Page images



WHEREAS, The people of California have presented a constitution and asked admission into the Union, which constitution was submitted to Congress by the President of the United States, by message dated February thirteenth, eighteen hundred and fifty, and which, on due examination, is found to be republican in its form of government:

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the State of California shall be one, and is hereby declared to be one, of the United States of America, and admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States in all respects whatever.

2. The said State of California is admitted into the Union upon the express condition that the people of said State, through their Legislature or otherwise, shall never interfere with the primary disposal of the public lands within its limits, and shall pass no law and do no act whereby the title of the United States to, and right to dispose of, the same shall be impaired or questioned; and that they shall never lay any tax, or assessment of any description whatsoever, upon the public domain of the United States; and in no case shall non-resident proprietors, who are citizens of the United States, be taxed higher than residents ; and that all the navigable waters within the said State shall be common highways, and forever free, as well to the inhabitants of said State as to the citizens of the United States, without any tax, impost, or duty therefor; provided, that nothing herein contained shall be construed as recognizing or rejecting the propositions tendered by the people of California, as articles of compact in the ordinance adopted by the convention which formed the Constitution of that State.

3. All laws of the United States which are not locally inapplicable shall have the same force and effect within the said State of California as elsewhere within the United States.

Approved September 9, 1850.




Under and by authority of section 2 of article X, Constitution of 1849, the Legislature at its session of 1876 submitted to a vote of the people of the State the proposition of calling a convention to frame a new Constitution (Stats. of Cal. 1875-6, p. 791). This proposition was adopted by the people at the subsequent general State election, and in pursuance of such action the Legislature which followed passed an enabling act entitled "An Act to provide for a Convention to frame a new Constitution for the State of California," which act was approved March 30, 1878 (Stats. of Cal. 1877-8, p. 759). The act called for an election to be held on Wednesday, June 19, 1878, for the purpose of electing delegates to a Constitutional Convention, to be composed of one hundred and fifty-two delegates, thirty-two to be elected by the State at large, eight residents of each of the four Congressional Districts then existing, and the remaining one hundred and twenty, a number equivalent to the combined membership of the two branches of the State Legislature, were apportioned among the various counties by the act itself.

The convention thus constituted met in the Assembly Chamber of the State Capitol at Sacramento on Saturday, September 28, 1878.

The convention adjourned on Monday, March 3, 1879, and the Constitution thus framed was ratified by vote of the people on Wednesday, May 7, 1879.

PREAMBLE. We, the people of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure and perpetuate its blessings, do establish this Constitution. [Constitution of 1849] 4 Cal. 46.



Inalienable rights.

SECTION 1. All men are by nature free and independent, and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of enjoying and defending life and liberty ; acquiring, possessing, and pro


tecting property; and pursuing and obtaining safety and happi

[Constitution of 1849, Art. I, § 1]
60 Cal. 192; 60 Cal. 197; 62 Cal. 539; 65 Cal. 35; 98
Cal. 73; 112 Cal. 471 ; 125 Cal. 396; 128 Cal. 434; 133
Cal. 354, 377; 136 Cal. 125, 527 ; 144 Cal. 234 ; 147 Cal.
650, 763; 148 Cal. 126; 149 Cal. 79, 400; 150 Cal. 265 ;
154 Cal. 322; 157 Cal. 27 ; 158 Cal. 325; 162 Cal. 691,
693; 1 Cal. App. 699; 5 Cal. App. 759; 6 Cal. App. 236 ;

170 Cal. 341; 171 Cal. 531; 24 Cal. App. Dec. 253. Purpose of government.

SEC. 2. All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for the protection, security, and benefit of the people, and they have the right to alter or reform the same whenever the public good may require it. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, 82]

92 Cal. 316. United States Constitution supreme law.

SEC. 3. The State of California is an inseparable part of the American Union, and the Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land.

144 Cal. 79.

Liberty of conscience.

Sec. 4. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, sha:l forever be guaranteed in this State ; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness or juror on account of his opinions on matters of religious belief; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be so construed as to excuse acts of licentiousness, or justify practices inconsistent with the peace or safety of this State. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, § 4]

55 Cal. 552; 59 Cal. 6, 13, 20; 60 Cal. 177, 192, 195,

201, 204, 211; 71 Cal. 550; 77 Cal. 23. Suspension of habeas corpus.

