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CONSTITUTION OF STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.
Frame of government.
House of Representatives. 2. Governor.
sary, etc. 3. Judiciary power. 4. Delegates to Congress. 5. The University. The encouragement of litera
ture. 6. Oaths.
Articles of amendment.
CHAPTER I. 1. Preamble.
7. Objects of government.-- The
right of the people to insti
tute and change it. 8. Right of the people to secure
rotation in office. 9. All having the qualifications
prescribed, equally eligible to
office. 10. Right of protection and duty of
contribution correlative. 11. Remedies by recourse to the
law, to be free, complete and
prompt. 12. Prosecutions regulated. 13. Crimes to be proved in the vi
cinity. 14. To be secure from unreasonable
searches and seizures. 15. Right of trial by jury. 16. Liberty of the press. 17. Right to keep and bear arms.
- Standing armies dangerous. - Military power subordinate
to civil power. 18. Moral qualifications for office.
Moral obligations of law
givers and magistrates. 19. The people have the right to
assemble in a peaceable manner to consult for common
good. 20. Power to suspend the laws or
their execution. 21. Freedom of debate, etc., and
reason thereof. 22. Frequent sessions and objects
thereof. 23. Taxation founded on consent. 24. Ex post facto laws prohibited. 25. Legislature not to convict of
treason, etc. 26. Excessive bail or fines, and cruel
PART 1. Declaration of Rights. 1. Equality and natural rights of
man. 2. Right and duty of public relig
ious worship. – Protection
therein. 3. Legislature empowered to com
pel provisions for public worship and enjoin attendance
thereon. 4. Right of self-government se
cured. 5. Accountability of all officers,
etc. 6. Service rendered to the public
being the only title peculiar to privileges.- Hereditary offices are
absurd and natural.
27. No soldiers to be quartered in
any house, unless, etc. 28. Citizens exempt from law mar
shall, unless, etc. 29. Judges of Supreme Judicial
Court.- Tenure of their office.
- Salaries. 30. Separation of executive, judicial
and legislative departments. 1. Title of the body politic.
Section 1. PART 2.
1. Legislative department. 2. Governor's veto.- Bill may be
passed by two-thirds of each
house notwithstanding. 3. General Court may constitute
judicatories. 4. General Court may enact laws,
etc., not repugnant to the Constitution.-May provide for the election or appointment of officers, and may prescribe their duties. · May impose taxes.
1. Senate, number of, and by whom
elected.- County shall be dis
tricts until, etc. 2. Manner and time of choosing
Senators and councillors.- Selectmen to preside at town
meetings. 3. Governor and council to examine and
count votes and issue summonses. 4. Senate
be final judge of elections, etc., of its own mem
bers. 5. Qualifications of Senator.
9. Not less than sixteen members
of the Senate shall constitute a quorum for doing business.
Section 3. House of Representatives. 1. Representation of the people. 2. Representatives. By whom
chosen.-- Proviso as to towns having less than one hundred
and fifty ratable polls. 3. Qualifications of a Representa
tive. Property qualifications
abolished. 4. Qualifications of a voter. 5. Representatives, when chosen. 6. House alone can impeach. 7. House originates all money bills. 8. Not to adjourn more than two
days. 9. Not less than sixty members of
the House of Representatives shall constitute a quorum for
doing business. 10. To judge of returns, etc., of its
own members; to choose its officers and establish its rules.
Privilege of members from
arrest. 11. Senate.- Governor and council
may punish.— Trial may be by committee or otherwise.
Property qualifications abol
ished. 6. Senate not to adjourn more than
two days. 7. Shall choose its officers and
establish its rules. 8. Shall try all impeachments.
Oath.- Limitation of sentence.
Governor. 1. Governor. 2. To be chosen annually. 3. By whom chosen, if he have a
majority of votes.- In case of
tie. 4. Power of Governor, and of Gov
ernor and council. 5. May adjourn or prorogue the
General Court upon request,
and convene the same. 6. Governor and council may ad
journ the General Court in cases, etc., but not exceeding
ninety days. 7. Governor to be commander-in
chief of State military forres. 8. Governor may pardon.
