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2.9: Constitution of 1876

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    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

    Contributors and Attributions

    CC licensed content, Original

    This page titled 2.9: Constitution of 1876 is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Lumen Learning.

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