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CONSTITUTION OF 1857
In the name of God and by the authority of the Mexican people.
The representatives of the different States, of the District and of the Territories which compose the Republic of Mexico, called upon by the provisions of the Plan proclaimed in Ayutla the first of March, eighteen hundred and fifty-four, amended in Acapulco the eleventh day of the same month and year, and by the call issued the seventeenth of October, eighteen hundred and fifty-five, to convene for the purpose of framing a constitution for the nation and making it a popular representative, democratic republic, exercising the powers with which they are vested, do hereby comply with the requirements of their high office, by decreeing the following political Constitution of the Mexican Republic, on the indestructible basis of its legitimate independence, proclaimed the sixteenth of September, eighteen hundred and ten, and consummated the twenty-seventh of September, eighteen hundred and twenty-one.
Article 1. The Mexican people recognize that the rights of man are the basis and the object of social institutions. Consequently they declare that all the laws and all the authorities of the country must respect and maintain the guarantees which the present constitution grants.
Art. 2. In the Republic all are born free. Slaves who set foot upon the national territory shall recover, by this act alone, their freedom, and enjoy the protection of the law.
Art. 3. Instruction is free. The law shall determine what professions shall require licenses for their exercise, and what requisites are necessary to obtain said licenses.
Art. 4. Every one is free to engage in any honorable and useful profession, industrial pursuit, or occupation suitable to him, and to avail himself of its products. The exercise of this liberty shall not be hindered except by judicial sentence when such exercise infringes the rights of a third party, or by executive order, issued in the manner specified by law, when it offends the rights of society.
Art. 5. No one shall be compelled to render personal services without due compensation and without bis full consent, excepting labor imposed as a penalty by judicial decree.
Subject to the conditions set forth in the respective laws, only military service shall be obligatory; and municipal service, service in connection with elections, and jury service shall be obligatory and without compensation.
The State shall not permit any contract, covenant, or agreement to be carried out having for its object the abridgment, loss or irrevocable sacrifice of the liberty of man, whether by reason of labor, education or religious vows. The law, therefore, does not recognize, nor consent to the establishment of, monastic orders, of whatever denomination or for whatever purpose contenplated. Nor shall any person legally agree to his own proscription or exile. [As amended June 10, 1898.]
i Reprinted from the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.
Art. 6. The expression of ideas shall not be the subject of any judicial or executive investigation, unless it offend good morals, impair the rights of thiri parties, incite to crime or cause a breach of the peace.
Art. 7. Freedom of writing and publishing writings on any subject is inviolable. No law or authority shall have the right to establish censorship, require bond from authors or printers, nor restrict the liberty of the press, which shall be limited only by the respect due to private life, morals, ani public peace. Cases of offenses committed through the public press shall be tried by the competent courts of the Union, the States, the Federal District or the Territory of Lower California, according to penal law. [As amended May 15, 1883.)
Art. 8. The right of petition, exercised in writing in a peaceful and respectful manner, is inviolable; but in political matters only citizens of the Republic may exercise it. To every petition an answer shall be given in writing, in the form of a decision, by the official to whom it may hare been addressed, and the said official shall be bound to make the petitioner acquainted with the result.
Art. 9. No one shall be deprived of the right peaceably to assemble or to come together for any lawful purpose; but only citizens shall be permitted to exercise this right for the purpose of taking part in the political affairs of the country. No armed assembly shall have the right to deliberate.
Art. 10. Every one has the right to possess and carry arms for his safety and legitimate defense. The law shall designate what arms are prohibited, and the punishment to be incurred by those who carry them.
Art. 11. Every one has the right to enter and leave the Republic, to travel through its territory and change his residence without necessity of a letter of security, passport, safe conduct or any other similar requirement. The exercise of this right shall be subordinated to the powers of the judiciary, in the event of civil or criminal responsibility, and to those of the executire, in so far as relates to the limitations imposed by law in regard to emigration, immigration, and the public health of the country. [As amended November 12, 1908.]
Art. 12. No titles of nobility, or prerogatives, or hereditary honors exist in the Republic nor shall they be recognized therein. Only the people, legally represented, may decree recompenses in honor of those who have rendered or may render eminent services to the country or to humanity.
Art. 13. In the Mexican Republic no one shall be tried according to private laws or by special tribunals. No person or corporation shall have privileges nor enjoy emoluments which are not in compensation for a publie service and established by law. Military jurisdiction shall be recognized only for the trial of criminal cases having direct connection with military disci. pline. The law shall clearly define the cases included in this exception.
Art. 14. No retroactive law shall be enacted. No person shall be tried or sentenced except under laws previously enacted, exactly applicable to the case, and by a tribunal previously established by law.
Art. 15. No treaty shall ever be made for the extradition of political offenders, or of offenders of the common class, who have been slaves in the country where the offense was committed; nor shall any agreement or treaty be entered into which abridges or modifies the guarantees and rights which this constitution grants to the individual and to the citizen.
Art. 16. No one shall be molested in his person, family, domicile, papers
possessions, except by virtue of an order in writing of the competent au. thority, setting forth the legal grounds upon which the measure is taken. In cases in flagrante delicto any person may apprehend the offender and his accomplices, placing them without delay at the disposal of the nearest authorities.
Art. 17. No one shall be imprisoned for debts of a purely civil character. No one shall resort to violence in the enforcement of his rights. The tribunals shall always be open for the administration of justice, which shall be gratuitous, judicial costs being consequently abolished.