SEC. 5. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended unless when, in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require its suspension. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, § 5]

126 Cal. 616; 133 Cal. 354.

Bail-Unusual punishment-Detention of witnesses.

SEC. 6. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed; nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted Witnesses shall not be unreasonably detained, nor confined in any room where criminals are actually imprisoned. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, $8 5, 6]

53 Cal. 411; 54 Cal. 77, 103; 57 Cal. 94; 59 Cal. 417, 675; 61 Cal. 58; 64 Cal. 266; 67 Cal. 257; 68 Cal, 262; 70 Cal. 2; 82 Cal. 183; 83 Cal. 389; 87 Cal. 160; 90 Cal. 617; 92 Cal. 189; 156 Cal. 737; 160 Cal. 383; 1 Cal. App. 199; 8 Cal. App. 469, 566; 11 Cal. App. 575; 18 Cal.

App. 4; 30 Cal. App. 547. Trial by jury.

SEC. 7. The right of trial by jury shall be se red to all, and remain inviolate; but in civil actions three fourths of the jury may render a verdict. A trial by jury may be waived in all criminal cases not amounting to felony, by the consent of both parties, expressed in open court, and in civil actions by the consent of the parties, signified in such manner as may be prescribed by law. In civil actions and cases of misdemeanor, the jury may consist of twelve, or of any number less than twelve upon which the parties may agree in open court. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, $ 3]

57 Cal. 232; 64 Cal. 266; 70 Cal. 448; 85 Cal. 642; 87 Cal. 354, 356; 88 Cal. 124; 96 Cal. 136; 97 Cal. 180; 100 Cal. 227; 104 Cal. 467; 106 Cal. 298; 114 Cal. 368 (disbarment-no right to jury trial) ; 122 Cal. 139 ; 125 Cal. 504; 127 Cal. 201, 202; 129 Cal. 552; 136 Cal. 530; 139 Cal. 589; 164 Cal. 177; 48 Cal. Dec. 79, 80, 81; 5 Cal. App. 623; 6 Cal. App. 770; 9 Cal. App. 250; 169 Cal. 167, 556 ; 170 Cal. 695; 53 Cal. Dec. 153.

Indictment-Information-Grand jury.

SEC. 8. Offenses heretofore required to be prosecuted by indictment shall be prosecuted by information, after examination and commitment by a magistrate, or by indictment, with or without such examination and commitment, as may be prescribed by law. A grand jury shall be drawn and summoned at least once a year in each county. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, portion of $ 8]

56 Cal. 229, 233, 638; 57 Cal. 565; 59 Cal. 229; 60 Cal. 104 ; 64 Cal. 178, 213; 65 Cal. 77, 108, 646; 66 Cal. 665; 67 Cal. 232; 68 Cal. 579; 69 Cal. 108, 546; 78 Cal. 568; 85 Cal. 88; 91 Cal. 645; 92 Cal. 271; 105 Cal. 508, 644; 108 Cal. 663; 109 Cal. 449, 622; 111 Cal. 612; 115 Cal. 53; 128 Cal. 96; 142 Cal. 598; 152 Cal. 73; 167 Cal. 317,

5 Cal. App. 465, 468; 9 Cal. App. 283, 543 ; 19 Cal. App. 551 ; 20 Cal. App. 589; 24 Cal. App. 181; 19 Cal. App. Dec. 182.


Liberty of speech and of the press.

SEC. 9. Every citizen 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 criminal prosecutions 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. Indictments found, or information laid, for publications in newspapers, shall be tried in the county where such newspapers have their publication office, or in the county where the party alleged to be libeled resided at the time of the alleged publication, unless the place of trial shall be changed for good cause. [Constitution of 1849, Art. I, § 9]

72 Cal. 466; 73 Cal. 123 ; 112 Cal. 97, 100; 122 Cal. 93; 139 Cal. 121 ; 157 Cal. 774 et seq. ; 167 Cal. 317; 1 Cal. App. 698; 25 Cal. App. 782.

Right to assemble and to petition.

SEC. 10. The people shall have the right to freely assemble together to consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives, and to petition the Legislature for redress of grievances. [Constitution of 1849, Art. 1, § 10]

129 Cal. 343; 23 Cal. App. Dec. 35.

« PreviousContinue »