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[For amendments see notes.]

In Convention, begun at the city of Detroit, on the second Monday of May, in the year one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five:1

We, the people of the territory of Michigan, as established by the act of Congress on the eleventh day of January, in the year one thousand eight hundred and five, in conformity to the fifth article of the ordinance providing for the government of the territory of the United States northwest of the river Ohio, believing that the time has arrived when our present political condition ought to cease, and the right of self-government be asserted; and availing ourselves of that provision of the afore. said ordinance of the Congress of the United States, of the thirteenth day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and the acts of Congress passed in accordance therewith, which entitles us to admission into the Union, upon a condition which has been fulfilled, do, by our delegates in Convention assembled, mutually agree to form ourselves into a free and independent State, by the style and title of “The State of Michigan,” and do ordain and establish the following Constitution for the government of the same:


1. All political power is inherent in the people.

2. Government is instituted for the protection, security and benefit of the people; and they have the right at all times to alter or reform the same, and to abolish one form of government and establish another, whenever the public good requires it.

3. No man or set of men are entitled to exclusive or separate privileges.

4. Every person has a right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of his own conscience; and no person can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support, against his will, any place of religious worship, or pay any tithes, taxes or other rates, for the support of any minister of the gospel or teacher of religion.

5. No money shall be drawn from the treasury for the benefit of religious societies, or theological or religious seminaries. 6. The civil and religious rights, privileges and capacities of no in

1 The population of the territory of Michigan rapidly increased after 1830, and amounted, in 1834, to 87 ,273 free inhabitants within the original limits prescribed for the territory. The legislative council passed an act, approved January 26, 1835, to enable the people of Michigan to form a Constitution and State government. The Constitution framed pursuant to the provisions of that act, with some amendments, continued in force until January 1, 1851.

dividual shall be diminished or enlarged, on account of his opinions or belief concerning matters of religion.

7. Every person may freely speak, write and publish his sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right; and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press. In all prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence to the jury, and if it shall appear to the jury that the matter charged as libelous is true, and was published with good motives and for justifiable ends, the party shall be acquitted; and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the fact..

8. The person, houses, papers and possessions of every individual shall be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures; and no warrant to search any place, or to seize any person or things, shall issue without describing them, nor without probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation.

9. The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate. 10. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the vicinage; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor; to have the assistance of counsel for his defense; and in all civil cases, in which personal liberty may be involved, the trial by jury shall not be refused.

11. No person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense, unless on the presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases of impeachment, or in cases cognizable by justices of the peace, or arising in the army or militia when in actual service in time of war or public danger.

12. No person, for the same offense, shall be twice put in jeopardy of punishment. All persons shall, before conviction, be bailable by sufficient sureties, except for capital offenses, 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.

13. Every person has a right to bear arms for the defense of himself and the State.

14. The military shall, in all cases and at all times, be in strict subordination to the civil power.

15. 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.

16.' Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, or adhering to its enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

17. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall be passed.

18. Excessive bail shall not be required; excessive fines shall not be imposed; and cruel and unjust punishment shall not be inflicted.

19. The property of no person shall be taken for public use, without just compensation therefor.

20. The people shall have the right freely to assemble together, to

consult for the common good, to instruct their Representatives, and to petition the Legislature for redress of grievances.

21. All acts of the Legislature, contrary to this or any other article of this Constitution, shall be void.





In all elections, every white male citizen above the age of twentyone years, having resided in the State six months next preceding any election, shall be entitled to vote at such election; and every white male inhabitant of the age aforesaid, who may be a resident of this State at the time of the signing of this Constitution, shall have the right of voting as aforesaid; but no such citizen or inhabitant shall be entitled to vote except in the district, county or township in which he shall actually reside at the time of such election.1

All votes shall be given by ballot, except for such township officers as may, by law, be directed to be otherwise chosen. 3.

Electors shall, in all cases, except treason, felony, or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at elections, and in going to and returning from the same.

4. No elector shall be obliged to do military duty on the days of election, except in time of war or public danger.

5. No person shall be deemed to have lost his residence in this State, by reason of his absence on business of the United States, or of this State.

6. No soldier, seaman or marine, in the army or navy of the United States, shall be deemed a resident of this State, in consequence of being stationed in any military or naval place within the same.



1. The powers of the government shall be divided into three distinct departments: the legislative, the executive and the judicial; and one department shall never exercise the powers of another, except in such cases as are expressly provided for in this Constitution.



1. The legislative power shall be vested in a Senate and House of Representatives.

2. The number of members of the House of Representatives shall never be less than forty-eight, nor more than one hundred; and the Sen

1 The following amendment to the Constitution was proposed by the Legislature of 1838, referred to the Legislature of 1839, agreed to in 1839 by two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, submitted to the people and approved and ratified at an election held in November, 1839:

That so much of the first section of the second article of the Constitution, as prescribes the place in which an elector may vote, and which is in these words, to wit: “district, county or township,” be abolished, and that the following be substituted in place thereof, to wit: "township or ward."

ate shall, at all times, equal in number one-third of the House of Repre. sentatives, as near as may be.

