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Objects of gov ernment; right of people to institute and change it.

Right of people

to secure rotation in office.

All, having the qualifications prescribed, equally eligible to office.

For the defini

tion of inhabit. ant," see Ch. 1,

Sect. 2, Art. II. Right of protection and duty of contribution


7 Met. 388.

4 Gray, 474.

7 Gray, 363. 14 Gray, 154. 1 Allen, 150.

4 Allen, 474.

born a magistrate, lawgiver, or judge, is absurd and

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for the profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men: Therefore the people alone have an incontestible, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.

VIII. In order to prevent those who are vested with authority from becoming oppressors, the people have a right, at such periods and in such manner as they shall establish by their frame of government, to cause their public officers to return to private life; and to fill up vacant places by certain and regular elections and appoint


IX. All elections ought to be free; and all the inhabitants of this commonwealth, having such qualifications as they shall establish by their frame of government, have an equal right to elect officers, and to be elected, for public employments.

122 Mass. 595, 596.

X. Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, con

Taxation found sequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this

ed on consent.

16 Mass. 326.

1 Pick. 418.

protection; to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary: but no part of the property of any indi

7 Pick. 344.

12 Pick. 184, 467. vidual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to

16 87.

23 Pick. 360.

public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent. And whenever the pubtaken for public lic exigencies require that the property of any individual

Private prop erty not to be

uses without,


6 Cush. 327. 14 Gray, 155. 16 Gray, 417, 431.

should be appropriated to public uses, he shall receive a reasonable compensation therefor.

1 Allen, 150. 11 Allen, 530.

12 Allen, 223, 230. 100 Mass. 544, 510.

103 Mass. 120, 624.
106 Mass. 356, 362.
108 Mass. 202, 213.
111 Mass. 130.

113 Mass. 45.
116 Mass. 463.
126 Mass. 428, 441.

127 Mass. 50, 52,

358, 363, 410, 413. 129 Mass. 559.

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Remedies, by recourse to the

XI. Every subject of the commonwealth ought to find

law, to be free, a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all

complete and prompt.

injuries or wrongs which he may receive in his person, property, or character. He ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it;

completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws.


10 Pick. 9.

2 Met. 329.

12 Cush. 246.

1 Gray, 1.

5 Gray, 160.

XII. No subject shall be held to answer for any crimes Prosecutions or offence, until the same is fully and plainly, substantially, 8 Pick. 211. and formally, described to him; or be compelled to accuse, 18 Pick. 434. or furnish evidence against himself. And every subject 21 Pick, 542. shall have a right to produce all proofs that may be favorable to him; to meet the witnesses against him face to face, and to be fully heard in his defence by himself, 10 Gray, 11. or his counsel, at his election. And no subject shall be 11 Gray, 438. arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, or deprived of his prop- 210,264,439, erty, immunities, or privileges, put out of the protection 473. of the law, exiled, or deprived of his life, liberty, or 97 Mass. 570, estate, but by the judgment of his peers, or the law of 100 Mass. 287, the land.

8 329.

2 Allen, 361. 11 Allen,

12 Allen, 170.


103 Mass. 418.

107 Mass. 172, 180. 108 Mass. 5, 6.

118 Mass. 443, 451. 122 Mass. 332.
120 Mass. 118, 120. 124 Mass. 464.

127 Mass. 550, 554.
129 Mass. 559.

Right to trial by

jury in

And the legislature shall not make any law that shall subject any person to a capital or infamous punishment, cases, except, excepting for the government of the army and navy, with- 8 Gray, 329, 373. out trial by jury.


103 Mass. 418.

proved in the

XIII. In criminal prosecutions, the verification of facts, Crimes to be in the vicinity where they happen, is one of the great- vicinity. est securities of the life, liberty, and property of the 121 Mass. 61, 62 citizen.

Pick. 550.

and seizure

Const. of U. S.,

Cush. 369.

10 Allen, 403.

XIV. Every subject has a right to be secure from all Right of search unreasonable searches, and seizures, of his person, his regulated. houses, his papers, and all his possessions. All warrants, Amend' IV. therefore, are contrary to this right, if the cause or founda- 2 Met. 329, tion of them be not previously supported by oath or affirmation, and if the order in the warrant to a civil officer, to make search in suspected places, or to arrest one or more 139. suspected persons, or to seize their property, be not accom- 273. panied with a special designation of the persons or objects of search, arrest, or seizure: and no warrant ought to be issued but in cases, and with the formalities prescribed by the laws.

100 Mass. 136,

126 Mass. 269,

114 Mass. 388, 390.
120 Mass. 320, 321.

122 Mass. 505, 516.
123 Mass. 590, 593.

jury sacred, exConst. of U. S.,

XV. In all controversies concerning property, and in Right to trial by all suits between two or more persons, except in cases in cept, etc. which it has heretofore been otherways used and practised, Amend 't VII. the parties have a right to a trial by jury; and this method 2 Pick. 382. of procedure shall be held sacred, unless, in causes arising 5 Gray, 114. on the high seas, and such as relate to mariners' wages, 11 Allen, 574, the legislature shall hereafter find it necessary to alter it. 102 Mass. 45,.

7 Pick. 366.

8 373.




Gray, 1,

13 454.

125 Mass. 182, 188.
128 Mass. 600.

Liberty of the press.

Right to keep and bear arms.

Standing armies itary power sub

dangerous. Mil

ordinate to civil. 5 Gray, 121.

