CONSTITUTION OF 1868




ARTICLE I.

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 created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Section 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 and public privileges.

Section 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 inherent right to change their form of government, in such manner as they may deem expedient.

Section 4. That no person shall be deprived of the right to worship-God according to the dictates of his own conscience.

Section 5. That no religion shall be established by law.

Section 6. That any citizen may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty.

Section 7. 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.

Section 8. 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 a copy thereof; to be confronted by the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in all prosecutions by indictment or information, 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, or be deprived of his life, liberty or property, but by due process of law.

Section 9. 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 that no person shall be punished but by virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied.

Section 10. That no person shall, for any indictable offence, be proceeded against criminally, by information, except in cases arising in the land and naval service, or in the militia when in actual service, or by leave of the court for oppressions or misdemeanor in office: 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.

Section 11. That no person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb.

Section 12. That no person shall be debarred from prosecuting or defending, before any tribunal in the state, by himself, or counsel, any civil cause to which he is a party.

Section 13. That the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

Section 14. That in prosecution 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.

Section 15. That all courts shall be open, 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.

Section 16. That suits may be brought against the state in such manner and in such courts as may be by law provided.

Section 17. That excessive fines shall not be imposed, or cruel punishment inflicted.

Section 18. 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.

Section 19. The privilege of writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except when necessary for public safety in times of rebellion or invasion.

Section 20. That 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.

Section 21. 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.

Section 22. That no person shall be imprisoned for debt.

Section 23. That no power of suspending laws shall be exercised, except by the General Assembly, or by its authority.

Section 24. That no ex post facto law, or any law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made.

Section 25. That private property shall not be taken or applied for public use, unless just compensation be 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 owner : Provided, however, That laws may be made securing to persons or corporations, the right of way over the lands of either persons or corporations, and for works of internal improvement, the right to establish depots, stations, and turnouts, but just compensation shall, in all cases, be first made to the owner.

Section 26. 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 imposed; and that no tax, toll, impost or wharfage shall be demanded or received from the owner of any merchandise or commodity for 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 the General Assembly.

Section 27. 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.

Section 28. That every citizen has a right to bear arms in defence of himself and the state.

Section 29. That no person who conscienciously scruples to bear arms shall be compelled to do so, but may pay an equivalent for personal service.

Section 30. 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.

Section 31. That no soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; or in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Section 32. That no title of nobility, or hereditary distinction, privilege, honor, or emolument, shall ever be granted or conferred in this state; that no property qualification shall be necessary to the election to, or holding of any office in this state, and that no office shall be created, the appointment to which shall be for a longer time than during good behavior.

Section 33. That emigration from the state shall not be prohibited ; and that no citizen shall be exiled.

Section 34. That temporary absence from the state shall not cause a forfeiture of residence once obtained.

Section 35. 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.

Section 36. 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.

Section 37. That this state has no right to sever its relations to the Federal Union, or to pass any law in derogation of the paramount allegiance of the citizens of this state to the government of the United States.

Section 38. That this enumeration of certain rights shall not impair or deny others retained by the people.


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