Texas Almanac, 1949-1950 Page: 48
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CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF TEXAS
The Constitution of the State of Texas is
approximately 39,000 words in length one of
the longest of the forty-eight State Constitu-
tions. It is about six times the length of the
Federal Constitution. It was written by a
convention which met at Austin Sept. 6 and
adjourned Nov. 4, 1875. It was ratif'd by
the people Feb. 15, 1876. The State Co:astitu-
tion is characterized by much detailed pro-
vision that would ordinarily be considered
purely statutory law. Historians usually at-
tribute this to the p-ychology that pervaded
immediately following Reconstruction and
Carpetbag government. Wishing to safeguard
the liberties of the people the writers tended
to put everything in the Constitution.
An Inevitable result of this great detail has
been the frequent amendment of the Consti-
tution. From its adoption in 1876 until
Jan. 1. 1949, more than 1,700 resolutions
proposing amendments to the State Constitu-
tion have been introduced in the Legislature.
Of this great number 185 have received the
two-thirds vote required to bring about sub-
mission to the voters. Of this number 108
have been ratified by the people and 75 re-
jected. One was voted for submission but
never actually submitted and one was sub-
mitted illegally and later withdrawn.
Amendments of 1949.
In addition to the amendments included in
data above bringing record to Jan. 1, 1949.
the Fifty-first Legislature of 1949 submitted
ten additional amendments to be subject to
an election Nov. 8, 1949. (See last ten para-
graphs on this page for list of these amend-
Early Texas National and State Constitutions.
First constitutional government in Texas
was under the Mexican Constitution of 1824.
On March 11. 1827, a State Constitution was
put in effect for the State of Coahuila-Texas.
Both the Mexican National Constitution and
that of the State of Coahuila-Texas contained
many guarantees of liberties to which the
Anglo-American colonists had become accus-
tomed before leaving the United States. But
there were some omissions; and, further-
more there was little fulfillment of the paper
guarantees in many instances.
Constitution of Texas Republic.
Independence of Mexico was declared
March 2, 1836, and a Texas National Consti-
tution was adopted in convention March 17.
It was ratified by the people Sept. 5, 1836.
The first State Constitution after annexa-
tion was written in convention. July 4, to
Aug. 7. 1845. ratified by the people on Oct.
13, 1845, and approved by the Congress of the
United States and President Polk Dec. 29,
Under Southern Confederacy.
When Texas seceded, the Constitution of
1845 was subjected to general amendment by
a convention which met at Austin March 2
and adjourned March 25, 1861. This Constitu-
tion of 1861 served Texas while it was a
member of the Confederacy. After the sur-
render of the Confederate armies, a conven-
tion met in Austin Feb. 7, 1866, and remained
in session during March and part of April,
producing a new State Constitution, which
was to some extent another revision of the
Constitution of 1845. It was ratified by the
people the following June. but did not be-
come operative because the state was placed
by the Federal Government under military
Reconstruction and Present Constitutions.
T o years later a military-dominated con-
stitutional convention was convened in Austin,
June 1, 1868, and after remaining in session
until Feb. 6, 1869, adjourned without com-
pleting its task. This convention was com-
posed of the "radical" element and Carpetbag
faction. The task of completing the draft of
this Constitution was assigned to the Secre-
tary of State, and the new document was
ratified by the people (those who were per-
mitted the franchise) Nov. 30. 1869. It was
under this Constitution that Gov. E. J. Davis
served his four-vear term, which terminated
in the near-warfare in Austin when Richard
Coke was elected in 1873. With the return of
the old electorate of Southern sympathizers
to political control with the election of Coke.
agitation was begun for replacement of the
"radical" Constitution of 1869, resulting in
the adoption of the present Constitution of
Texas in 1876.
Order of Text and Notes.
Following is text of the Constitution of the
State of Texas as amended through the elec-
tion of Nov 2, 1948. Each section that has
been amended since adoption of the original
text of the Constitution in 1876 is followed
by a parenthetical note giving the following
information. (1) Whether amendment was by
adding a new section or by alteration of an
older section of the same number, (2) num-
ber of times section has been amended,
(3) substance of changes effected by all
amendments including former amendments
that have been supplanted by later amend-
ments, and (4) dates of adoption of all
amendments, including past amendments that
have been supplanted.
Index to Constitution.
A summary index to the contents of the
Constitution is printed on pages immediately
following the text of the Constitution. (See
Amendments Submitted in 1949.
The Fifty-first Legislature (1949) submitted
ten amendments to the people subject to an
election Nov. 8, 1949, as follows:
SJR 1, amending Sec. 2 of Art. VI: To abolish
the poll tax as a requirement for voting but re-
quiring the Legislature to pass a voters registra-
tion law and authorizing it to provide for ab-
SJR 4, amending Sec. 19 of Art. XVI: Making
women eligible to serve on juries.
SJR 5, adding Sec. 48-d to Art. III: Authorizing
the Legislature to provide for the creation of rural
fire-prevention districts. Bonds could be issued for
the purchase and operation of firefighting equip-
ment to protect rural property.
HJR 5, amending Secs. 5 and 24 of Art. III:
To raise pay of legislators to $3,600 annually and
to have regular sessions every year, in January.
HJR 15, adding Sec. 48-b to Art. III: Authoriz-
ing the Legislature to provide for the organiza-
tion of city-county health units and to levy a tax
not exceeding 20c of each $100 of assessed valua-
tions. The tax can not be levied except by vote of
the people of the affected units.
HJR 19, adding Sec. 62-C to Art. XVI: Author-
izing the Legislature to vest counties of over 75,-
000 population with power to invoke civil service
in public employment.
HJR 22, amending Sec. 7 of Art. V: Empower-
ing a district judge in a district of two or more
counties to make orders returnable to any county
in the district without having to enter the county.
HJR 32, adding Sec. 15-a to Art. I: Waiving
trial by jury in lunacy cases either by the person
under inquiry, his counsel or a relative.
HJR 36, adding Sec. 60 to Art. III: Empower-
ing the Legislature to pass a law for the creation
of county hospital districts by a vote of the dis-
trict, with power to levy taxes and issue bonds.
HJR 38, adding Sec. 63 to Art. XVI: Authoriz-
ing the Legislature to permit a statewide retire-
ment system at the option of counties for their
officers and employees.
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Texas Almanac, 1949-1950, book, 1949; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117167/m1/50/: accessed April 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.