3. The Legislature shall provide by law for an enumeration of the inhabitants of this State in the years eighteen hundred and thirty-seven, and eighteen hundred and forty-five, and every ten years after the said last mentioned time; and at their first session after each enumeration so made as aforesaid, and also after each enumeration made by the authority of the United States, the Legislature shall apportion anew the Representatives and Senators among the several counties and districts according to the number of white inhabitants.

4. The Representatives shall be chosen annually on the first Monday! of November, and on the following day, by the electors of the several counties or districts into which the State shall be divided for that pur. pose. Each organized county shall be entitled to at least one Representative; but no county hereafter organized shall be entitled to a separate Representative, until it shall have attained a population equal to the ratio of representation hereafter established.

5. The Senators shall be chosen for two years, at the same time and in the same manner as the Representatives are required to be chosen. At the first session of the Legislature under this Constitution, they shall be divided by lot from their respective districts, as near as may be, into two equal classes; the seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated åt the expiration of the first year, and of the second class at the expiration of the second year, so that one-half thereof, as nearly as may be, shall be chosen annually thereafter.

6. The State shall be divided, at each new apportionment, into a number of not less than four, nor more than eight senatorial districts, to be always composed of contiguous territory, so that each district shall elect an equal number of Senators annually, as nearly as may be; and no county shall be divided in the formation of such districts.

7. Senators and Representatives shall be citizens of the United States, and be qualified electors in the respective counties and districts which they represent; and a removal from their respective counties or districts shall be deemed a vacation of their seats.

8. No person holding any office under the United States, or of this State, officers of the militia, justices of the peace, associate judges of the circuit and county courts, and postmasters excepted, shall be eligible to. either House of the Legislature.

9. Senators and Representatives shall, in all cases except treason, felony or breach of the peace, be privileged from arrest, nor shall they be subject to any civil process, during the session of the Legislature, nor for fifteen days next before the commencement and after the termination of each session.

10. A majority of each House shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a similar number may adjourn from day to day, and may compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide. Each House shall elect its own officers.

1 The following amendment was proposed in 1843, referred to the next Legislature, agreed to in 1844 by two-thirds of all the members elected to each House, submitted to the people, and ratified and approved at the election in November, 1844:

Strike out of section four of article four, the words “on the first Monday in November and the following day,” and insert the words “on the first Tuesday," so that said section will read:

The Representatives shall be chosen annually on the first Tuesday of November, by the electors of the several counties or districts into which the State shall be divided for that purpose.


Each House shall determine the rules of its proceedings, and judge of the qualifications, elections and returns of its own members; and may, with the concurrence of two-thirds of all the members elected, expel a member; but no member shall be expelled a second time for the same cause, nor for any cause known to his constituents antecedent to his election.

12. Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and publish the same, except such parts as may require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the request of one-fifth of the members present, be entered on the journal. Any member of either House shall have the liberty to dissent from, and protest against, any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public or an individual, and have the reason of his dissent entered on the journal.

13. In all elections by either or both Houses, the vote shall be given viva voce; and all votes on nominations made to the Senate shall be taken by yeas and nays, and published with the journal of its proceedings.

14. The doors of each House shall be open, except when the public welfare shall require secrecy. Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that where the Legislature may then be in session.

15. Any bill may originate in either House of the Legislature.

16. Every bill passed by the Legislature shall, before it becomes a law, be presented to the Governor; if he approve, he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it with his objections, to that House in which it originated, who shall enter the objections at large upon their journal and proceed to reconsider it. If, after such reconsideration, two-thirds of all the members present agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, with the objections, to the other House, by whom it shall likewise be reconsidered; and if approved also by two-thirds of all the members present in that House, it shall become a law; but in such cases, the vote of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the members voting for or against the bill shall be entered on the journals of each House respectively; and if any bill be not returned by the Gov. ernor within ten days, Sundays excepted, after it has been presented to him, the same shall become a law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Legislature by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not become a law.

17. Every resolution to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary, except in cases of adjournment, shall be presented to the Governor, and before the same shall take effect, shall be proceeded upon in the same manner as in the case of a bill.1

1 The following amendment was proposed in 1842, and referred to the next Legislature, submitted to the people by a joint resolution, approved March 9, 1843, and approved and ratified at the election in November, 1843:

That the Constitution of this State be so amended, that every law authorizing the borrowing of money or the issuing of State stocks, whereby a debt shall be created on the credit of the State, shall specify the object for which the money shall be appropriated; and that every such law shall embrace no more than one such object, which shall be simply and specifically stated, and that no such law shall take effect until it shall be submitted to the people at the next general election, and be approved by a majority of votes cast for and against it at such election; and all money to be raised by the authority of such law be applied to the specific object stated in such law, and to no other purpose, except the payment of such debt thereby created. This provision shall not extend to or apply to any law to raise money for defraying the actual expenses of the Legislature, the judicial and State officers, for suppressing insurrection, repelling invasion, or defending the State in time of war.

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