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CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE Whereas the people of the Territory of the United States, south of the river Ohio, having the right of admission into the General Government as a Member State thereof, consistent with the constitution of the United States, and the act of cession of the State of North-Carolina, recognizing the Ordinance for the government of the territory of the United States north west of the river Ohio, by their delegates and representatives in convention assembled did on the sixth day of February in the year of our Lord One thousand seven hundred and ninety six, Ordain and establish a constitution or form of government, and mutually agreed with each other to form themselves into a free and independent State by the name of “The State of Tennessee; And whereas the General Assembly of said State of Tennessee pursuant to the third section of the tenth Article of the Constitution, by an act passed on the twenty seventh day of November in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty three entitled “An act to provide for the calling of a Convention” did authorize and provide for the election by the people of delegates and representatives, to meet at Nashville in Davidson County, on the third monday in May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty four, for the purpose of revising and amending (or changing) the Constitution’: We therefore the Delegates and Representatives of the People of the State of Tennessee elected and in convention assembled, in pursuance of the said act of Assembly have ordained and established the following ----“Amended Constitution and form of government for this State which we recommend to the people of Tennessee for their ratification ---- That is to say Article 1st Declaration of rights. Section 1st That all power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; for the advancement of those ends, they have at all times, an unalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform, or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper. Section 2nd That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of Mankind. of the good and happiness of Mankind. 3rd That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own conscience; that no man can, of right, be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any minister against his consent; that no human authority can, in any case, whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience; And that no preference shall ever be given, by law, to any religious establishment or mode of worship. Sec. 4. That no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this State. Sec. 5. That elections shall be free and equal. Sec. 6. That the right of trial by Jury shall remain inviolate. Sec. 7. That the people shall be secure in their persons, houses, papers and possessions, from unreasonable searches and seizures; and that general warrants, whereby an officer may be commanded to search suspected places, without evidence of the fact committed, or to seize any person or persons not named, whose offences are not particularly described and supported by evidence, are dangerous to liberty and ought not to be granted. Sec. 8. That no free man shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner destroyed, or deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of the land. Sec. 9. That in all criminal prosecutions, the accused hath a right to be heard by himself and his counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; and in prosecutions by indictment, or presentment, a speedy public trial, by an impartial jury of the County or District in which the crime shall have been committed; and shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself. Sec. 10. That no person shall, for the same offence, be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. Sec. 11. That laws made for the punishment of facts committed previous to the existence of such laws, and by them only declared criminal, are contrary to the principles of a free government; wherefore no ex post facto law shall be made. Sec. 12. That no conviction shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture of estate. The estate of such persons as shall destroy their own lives, shall descend or vest as in the case of natural death. If any person be Killed by Casualty, there shall be no forfeiture in consequence thereof. Sec. 13. That no person arrested or confined in jail, shall be treated with unnecessary rigor. Sec. 14. That no freeman shall be put to answer any criminal charge, but by presentment, indictment, or impeachment. Sec. 15. That all prisoners shall be bailable by sufficient surities, unless for capital offences, when the proof is evident, or the presumption great. And the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it. Sec. 16. That excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. Sec. 17. That all courts shall be open; and every man, for an injury done him in his lands, goods, person or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial, or delay. Suits may be brought against the State in such manner, and in such courts, as the Legislature may by law direct. Sec. 18. That the person of a debtor, where there is not strong presumption of fraud, shall not be continued in prison, after delivering up his estate for the benefit of his creditor or creditors, in such manner as shall be prescribed by law. Sec. 19. That the printing presses shall be free to every person who undertakes to examine the proceedings of the Legislature, or of any branch or officer of Government; and no law shall ever be made to restrain the right thereof. The free communication of thoughts and opinions, is one of the invaluable rights of man, and every citizen may freely speak, write, and print, on any subject, being responsible for the abuse of that liberty. But in prosecutions for the publication of papers, investigating the official conduct of officers or men in public capacity, the truth thereof may be given in evidence; and in all indictments for libels, the jury shall have a right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the Court, as in other criminal cases. Sec. 20. That no retrospective law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be made. Sec. 21. That no man’s particular services shall be demanded, or property taken, or applied to public use, without the consent of his representatives, or without just compensation being made therefor. Sec. 22. That perpetuities and monopolies are contrary to the genius of a free State, and shall not be allowed. Sec. 23. That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together, for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government, for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address or remonstrance. Sec. 24. That the sure and certain defence [i.e.defense] of a free people, is a well regulated Militia: And, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to freedom, they ought to be avoided, as far as the circumstances and safety of the community will admit; and that in all cases the military shall be Kept in strict subordination to the civil authority. Sec. 25. That no citizen of this State, except such as are employed in the Army of the United States, or Militia in actual service, shall be subjected to corporeal punishment under the martial law. Sec. 26. That the free white men of this State have a right to Keep and to bear arms for their common defence [i.e. defense]. Sec. 27. 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 prescribed by law. Sec. 28. That no citizen of this State shall be compelled to bear arms, provided he will pay an equivalent, to be ascertained by law. Sec. 29. That an equal participation of the free navigation of the Mississippi is one of the inherent rights of the citizens of this State: it cannot, therefore, be conceded to any prince, potentate, power, person or persons whatever. Sec. 30. That no hereditary emoluments, privileges, or honors, shall ever be granted or conferred in this State.
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