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The 1820 Constitution
Part III

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This page contains Articles IX-XIII of the 1820 Constitution of Missouri.


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 news- papers 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.


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