Section 3. Council, Manner of Settling Election. 1. Number of councillors changed
to eight. 2. From whom and how chosen.
When Senators become coun
cillors their seats are vacated. 3. Rank of councillors. 4. No district to have more than
two. 5. The register of council. 6. When the council is to exercise
the power of Governor. 7. Elections may be adjourned.
CHAPTER VI. 1. Oaths, etc. Declaration and
oaths of all officers.- Oath of
office, how administered. 2. Plurality of offices prohibited to
Governor. Bribery, etc., to
disqualify. 3. Value of money ascertained. 4. Provisions respecting commis
sions. 5. Provisions respecting writs. 6. Continuation of former laws. 7. Benefit of habeas corpus secured,
except, etc. 8. The enacting style. 9. Officers of former government
continued. 10. Provision for revising the Con
stitution. 11. Provision for preserving and
publishing this Constitution.
Section 4. Secretary, I reasury, Commissary. 1. Secretary, by whom and how
chosen. Treasurer ineligible for more than five successive
years. 2. Secretary to keep records. -- To
attend Governor and council.
Judiciary Pover. 1. Tenure of all commissioned offi
cers to be expressed.— Judicial officers to hold office during
good behavior. 2. Justices of the Supreme Court,
to give opinions when required.
ARTICLES OF AMENDMENT. 1. Bill, etc., not approved within
five days not to become a law, if Legislature adjourned in the
meantime. 2. General Court empowered to
3. Qualification of voters for Governor,
Lieutenant - Governor, Senators and Representatives. 4. Notaries public. - How appointed
and removed. 5. Who may vote for captains and
subalterns. 6. Oath to be taken by all officers. 7. Tests abolished. 8. Incompatibility of offices. 9. Amendments to Constitution,
how made. 10. Commencement and termination
of political year. 11. Religious freedom established. 12. Census of ratable polls to be
taken every ten years.--Towns having less than three hundred ratable polls, how represented,
etc. 13. Census of inhabitants to be
taken in 1840 and every ten years thereafter. House of Representatives, how appor
tioned, etc. 14. Elections by the people to be by
plurality of votes. 15. Time of annual election of Gov
ernor and Legislature. 16. Eight councillors to be chosen
by the people, etc. 17. Election of Secretary, Treasurer,
Auditor and Attorney-General by the people.- Vacancies, how
filled. 18. School moneys not to be applied
to sectarian schools. 19. Legislature to prescribe for the
20. Reading Constitution in English
and writing, necessary qualifi
cations of voters. 21. Census of legal voters and in
habitants, when taken.-House of Representatives to consist of two hundred and forty
members, etc. 22. Voters to be basis of apportion
ment of Senators.- Senate to
consist of forty members, etc. 23. Two years' residence required of
naturalized citizens to entitle to suffrage or to make eligible
to office. 24. Vacancies in the Senate. 25. Vacancies in the Council. 26. Twenty-third article of amend
ments annulled. | 27. Provisions of article 2, chapter 6,
election of sheriffs.- Registers of Probate Court, etc.
relating to officers of Harvard
College, annulled. 28. Superseded by article 31. 29. Voting precincts, in towns. 30. Voters not disqualified by
change of residence until six
months from time of removal. 31. Amendments, article 28 amended. 32. Provisions of amendments, are
ticle 3, relative to payment of a tax, as a voting qualification,
annulled. 33. Quorum in each branch of the
General Court, to consist of a
majority of members. 34. Provisions of article 2, section 1,
chapter 2, part 2, relative to the property qualification of Governor annulled.
PREAMBLE. The end of the institution, maintenance and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquility their natural rights and the blessings of life; and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.
The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals; it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a Constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation and a faithful execution of them; that every man may, at all times, find his security in them.
We, therefore, the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new Constitution of civil government, for ourselves and posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so interesting a design, do agree upon, ordain and establish, the following Declaration of Rights, and frame of government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
PART THE FIRST. A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Common
wealth of Massachusetts. Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.
II. It is the right as well as the duty of all men in society, publicly and at stated seasons, to worship the Supreme Being, the Great Creator and Preserver of the universe. And no subject