by sufficient sureties, except for capital offences—murder and treason-when the proof is evident or the presumption great; and the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require.
Sec. 10. Every person is entitled to a certain remedy in the laws for all injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property or character; he ought to obtain justice freely and without purchase; completely and without denial; promptly and without delay; conformably to the laws.
SEC. 11. Treason against the State shall only consist in levying war against the same, or in adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.
SEC. 12. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrant shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the person or things to be seized.
SEC. 13. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed ; and no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
Sec. 14. No person shall be imprisoned for debt in this State; but this shall not prevent the general assembly from providing for imprisonment or holding to bail persons charged with fraud in contracting said debt. A reasonable amount of property shall be exempt from seizure or sale for the payment of debts or liabilities.
Sec. 15. Private property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation therefor.
Sec. 16. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power. No standing army shall be kept up in this State in time of peace, and 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.
Sec. 17. Suits may be brought by or against the State in such manner and in such courts as may be by law provided.
Sec. 18. The general assembly shall not grant to any citizen or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms shall not equally belong to all citizens.
Sec. 19. The right of suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting under adequate penalties all undue influence from bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.
SEC. 20. Foreigners who are, or may become, bona-fide residents of this state, shall be secured the same rights in respect to the acquisition, possession, enjoyment and descent of property as are secured to native-born citizens.
Sec. 21. No religious test or amount of property shall ever be required as a qualification for any office of public trust under the State. No religious test or amount of property shall ever be required as a qualification of any voter at any election in this State; nor shall any person be rendered incompetent to give evidence in any court of law or equity in consequence of his opinion upon the subject of religion ; and the mode of administering an oath or affirmation shall be such as shall be most consistent with, and binding upon the conscience of the person to whom such oath or affirmation may be administered.
SEC. 22. Any person who shall, after the adoption of this constitution, fight a duel or send or accept a challenge for that purpose, or be aider or abettor in fighting a duel, either within this State or elsewhere, shall thereby be deprived of the right of holding any office of honor or profit in this State, and shall be forever disqualified from voting at any election, and shall be punished otherwise in such manner as may be prescribed by law.
SEC. 23. Religion, morality and knowledge being essential to good government, the general assembly shall pass suitable laws to protect every religious denomination in the peaceable enjoyment of its own mode of public worship; and to encourage schools and the means of instruction.
Sec. 24. All lands in this State are declared to be allodial, and feudal tenures of every description, with all their incidents, are prohibited. Leases and grants of land for a longer period than twenty-one years, hereafter made, in which shall be reserved any rent or service of any kind, shall be held a conveyance in fee to the lessee.
SEC. 25. The action of the convention of the State of Arkansas, which assembled in the city of Little Rock on the fourth day of March, A. D. 1861, was, and is null and void. All the action of the State of Arkansas under the authority of said convention, of its ordinances or its constitution, whether legislative, executive, judicial or military, was, and is hereby declared null and void; and no debt or liability of the State of Arkansas incurred by the action of said convention, or of the general assembly, or any department of the government under the authority of either, shall ever be recognized as obligatory: Provided, That this ordinance shall not be so construed as to affect the rights of private individuals arising under contracts between the parties, or to change county boundaries or county seats, or to make invalid the acts of justices of the peace, or other officers in their authority to administer oaths or take and certify the acknowledgment of deeds of conveyance, or other instruments of writing, or in the solemnization of marriage.
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 at the middle of the main channel of the Mississippi River, on the parallel of 36° north latitude; running from thence west, with the said parallel of latitude, to the Saint Francis River; thence up the middle of the main channel of said river to the parallel of 36° 30' north; from thence west with the boundary-line of the State of Missouri to the southwest corner of that State; 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 boundary-line of the State of Texas, 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, including an island in said river known as “Belle Point Island” to the 36° of north latitude-the place of beginning.
ARTICLE IV. SECTION 1. The powers of government are divided into three departments—the legislative, the executive, and the judicial.
Sec. 2. No person belonging to one department shall exercise the powers properly belonging to another, excepting in the cases expressly provided in this constitution.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT. SECTION 1. The legislative power in this State shall be vested in a general assembly, which shall consist of a senate and a house of representatives.