Art. 18. Imprisonment shall take place only for crimes deserving corporal punishment. In any stage of the case in which it shall appear that such a punishment can not be imposed upon the accused, he shall be set at liberty on bail. In no case shall the imprisonment or detention be prolonged for failure to pay fees, or any other pecuniary charge.
Art. 19. No detention shall exceed three days, unless justified by a warrant, issued in accordance with law, and giving the grounds for the imprisonment. The mere lapse of this time shall render the authority that orders or consents to it and the agents, ministers, wardens, or jailers who execute it, responsible therefor. Any maltreatment during apprehension or confinement; any molestation inflicted without legal justification; or any exaction or contribution levied in prison, is an abuse which the laws must correct and the authorities severely punish.
Art. 20. In every criminal trial the accused shall enjoy the following guarantees :
I. The grounds of the proceedings and the name of the accuser, if there be such, shall be made known to him.
II. His preliminary examination shall be made within forty-eight hours, to be counted from the time he is placed at the disposition of the judge.
III. He shall be confronted with the witnesses who testify against him.
IV. He shall be furnished with all information of record, which he may need for his defense.
V. He shall be heard in his defense, either personally or by counsel, or by both, as he may desire. In case he shall have no one to defend him, a list of public counsel shall be shown to him, in order that he may choose one or more to act as his counsel.
Art. 21. The imposition of penalties properly so called pertains exclusively to the judiciary. The political or executive authorities shall only have power to impose fines and imprisonment, as disciplinary measures, the former of no more than five hundred dollars, and the latter for no more than one month, in the cases and in the manner which the law shall expressly determine.
Art. 22. Punishments by mutilation and infamy, by branding, flogging, beating with sticks, torture of whatever kind, excessive fines, confiscation of property, or any other penalties, unusual or working corruption of the blood, shall be forever prohibited.
Art. 23. Capital punishment is abolished for political offenses; in the case of offenses other than political it shall only be imposed for high treason committed during a foreign war, parricide, murder with malice aforethought, arson, highway robbery, piracy, and grave military offenses. [As amended May 14, 1901.]
Art. 24. No criminal case shall have more than three instances. No person, whether acquitted or convicted, shall be tried again for the same offense. The practice of discharging in one instance is abolished.
Art. 25. Sealed correspondence sent through the mails shall be free from search. The violation of this guarantee is an offense which the law will pun. ish severely.
Art. 26. In time of peace no soldier may demand quarters, supplies, or other real or personal service, without the consent of the owner. In time of war he may do so, but only in the manner prescribed by law.
Art. 27. Private property shall not be taken without the consent of the owner, except for reasons of public utility, idemnification having been made. The law shall determine the authority to make the expropriation and the conditions on which it shall be carried out.
No religious corporations and institutions of whatever character, denomina. tion, duration or object, nor civil corporations, when under the patronage, direction or administration of the former, or of ministers of any creed sball har: legal capacity to acquire title to, or administer, real property, other than the buildings immediately and directly destined to the services or purposes of the said corporations and institutions. Nor shall they have legal capacity to acquire or administer loans made on such real property.
Civil corporations and institutions not comprised within the above provision. may acquire and administer, in addition to the buildings mentioned, real property and loans made on such real property acquired for their maintenance and purposes, subject to the requisites and limitations to be established by the Federal law to be enacted by the Congress on the subject. [As amended May 14, 1901.]
Art. 28. There shall be no private nor governmental monopolies of any kind whatsoever, nor any prohibitions, even under cover of protection to industry, excepting only those relating to the coinage of money, the postal service, and the privileges which, for a limited time, the law may concede to inventors or improvers of inventions.
Art. 29. In cases of invasion, grave disturbance of the public peace, or any other emergency which may place society in grave danger, the President of the Republic, and no one else, shall have the power to suspend, with the advice of the council of ministers and with the approval of the Congress, and, in the recess thereof, of the Permanent Committee, the guarantees granted by this Constitution excepting those ensuring the life of man; but such sus. pension shall in no case be confined in its effects to a particular individual, but shall be made by means of a general decree, and only for a limited time.
If the suspension occur while the Congress is in session, this body shall grant such powers as in its judgment the executive may need to meet the situation; if the suspension occur while the Congress is in recess, the Permanent Committee shall forthwith convoke the Congress for the granting of such powers.
Of Mexicans Art. 30. Mexicans are: I. All persons born, within or without the Republic, of Mexican parents. II. Aliens naturalized in conformity with the laws of the Federation.
III. Aliens who acquire real estate in the Republic, or have Mexican children, if they do not declare their intention to retain their nationality.
Art. 31. It shall be the duty of every Mexican:
1. To defend the independence, the territory, the honor, the rights and interests of his country.
II. To serve in the army or the national guard pursuant to the respective organic laws. [As amended June 10, 1898.]
III. To contribute in the proportional and equitable manner provided by law, toward the public expenses of the Federation, the State and the municipality in which he resides.
Art. 32. Mexicans shall be preferred under equal circumstances to foreigners for all public employment, offices, or commissions, when citizenship is not indispensable. Laws shall be enacted to improve the condition of industrious Mexicans, by rewarding those who distinguish themselves in any science or art, to foster labor, and to found colleges and manual training schools.
Of Aliens Art. 33. Aliens are those who do not possess the qualifications prescribed by Article 30. They shall be entitled to the guarantees granted by Section I, Title I, of the present Constitution, except that in all cases the Government has the right to expel undesirable foreigners. They are under obligation to contribute to the public expenses as the law may provide, and to obey and