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AMENDMENTS TO THE CONSTITUTION
SECTION 1. The General Assembly, whenever two-thirds of each house shall deem it necessary, may propose amendments to this Constitution, which proposed amendments shall be duly published in print at least three months before the next general election of representatives, for the consideration of the people; and it shall be the duty of the several returning officers at the next general election which shall be held for representatives, to open a poll for, and make a return to the Secretary of State for the time being, of the names of all those voting for representative who have voted on such proposed amendments, and if thereupon it shall appear that a majority of all the citizens of the State voting for representatives have voted in favor of such proposed amendments, and two-thirds of each house of the next General Assembly shall, after such an election, and before another, ratify the same amendments, by yeas and nays, they shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution: Provided, That the said proposed amendments shall, at each of the said sessions, have been read three times on three several days in each house.
After the expiration of twelve months from the adoption of this Constitution, no Convention shall be held for the purpose of altering or amending the Constitution of this State, unless the question of Convention or no Convention shall be first submitted to a vote of all the electors, twenty-one years of age and upward, and approved by a majority of the electors voting at said election.
E. W. PECK, President. ROBERT BARBER, Secretary.
CONSTITUTION OF ALABAMA—1875 * .
We, the people of the State of Alabama, in order to establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and to secure to ourselves and to our posterity life, liberty, and property, profoundly grateful to Almighty God for this inestimable right, and invoking His favor and guidance, do ordain and establish the following constitution and form of government for the State of Alabama.
* Verified by the Journal of the Constitutional Convention of the State of Alabama, assembled in the city of Montgomery, September 6, 1875. Montgomery, Alabama, W. W. Screws, State Printer, 1875.” Pp. 175–214.
a This constitution was framed by a convention which met at Montgomery September 6, 1875, and completed its labors October 2, 1875. It was submitted to the people of Alabama and ratified November 16, 1875, receiving 95,672 votes against 30,004 votes, and went into operation December 6, 1875.
DECLARATION OF RIGHTS
That the great, general, and essential principles of liberty and free government may be recognized and established, we declare
SECTION 1. That all men are equally free and independent; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Sec. 2. That all persons resident in this State, born in the United States, or naturalized, or who shall have legally declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, are hereby declared citizens of the State of Alabama, possessing equal civil and political rights.
Sec. 3. That all political power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority and instituted for their benefit; and that, therefore, they have, at all times, an inalienable and indefeasible right to change their form of government, in such manner as they may deem expedient.
SEC. 4. That no religion shall be established by law; that no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect, society, denomination, or mode of worship; that no one shall be compelled by law to attend any place of worship, nor to pay any tithes, taxes, or other rate, for building or repairing any place of worship, or for maintaining any minister or ministry; that no religious test shall be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State; and that the civil rights, privileges, and capacities of any citizen shall not be in any manner affected by his religious principles.
Sec. 5. That any citizen may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.
Sec. 6. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and possessions from unreasonable seizures or searches, and that no warrant shall issue to search any place, or to seize any person or thing, without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.
Sec. 7. That in all criminal prosecutions the accused has a right to be heard by himself and counsel, or either; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation; to have copy thereof; to be confronted by witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in all prosecutions by indictment a speedy public trial by an impartial jury of the county or district in which the offence was committed; and that he shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself, nor be deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by due process of law.
Sec. 8. That no person shall be accused or arrested, or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the forms which the same has prescribed; and no person shall be punished but by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied.
Sec. 9. That no person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally, by information, except in cases arising in the militia and volunteer forces when in actual service, or by leave of the court, for misfeasance, misdemeanor, extortion, and oppression in office, otherwise than as is provided in this constitution: Provided, That in cases of petit larceny, assault, assault and battery, affray, unlawful assemblies, vagrancy, and other misdemeanors, the General Assembly may, by law, dispense with a grand jury, and authorize such prosecutions and proceedings before justices of the peace or such other inferior courts as may be by law established.
Sec. 10. That no person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.
Sec. 11. That no person shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending, before any tribunal in the State, by himself or counsel, any civil cause or proceeding to which he is a party.
Sec. 12. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
Sec. 13. That in prosecutions for the publication of papers investigating the official conduct of officers, or men in public capacity, or when the matter published is proper for public information, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and that in all indictments for libel the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts under the direction of the court.
Sec. 14. That all courts shall be open, and that every person, for any injury done him in his lands, goods, person, or reputation, shall have a remedy by due process of law; and right and justice shall be administered without sale, denial, or delay.
Sec. 15. The State of Alabama shall never be made defendant in any court of law or equity.
Sec. 16. That excessive fines shall not be imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted.
Sec. 17. That all persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offences when the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not, in any case, be required.
Sec. 18. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended by the authorities of this State.
SEC. 19. İhat treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort; and that no person shall be convicted of treason except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or his own confession in open court.
