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The 1820 Constitution
Part II

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This page contains Articles IV-VIII of the 1820 Missouri Constitution.


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.


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