Constitution of the State of Missouri,


NOVEMBER 80,1875.


We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for his goodness, do, for the better government of the state, establish this constitution.


Section 1. The boundaries of the state as heretofore established by law, are hereby ratified and confirmed. The state shall have concurrent jurisdiction on the river Mississippi, and every other river bordering on the state, so far as the said rivers shall form a common boundary to this state and any other state or states; and the river Mississippi and the navigable rivers and waters leading to the same, shall be common highways, and forever free to the citizens of this state and of the United States, without any tax, duty, import or toll therefor, imposed by this state.

ARTICLE II.—Bill or Rights.

In order to assert our rights, acknowledge our duties, and proclaim the principles on which our government is founded, we declare:

Section 1. That all political power is vested in, and derived from the people; that all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.

Sec. 2. That the people of this state have the inherent, sole and exclusive right to regulate the internal government and police thereof, and to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness: Provided, such change be not repugnant to the constitution of the United States.

Sec. 3. .That Missouri is a free and independent state, subject onlv to the constitution of the United States; and as the preservation of the states and the maintenance of their governments, are necessary to an indestructible Union, and were intended to co-exist with it, the legislature is not authorized to adopt, nor will the people of this state ever assent to any amendment or change of the constitution of the United States which may in any wise impair the right of local self-government belonging to the people of this state.

Sec. 4. That all constitutional government is intended to promote the general welfare of the people; that all persons have a natural right to life, liberty and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry; that to give security to these things is the principal office of government, and that when government does not confer this security, it fails of its chief design.

Sec. 5. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no


person can, on account of his religious opinions, be rendered ineligible to any office of trust or profit under this state, nor be disqualified from testifying, or from serving as a juror; that no human authority can control or interfere with the rights of conscience; that no person ought, by any law, to be molested in his person or estate, on account of his religious persuasion or profession; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured, shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, nor to justify practices inconsistent with the good order, peace or safety of this state, or with the rights of others.

Sec. 6. That no person can be compelled to erect, support or attend any place or system of worship, or to maintain or support any priest, minister, preacher or teacher of any sect, church, creed or denomination of religion; but if any person shall voluntarily make a contract for any such object, he shall be held to the performance of the same.

Sec. 7. That no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion, or in aid of any priest, preacher, minister or teacher thereof, as such; and that no preference shall be given to, nor any discrimination made against any church, sect or creed of religion, or any form of religious faith or worship.

Sec. 8. That no religious corporation can be established in this state, except such as may be created under a general law for the purpose only of holding the title to such real estate as may be prescribed by law for church edifices, parsonages and cemeteries.

Sec. 9. That all elections shall be free and open; and no power, civil or military, shall at any time interfere to prevent the free exercise of the right of suffrage.

Sec. 10. The courts of justice shall be open to every person, and certain remedy afforded for every injury to person, property or character, and that right and justice should be administered without sale, denial or delay.

Sec. 11. That the people shall be secure in their persons, papers, homes and effects, from unreasonable searches and seizures: and no warrant to search any place, or seize any person or thing, shall 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 reduced to writing.

Sec. 12. That no person shall, for felony, be proceeded against criminally otherwise than by indictment, 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; in all other cases, offenses shall be prosecuted criminally by indictment or information as concurrent remedies.

Sec. 13. 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 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 shall be no forfeiture by reason thereof.

Sec. 14. That no law shall be passed impairing the freedom of speech; that every person shall be free to say, write or publish whatever he will on any subject, being responsible for all abuse of that liberty; and that in all suits and prosecutions for libel, the truth thereof may be given in evidence, and the jury, under the direction of the court, shall determine the law and the fact.

Sec. 15. That no ex post facto law, nor law impairing the obligation of contracts, or retrospective in its operation, or making any irrevocable grant of special privileges or immunities, can be passed by the general assembly.

Sec. 16. That imprisonment for debt shall not be allowed, except for the nonpayment of fines and penalties imposed for violation of law.

Sec. 17. That the right of no citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained is intended to justify the practice of wearing concealed weapons.

Sec. 18. That no person elected or appointed to any office or employment of trust or profit under the laws of this state, or any ordinance of any municipality in this state, shall hold such office without personally devoting his time to the performance of the duties to the same belonging.

Sec. 19. That no person who is now, or may hereafter become a collector or receiver of public money, or assistant or deputy of such collector or receiver, shall be eligible to any office of trust or profit in the state of Missouri under the laws thereof, or of any municipality therein, until he shall have accounted for and paid over all the public money for which he may be accountable.

Sec. 20. That no private property can be taken for private use with or without compensation, unless by the consent of the owner, except for private ways of necessity, and except for drains and ditches across the lands of others for agricultural and sanitary purposes, in such manner as may be prescribed by law; and that whenever an attempt is made to take private property for a use alleged to be public, the question whether the contemplated use be really public shall be a judicial question, and as such, judicially determined, without regard to any legislative assertion that the use is public.

