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Indiana Historical Bureau

IHB > About Indiana - History and Trivia > Explore Indiana History by Topic > Indiana Documents Leading to Statehood > Constitution of 1851 as originally written > Article 1 - Bill of Rights Article 1 - Bill of Rights

Section 1. WE DECLARE, That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their CREATOR with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that all power is inherent in the PEOPLE; and that all free governments are, and of right ought to be, founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety, and well being. For the advancement of these ends, the PEOPLE have, at all times, an indefeasible right to alter and reform their government.

Section 2. All men shall be secured in the natural right to worship Almighty God, according to the dictates of their own consciences.

Section 3. No law shall, in any case whatever, control the free exercise and enjoyment of religious opinions, or interfere with the rights of conscience.

Section 4. No preference shall be given, by law, to any creed, religious society, or mode of worship; and no man shall be compelled to attend, erect, or support, any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry, against his consent.

Section 5. No religious test shall be required, as a qualification for any office of trust or profit.

Section 6. No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution.

Section 7. No person shall be rendered incompetent as a witness, in consequence of his opinions on matters of religion.

Section 8. The mode of administering an oath or affirmation, shall be such as may be most consistent with, and binding upon, the conscience of the person, to whom such oath or affirmation may be administered.

Section 9. No law shall be passed, restraining the free interchange of thought and opinion, or restricting the right to speak, write, or print, freely, on any subject whatever; but for the abuse of that right, every person shall be responsible.

Section 10. In all prosecutions for libel, the truth of the matters alleged to be libelous may be given in justification.

Section 11. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable search or seizure, shall not be violated; and no warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or thing to be seized.

Section 12. All courts shall be open; and every man, for injury done to him in his person, property, or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law. Justice shall be administered freely, and without purchase; completely, and without denial; speedily, and without delay.

Section 13. In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall have the right to a public trial, by an impartial jury, in the county in which the offense shall have been committed; to be heard by himself and counsel; to demand the nature and cause of the accusation against him, and to have a copy thereof; to meet the witnesses face to face, and to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.

Section 14. No person shall be put in jeopardy twice for the same offense. No person in any criminal prosecution, shall be compelled to testify against himself.

Section 15. No person arrested, or confined in jail, shall be treated with unnecessary rigor.

Section 16. Excessive bail shall not be required. Excessive fines shall not be imposed. Cruel and unusual punishments shall not be inflicted. All penalties shall be proportioned to the nature of the offense.

Section 17. Offenses, other than murder or treason, shall be bailable by sufficient sureties. Murder or treason shall not be bailable, when the proof is evident, or the presumption strong.

Section 18. The penal code shall be founded on the principles of reformation, and not of vindictive justice.

Section 19. In all criminal cases whatever, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts.

Section 20. In all civil cases, the right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.

Section 21. No man's particular services shall be demanded, without just compensation: No man's property shall be taken by law, without just compensation; nor, except in case of the State, without such compensation first assessed and tendered.

Section 22. The privilege of the debtor to enjoy the necessary comforts of life, shall be recognized by wholesome laws, exempting a reasonable amount of property from seizure or sale, for the payment of any debt or liability hereafter contracted; and there shall be no imprisonment for debt, except in case of fraud.

Section 23. The General Assembly shall not grant to any citizen, or class of citizens, privileges or immunities, which, upon the same terms, shall not equally belong to all citizens.

Section 24. No ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, shall ever be passed.

Section 25. No law shall be passed, the taking effect of which shall be made to depend upon any authority, except as provided in the Constitution.

Section 26. The operation of the laws shall never be suspended, except by the authority of the General Assembly.

Section 27. The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, except in case of rebellion or invasion; and then, only if the public safety demand it.

Section 28. Treason against the State shall consist only in levying war against it, and in giving aid and comfort to its enemies.

Section 29. No person shall be convicted of treason, except on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or upon his confession in open court.

Section 30. No conviction shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture of estate.

Section 31. No law shall restrain any of the inhabitants of the State from assembling together in a peaceable manner, to consult for their common good; nor from instructing their representatives; nor from applying to the General Assembly for redress of grievances.

Section 32. The people shall have a right to bear arms, for the defense of themselves and the State.

Section 33. The military shall be kept in strict subordination to the civil power.

Section 34. No soldier shall, in time of peace, be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner; nor, in the time of war but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Section 35. The General Assembly shall not grant any title of nobility, nor confer hereditary distinctions.

Section 36. Emigration from the State shall not be prohibited.

Section 37. There shall be neither slavery, nor involuntary servitude, within the State, otherwise than for the punishment of crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. No indenture of any Negro or Mulatto, made and executed out of the bounds of the State, shall be valid within the State.