SEC. 2. The general assembly shall meet every two years, on the first Monday of January, at the seat of government, until altered by law; but the first general assembly elected after the adoption of this constitution shall meet on the second (20) day of April, A. D. one thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight, (1868.)
Sec. 3. The house of representatives shall consist of members chosen every second year by the qualified electors of the several districts.
Sec. 4. No person shall be a member of the house of representatives who shall not have attained the age of twenty-one years, and have been one year a resident of this State, who shall not be a male citizen of the United States, who shall not, at the time of his election, have an actual residence in the district he may be chosen to represent, and who shall not be a qualified elector as provided in this constitution.
SEC. 5. The senate shall consist of members chosen every fourth year by the qualified electors of the several districts.
Sec. 6. No person shall be a member of the senate who shall not have attained the age of twenty-five years, and have been one year a resident of this State, who shall not be a male citizen of the United States, who shall not, at the time of his election, have an actual residence in the district he may be chosen to represent, and who shall not be a qualified elector as provided in this constitution.
SEC. 7. The number of members composing the senate shall be twenty-six, (26) and of the house of representatives eighty-two, (82.)
Sec. 8. The general assembly shall provide by law for an enumeration of the inhabitants of this State in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, (1875,) and every tenth year thereafter ; and the first general assembly elected after each enumeration so made, and also after each enumeration made by the authority of the United States, may re-arrange the senatorial and representative districts according to the number of inhabitants as ascertained by such enumeration : Provided, That there shall be no apportionment other than that made in this constitution, until after the enumeration to be made in the year one thousand eight hundred and seventy-five, (1875.)
Sec. 9. Senators shall be chosen at the same time and in the same manner that members of the house of representatives are required to be. Senatorial districts shall be composed of convenient contiguous territory, and no representative district shall be divided in the formation of a senatorial one. The senatorial district shall be numbered in regular series, and the term of senators chosen for the districts designated by odd numbers shall expire in two (2) years, and the term of senators chosen for the districts designated by even numbers shall expire in four (4) years; but thereafter senators shall be chosen for the term of four years, excepting when an enumeration of the inhabitants of the State is made, in which case, if a re-arrangement of the senatorial districts is made, then the regulation above stated shall govern the term of office.
SEC. 10. Removals of senators and representatives from their respective districts shall be deemed a vacation of their office.
Sec. 11. No person holding any office under the United States, or this State, or any county office, excepting postmasters, notaries public, officers of the militia, and township officers, shall be eligible to, or have a seat in either branch of the general assembly, and all votes given for any such person shall be void.
Set. 12. Senators and representatives shall, in all cases, (treason, felony, or breach of the peace excepted,) be privileged from arrest during the session of the general assembly; they shall not be subjected to any civil process during the session of the general assembly, or for fifteen days next before the commencement, and next after the termination of each session; and they shall not be questioned in any other place for remarks made in either house.
Sec. 13. A majority of the members of each house shall constitute a quorum to transact 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 may prescribe.
Sec. 14. Each house shall choose its own officers, determine the rules of its proceedings, judge of the qualifications, election and return of its members; and may, 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, nor for any cause known to his constituents at the time of his election. The reasons for any such expulsion shall be entered upon the journal, with the names of the members voting thereon.
SEC. 15. The general assembly shall prescribe by law the manner in which the State printing shall be executed, and the accounts rendered therefor, and shall prohibit all charges for constructive labor. They shall not rescind or alter any contract for such printing, or release the person or persons taking the same, or his or their securities, from the performance of any of the provisions of said contract.
SEC. 16. Each house shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same, excepting such parts as may require secrecy. The yeas and nays of the members of either house, upon any question, shall be entered on the journal at the request of five members. Any member of either house may dissent, and protest against any act, proceeding or resolution which he may deem injurious to any person or the public, and have the reason of his dissent entered on the journal.
SEC. 17. In all elections by either house, or in joint convention, the votes shall be given viva voce. All votes on nominations to the senate shall be taken by yeas and nays, and published with the journal of its proceedings.
SEC. 18. The doors of each house shall be open, unless the public welfare requires secrecy. Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than where the general assembly may then be in session.
SEC. 19. Bills may originate in either house of the general assembly, but all bills for raising revenue shall originate in the house of representatives, though the senate may propose amendments, as on other bills.