XVII. The people have a right to keep and to bear arms for the common defence. And as, in time of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be maintained without the consent of the legislature; and the military power shall always be held in an exact subordination to the civil authority, and be governed by it.

XVIII. A frequent recurrence to the fundamental principles of the constitution, and a constant adherence to those of piety, justice, moderation, temperance, industry, and frugality, are absolutely necessary to preserve the advantages of liberty, and to maintain a free government. The people ought, consequently, to have a particular attention to all those principles, in the choice of their officers and representatives: and they have a right to require of ers and magis. their lawgivers and magistrates an exact and constant

Moral obliga


observance of them, in the formation and execution of the laws necessary for the good administration of the common

Moral qualifications for office.

XVI. The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom in a state: it ought not, therefore, to be restrained in this commonwealth.


Right of people to instruct rep

XIX. The people have a right, in an orderly and peaceresentatives and able manner, to assemble to consult upon the common

petition legisla


good; give instructions to their representatives, and to request of the legislative body, by the way of addresses, petitions, or remonstrances, redress of the wrongs done them, and of the grievances they suffer.

Power to suspend the laws or

XX. The power of suspending the laws, or the executheir execution. tion of the laws, ought never to be exercised but by the

legislature, or by authority derived from it, to be exercised in such particular cases only as the legislature shall expressly provide for.

Freedom of debate, etc., and

XXI. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, reason thereof. in either house of the legislature, is so essential to the rights of the people, that it cannot be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.

XXII. The legislature ought frequently to assemble for the redress of grievances, for correcting, strengthening, and confirming the laws, and for making new laws, as the common good may require.

Frequent sessions, and ob. jects thereof.

Taxation founded on consent.

8 Allen, 247.

XXIII. No subsidy, charge, tax, impost, or duties ought to be established, fixed, laid, or levied, under any pretext whatsoever, without the consent of the people or their representatives in the legislature.

XXIV. Laws made to punish for actions done before Ex post facto the existence of such laws, and which have not been de- 12 Allen, 421, laws prohibited. clared crimes by preceding laws, are unjust, oppressive, 424, 428, 434. and inconsistent with the fundamental principles of a free government.

XXV. No subject ought, in any case, or in any time, Legislature not to be declared guilty of treason or felony by the legisla- treason, etc.

to convict of


fines, and cruel

XXVI. No magistrate or court of law shall demand Excessive bail or excessive bail or sureties, impose excessive fines, or inflict punishments, cruel or unusual punishments.

prohibited. 5 Gray, 482.


XXVII. In time of peace, no soldier ought to be quar- No soldier to be tered in any house without the consent of the owner; and quartered in any in time of war, such quarters ought not to be made but etc. by the civil magistrate, in a manner ordained by the legislature.

XXVIII. No person can in any case be subject to lawmartial, or to any penalties or pains, by virtue of that law, except those employed in the army or navy, and except the militia in actual service, but by authority of the legislature.

Citizens exempt

from law-mar

tial, unless, etc.


3 Pick. 471.

7 Allen, 385.

221, 225.

XXIX. It is essential to the preservation of the rights Judges of suof every individual, his life, liberty, property, and charac- preme judicial ter, that there be an impartial interpretation of the laws, i Gray, 472. and administration of justice. It is the right of every 4 Allen, 591. citizen to be tried by judges as free, impartial, and inde- 105 Mass. 219, pendent as the lot of humanity will admit. It is, therefore, Tenure of their not only the best policy, but for the security of the rights of the people, and of every citizen, that the judges of the supreme judicial court should hold their offices as long as they behave themselves well; and that they should have honorable salaries ascertained and established by standing Salaries. laws.


and legis.


XXX. In the government of this commonwealth, the Separation of legislative department shall never exercise the executive executive, Judiand judicial powers, or either of them: the executive shall lative depart never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either 2 Cush. 577. of them the judicial shall never exercise the legislative & Allen, 247, 253. and executive powers, or either of them: to the end it 286. may be a government of laws and not of men.

2 Allen, 361.


100 Mass. 282,

114 Mass. 247, 249.

116 Mass. 317.

129 Mass. 559.

Title of body politic.

Legislative department.

For change of time, etc., see amendments, Art. X.

Governor's veto. 99 Mass. 636.

Bill may be passed by twothirds of each house, notwithstanding.

The Frame of Government.

The people, inhabiting the territory formerly called the Province of Massachusetts Bay, do hereby solemnly and mutually agree with each other, to form themselves into a free, sovereign, and independent body politic, or state, by the name of THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS.




The General Court.

ARTICLE I. The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives; each of which shall have a negative on the other.

The legislative body shall assemble every year [on the last Wednesday in May, and at such other times as they shall judge necessary; and shall dissolve and be dissolved on the day next preceding the said last Wednesday in May;] and shall be styled, THE GENERAL COURT OF MASSACHUSETTS.

II. No bill or resolve of the senate or house of representatives shall become a law, and have force as such, until it shali have been laid before the governor for his revisal; and if he, upon such revision, approve thereof, he shall signify his approbation by signing the same. But if he have any objection to the passing of such bill or resolve, he shall return the same, together with his objections thereto, in writing, to the senate or house of representatives, in whichsoever the same shall have originated; who shall enter the objections sent down by the governor, at large, on their records, and proceed to reconsider the said bill or resolve. But if after such reconsideration, two-thirds of the said senate or house of representatives, shall, notwithstanding the said objections, agree to pass the same, it shall, together with the objections, be sent to the other branch of the legislature, where it shall also be reconsidered, and if approved by two-thirds of the members present, shall have the force of a law: but in all such cases,

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