Sec. 20. That no person shall be attainted of treason by the General Assembly; and that no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate.
SEC. 21. That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.
Sec 22. That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised, except by the General Assembly.
SEC. 23. That no ex post facto law, nor any law impairing the obligation of contracts, or making any irrevocable grants of special privileges or immunities, shall be passed by the General Assembly.
Sec. 24. The exercise of the right of eminent domain shall never be abridged or so construed as to prevent the General Assembly from taking the property and franchises of incorporated companies and subjecting them to public use the same as individuals. But private property shall not be taken for or applied to public use, unless just compensation be first made therefor; nor shall private property be taken for private use, or for the use of corporations, other than municipal, without the consent of the owners: Provided, howerer, That the general assembly may, by law, secure to persons or corporations the right of way over the lands of other persons or corporations, and by general laws provide for and regulate the exercise by persons and corporations of the rights herein reserved; but just compensation shall, in all cases, be first made to the owner: And provided, That the right of eminent domain shall not be so construed as to allow taxation or forced subscription for the benefit of railroads or any other kind of corporations other than municipal, or for the benefit of any individual or association.
Sec. 25. That all navigable waters shall remain forever public highways, free to the citizens of the State, and of the United States, without tax, impost, or toll, and that no tax, toll, impost, or wharfage shall be demanded or received from the owner of any merchandise or commodity, for the use of the shores, or any wharf erected on the shores, or in or over the waters of any navigable stream, unless the same be expressly authorized by law.
Sec. 26. That the citizens have a right in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for the common good, and to apply to those invested with the power of government for redress of grievances, or other purposes, by petition, address, or remonstrance.
SEC. 27. That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and the State.
Sec. 28. That no standing army shall be kept up without the consent of the general assembly; and, in that case, no appropriation for its support shall be made for a longer term than one year; and the military shall, in all cases and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.
SEC. 29. That 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 to be prescribed by law.
Sec. 30. That no title of nobility, or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor, or emolument, shall ever be granted or conferred in this State; and that no office shall be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.
Sec. 31. That immigration shall be encouraged, emigration shall not be prohibited, and no citizen shall be exiled.
SEC. 32. That temporary absence from the State shall not cause a forfeiture of residence once obtained.
SEC. 33. That no form of slavery shall exist in this State, and there shall be no involuntary servitude, otherwise than for the punishment of crime, of which the party shall have been duly convicted.
Sec. 34. The right of suffrage shall be protected by laws regulating elections, and prohibiting, under adequate penalties, all undue influences from power, bribery, tumult, or other improper conduct.
SEC. 35. The people of this State accept as final the established fact that from the Federal Union there can be no secession of any State.
SEC. 36. Foreigners who are or may hereafter become bona-fide residents of this State shall enjoy the same rights, in respect to the possession, enjoyment, and inheritance of property, as native-born citizens.
SEC. 37. That the sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizens in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property; and when the government assumes other functions it is usurpation and oppression.
Sec. 38. No educational or property qualification for suffrage or office, nor any restraint upon the same, on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude, shall be made by law.
Sec. 39. That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people.
STATE AND COUNTY BOUNDARIES
SECTION 1. The boundaries of this State are established and declared to be as follows, that is to say: Beginning at the point where the 31st degree of north latitude crosses the Perdido River; thence east to the western boundary-line of the State of Georgia; thence along said line to the southern boundary-line of the State of Tennessee; thence west along the southern boundary-line of the State of Tennessee, crossing the Tennessee River, and on to the second intersection of said river by said line; thence up said river to the mouth of Big Bear Creek; thence by a direct line to the northwest corner of Washington County in this State, as originally formed; thence southerly along the line of the State of Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico; thence eastwardly, including all islands within six leagues of the shore, to the Perdido River; thence up the said river to the beginning
Sec. 2. The boundaries of the several counties of this State, as heretofore established by law, are hereby ratified and confirmed. The general assembly may, by a vote of two-thirds of both houses thereof, arrange and designate boundaries for the several counties of this State, which boundaries shall not be altered, except by a like vote; but no new counties shall be hereafter formed of less extent than six hundred square miles, and no existing county shall be reduced to less extent than six hundred square miles, and no new county shall be formed which does not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to entitle it to one representative, under the ratio of representation existing at the time of its formation, and leave the county or counties from which it is taken with the required number of inhabitants entitling such county or counties to separate representation.
DISTRIBUTION OF POWERS OF GOVERNMENT
SECTION 1. The powers of the government of the State of Alabama shall be divided into three distinct departments, each of which shall be confided to a separate body of magistracy, to wit: Those which are legislative to one; those which are executive to another; and those which are judicial to another.
Sec. 2. No person or collection of persons, being of one of those departments, shall exercise any power properly belonging to either of the others, except in the instances hereinafter expressly directed or permitted.