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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.



Adopted by the Convention, October 10, 1849; ratified by the people

November 13, 1849; proclaimed December 20, 1849, and amended 1857, 1862, and 1871.


Purpose of the Constitution.

We, the people of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, in order to secure its blessings, do establish this constitution.

4 Cal. 46; 34 Cal. 452.



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 protecting property; and pursuing and obtaining safety and happiness.

4 Cal. 50; 7 Cal. 16; 9 Cal. 504; 16 Cal. 122; 18 Cal. 680; 22 Cal. 324; 23 Cal. 464; 31 Cal. 254; 32 Cal. 249; 33 Cal. 281; 34 Cal. 183; 36 Cal. 671; 38 Cal. 703; 48 Cal. 175; 72 Cal. 176.

Government for and by the people.

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.

22 Cal. 324; 30 Cal. 189; 69 Cal. 372.

Jury trial.

Sec. 3. The right of trial by jury shall be secured to all, and remain inviolate forever; but a jury trial may be waived by the parties, in all civil cases, in the manner to be prescribed by law.

5 Cal. 112; 16 Cal. 253; 19 Cal. 140, 596; 22 Cal. 316; 32 Cal. 42; 51 Cal. 280; 52 Cal. 407; 53 Cal. 48.

Freedom of religion.

SEC. 4. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed in this State; and no person shall be rendered incompetent to be a witness 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.

9 Cal. 504; 17 Cal. 612; 18 Cal. 680.

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.

11 Cal. 226.


SEC. 6. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed; nor shall cruel or unusual punishments be inflicted; nor shall witnesses be unreasonably detained.


Sec. 7. All persons shall be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses when the proof is evident or the presumption great.

19 Cal. 541; 41 Cal. 31.

Criminal trials-Rights of the accused.

Sec. 8. No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime (except in cases of impeachment and in cases of militia when in actual service, and the land and naval forces in time of war, or which this State may keep, with the consent of Congress, in time of peace, and in cases of petit larceny, under the regulation of the Legislature) unless on presentment or indictment of a grand jury; and, in any trial in any court whatever, the party accused shall be allowed to appear and defend, in person and with counsel, as in civil actions. No person shall be subject to be twice put in jeopardy for the same offense; nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself; nor be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.

3 Cal. 73; 7 Cal. 121 ; 12 Cal. 83; 13 Cal. 307; 14 Cal. 107; 16 Cal. 153; 17 Cal. 374; 18 Cal. 229, 251 ; 22 Cal. 316; 23 Cal. 326; 29 Cal: 256; 31 Cal. 368, 538; 32 Cal. 250; 33 Cal, 281; 39 Cal. 179; 40 Cal. 513; 41 Cal. 168, 256; 42 Cal. 168; 43 Cal. 79; 45 Cal. 640; 47 Cal. 515; 48 Cal. 334; 49 Cal. 239, 396; 50 Cal. 284, 503; 51 Cal. 86, 248, 269, 577; 53 Cal. 45, 212, 412; 59 Cal. 245; 66 Cal. 500; 69 Cal. 372; 109 Cal. 449, 622; 130 Cal. 495.

Freedom of speech-Libel suits.

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 on 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.

22 Cal. 316.

Freedom of assembling and petitioning.

Sec. 10. 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.

Laws to be uniform.

SEC. 11. All laws of a general nature shall have a uniform operation.

17 Cal. 552; 24 Cal. 544; 26 Cal. 255; 36 Cal. 671; 37 Cal, 375; 38 Cal. 703; 43 Cal. 432; 52 Cal. 601; 58 Cal. 61.

Military subordinate to civil power.

SEC. 12. The military shall be subordinate to the civil power. No standing army shall be kept up by this State in time of peace; and, in time of war, no appropriation for a standing army shall be for a longer time than two years.

27 Cal. 177.

Soldiers not to be quartered in any house, except

SEC. 13. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner; nor in time of war, except in the manner to be prescribed by law.

Representation according to population.

SEC. 14. Representation shall be apportioned according to population.

Imprisonment for debt and for militia fines forbidden.

SEC. 15. No person shall be imprisoned for debt in any civil action, on mesne or final process, unless in cases of fraud; and no person shall be imprisoned for a militia fine in time of peace.

1 Cal. 440; 6 Cal. 240; 18 Cal. 64; 53 Cal. 207.

Bills of attainder-Ex post facto laws-Obligation of contracts.

Sec. 16. No bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed.

2 Cal. 525; 15 Cal. 516; 18 Cal. 630; 19 Cal. 172; 22 Cal. 316; 30 Cal. 142; 34 Cal. 284; 39 Cal. 670; 42 Cal. 541; 43 Cal. 534; 45 Cal. 429; 47 Cal. 42.

Rights of foreigners.

Sec. 17. Foreigners who are or who may hereafter become bona fide residents of this State shall enjoy the same rights in respect to the possession, enjoyment and inheritance of property as native born citizens.

6 Cal. 253; 12 Cal. 450; 13 Cal. 165; 18 Cal. 217; 30 Cal. 189; '36 Cal. 675; 65 Cal. 595.

Slavery prohibited.

Sec. 18. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, unless for the punishment of crime, shall ever be tolerated in this State.

General warrants.

SEC. 19. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable seizures and searches, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but on probable cause, supported by ath or affirmation, particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons and things to be seized.

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