Constitution of 1876

Texas Democrats gained control of Congress in 1873 and decided it was time to draft a new constitution for Texas. The Texas Constitutional Convention of 1875 met in Austin with the purpose of replacing the Constitution of 1869- it was believed that the new constitution should restrict the state government and hand the power back to the people. Some examples of how the government was restricted were[1]:

  • Legislative sessions moved from annual to biennial sessions
  • Creation of a plural executive
  • Mandated a balanced budget
  • State Judges would be elected by the people
  • The people would vote on the ratification of amendments

The structure of the current constitution of Texas (Constitution of 1876) is a Preamble, 17 Articles, and 491 Amendments (Since 2015)[2]. The Texas Constitution does not contain a “necessary and proper clause” like the U.S. Constitution, therefore making it the second longest state constitution in America (2nd only to Alabama’s).

  • Article 1: Bill of Rights
    • Similar civil liberties and civil rights as in the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights
  • Article 2: The Powers of the Government
    • Establishes three branches of government with separation of powers
  • Article 3: Legislative Department
    • Specifics about the Texas Legislator
  • Article 4: Executive Department
    • Specifics about the plural executive
  • Article 5: Judicial Department
    • Specifics about the Texas Judicial system
  • Article 6: Suffrage
    • Forbids the following from voting:
      • any non US citizen
      • any non-registered Texas voter
      • any convicted felon who has not completed their sentence
      • any person deemed mentally incompetent by the courts
  • Article 7: Education
    • Mandates an “efficient” free public school system
    • Established the Permanent School Fund
  • Article 8: Taxation and Revenue
    • Places limits on the raising and spending of public funds
  • Article 9: Counties
    • Authorizes the Texas Legislature to create county governments
  • Article 10: Railroads
    • Regulated the railroad system
  • Article 11: Municipal Corporations
    • Specifics regarding local governments, including empowering them to tax, and how to charter cities
  • Article 12: Private Corporations
    • Specifics regarding private businesses, including how they would be regulated
  • Article 13: Spanish and Mexican Land Titles
    • Specifics on what which land with previous claims would become state property
  • Article 14: Public Lands and Land Office
    • Established the Land Office which regulated land titles
  • Article 15: Impeachment
    • Specifics on how to remove a public official from office
  • Article 16: General Provisions
    • Miscellaneous regulations i.e. forbid Congress from printing money, forbid U.S. public officials from holding a state office
  • Article 17: Mode of Amending the Constitution of this State
    • 2/3rds proposal from Congress
    • Registered voters vote on approval, and with a majority vote the amendment is ratified

The entire Texas Constitution can be accessed at http://www.constitution.legis.state.tx.us/