Constitution of Missouri

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The Missouri Constitution is the state constitution of the U.S. State of Missouri. It is the supreme law formulating the law and government of Missouri, subject only to the federal Constitution, and the people. The fourth and current Missouri Constitution was adopted in 1945. It provides for three branches of government: legislative (the Missouri General Assembly), executive (the Governor of Missouri), and judicial (the Supreme Court of Missouri). It also sets up local governments in the form of counties and cities.


The first constitution was written in 1820 in only 38 days.[1] The Missouri Constitutional Convention (1861-63) was elected to decide on secession, and made no changes to the constitution.

In 1865, after the American Civil War, and again in 1875, after reconstruction, new constitutional conventions composed Missouri's second and third constitutions.[1] In the early 1900s, the Constitution of 1875 was amended to allow constitutional amendment by the initiative process.[1]

In the early 20th century, Missouri was dominated by corrupt political "bosses", such as Tom Pendergast of Kansas City. In reaction to this, reformers used the initiative to call for a constitutional convention, and the initiative was passed by the voters in 1942. The voters ratified the new constitution in 1945.[1] Voters rejected calls for a constitutional convention in 1962 and 1982, and the Constitution of 1945 remains Missouri's current constitution.[1] Since 1945, there have been more than 60 amendments to the Constitution.[1] In recent years, some of these have been both controversial and high-profile, such as legalizing commercial gambling in 1993, Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 (2006) (allowing the production of human embryos for stem cell research), Missouri Constitutional Amendment 2 (2004) (an amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage), and an English-only amendment in 2008.


Articles of the Constitution

The remainder of the constitution consists of thirteen articles.

Article I: Bill of Rights

Article I enumerates the rights of all citizens of the State of Missouri. These include that all political power is vested in and derived from the people, to alter and abolish their constitution and form of government whenever they may deem it necessary to their safety and happiness, the inherent rights “all persons have a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry,” the definition of treason, the right to trial by jury, that marriage in the State of Missouri is defined as being between a man and a woman.

Remaining Articles

  • Article II - The Distribution of Powers
  • Article III - Legislative Department
  • Article IV - Executive Department
  • Article V - Judicial Department
  • Article VI - Local Government
  • Article VII - Public Officers
  • Article VIII - Suffrage and Elections
  • Article IX - Education
  • Article X - Taxation
  • Article XI - Corporations
  • Article XII - Amending the Constitution
  • Article XIII - Public Employees

See also

External links


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