Sec. 21. That private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation. Such compensation shall be ascertained by a jury or board of commissioners of not less than three freeholders, in such manner as may be prescribed by law; and until the same shall be paid to the owner, or into court for the owner, the property shall not be disturbed, or the proprietary rights of the owner therein divested. The fee of land taken for railroad tracts without consent of the owner thereof, shall remain in such owner, subject to the use for which it is taken.

Sec. 22. In criminal prosecutions the accused shall have the right to appear and defend, in person, and by counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to meet the witnesses against him face to face; to have process to compel the attendance of witnesses in his behalf, and a speedy, public trial by an impartial jury of the county.

Sec. 23. That no person shall be compelled to testify against himself in a criminal cause, nor shall any person, after being once acquitted by a jury, be again, for the same offense, put in jeopardy of life or liberty; but if the jury to which the question of his guilt or innocence is submitted fail to render a verdict, the court before which the trial is had may, in its discretion, discharge the jury and commit or bail the prisoner for trial at the next term of court, or if the state of business will permit, at the same term ; and if judgment be arrested after a verdict of guilty on a defective indictment, or if judgment on a verdict of guilty be reversed for error in law, nothing herein contained shall prevent a new trial of the prisoner on a proper indictment, or according to correct principles of law.

Sec. 24. That all persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, when the proof is evident or the presumption great.

Sec. 25. That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.

Sec. 26. That the privilege of the writ of habeas corf us shall never be suspended.

Sec. 27. That the military shall always be in strict subordination to the civil power; that no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, except in the manner prescribed by law.

Sec 28. The right of trial by jury, as heretofore enjoyed, shall remain inviolate; but a jury for the trial of criminal or civil cases, in courts not of record, may consist of less than twelve men, as may be prescribed by law. Hereafter, a grand jury shall consist of twelve men, any nine of whom concurring may find an indictment or a true bill.

Sec 29. That the people have the right peaceably to assemble for their common good, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances by petition or remonstrance.

Sec 30. That no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law.

Sec 31. That there cannot be in this state either slavery or involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.

Sec 32. The enumeration in this constitution of certain rights shall not be construed to deny, impair, or disparage others retained by the people.


The powers of government shall be divided into three distinct departments—the legislative, executive, and judicial—each of which shall be confided to a separate magistracy and no person, or collection of persons, 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 in this constitution expressly directed or permitted.


Section 1. The legislative power, subject to the limitations herein contained, shall be vested in a senate and house of representatives, to be styled "The General Assembly of the State of Missouri."


Sec 2. The house of representatives shall consist of members to be chosen every second year by the qualified voters of the several counties, and apportioned in the following manner: The ratio of representation shall be ascertained at each apportioning session of the general assembly, by dividing the whole number of inhabitants of the state, as ascertained by the last decennial census of the United States, by the number two hundred. Each county having one ratio, or less, shall be entitled to one representative; each county having two and a half times said ratio, shall be entitled to two representatives; each county having four times said ratio, shall be entitled to three representatives; each county having six times such ratio, shall be entitled to four representatives, and so on above that number, giving one additional member for every two and a half additional ratios.

Sec. 3. When any county shall be entitled to more than one representative, the county court shall cause such county to be subdivided into districts of compact and contiguous territory, corresponding in number to the representatives to which such county is entitled, and in population as nearly equal as may be, in each of which the qualified voters shall elect one representative, who shall be a resident of such district: Provided, That when any county shall be entitled to more than ten representatives, the circuit court shall cause such county to be subdivided into districts, so as to give each district not less than two, nor more than four representatives, who shall be residents of such district; the population of the districts to be proportioned to the number of representatives to be elected therefrom.

Sec. 4. No person shall be a member of the house of representatives who shall not have attained the age of twenty-four years, who shall not be a male citizen of the United States, who shall not have been a qualified voter of this state two years, and an inhabitant of the county or district which he may be chosen to represent, one year next before the day of his election, if such county or district shall have been so long established, but if not, then of the county or district from which the same shall have been taken, and who shall not have paid a state and county tax within one year next preceding the election.

Sec. 5. The senate shall consist of thirty-four members, to be chosen by the qualified voters of their respective districts for four years. For the election of senators the state shall be divided into convenient districts, as nearly equal in population as may be, the same to be ascertained by the last decennial census taken by the United States.

Sec. 6. No person shall be a senator who shall not have attained the age of thirty years, who shall not be a male citizen of the United States, who shall not have been a qualified voter of this state three years, and an inhabitant of the district which he may be chosen to represent one year next before the day of 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 have paid a state and county tax within one year next preceding the election. When any county shall be entitled to more than one senator, the circuit court shall cause such county to be subdivided into districts of compact and contiguous territory, and of population as nearly equal as may be, corresponding in number with the senators to which such county may be entitled; and in each of these one senator, who shall be a resident of such district, shall be elected by the qualified voters thereof.

Sec. 7. Senators and representatives shall be chosen according to the rule of apportionment established in this constitution, until the next decennial census by the United States shall have been taken and the result thereof as to this state ascertained, when the apportionment shall be revised

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