Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3

[Volume 4, Page 534]

Document 12

Missouri Constitution of 1820, ART. 3, SECS. 26--28

Thorpe 4:2154

Sec. 26. The general assembly shall not have power to pass laws--

1. For the emancipation of slaves without the consent of their owners; or without paying them, before such emancipation, a full equivalent for such slaves so emancipated; and,

2. To prevent bona-fide immigrants to this State, or actual settlers therein, from bringing from any of the United States, or from any of their Territories, such persons as may there be deemed to be slaves, so long as any persons of the same description are allowed to be held as slaves by the laws of this State.

They shall have power to pass laws--

1. To prohibit the introduction into this State of any slaves who may have committed any high crime in any other State or Territory;

2. To prohibit the introduction of any slave for the purpose of speculation, or as an article of trade or merchandise;

3. To prohibit the introduction of any slave, or the offspring of any slave, who heretofore may have been, or who hereafter may be, imported from any foreign country into the United States, or any Territory thereof, in contravention of any existing statute of the United States; and,

4. To permit the owners of slaves to emancipate them, saving the right of creditors, where the person so emancipating will give security that the slave so emancipated shall not become a public charge.

It shall be their duty, as soon as may be, to pass such laws as may be necessary--

1. To prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to and settling in this State, under any pretext whatsoever; and,

2. To oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity, and to abstain from all injuries to them extending to life or limb.

Sec. 27. In prosecutions for crimes, slaves shall not be deprived of an impartial trial by jury and a slave convicted of a capital offence shall suffer the same degree of punishment, and no other, that would be inflicted on a free white person for a like offence; and courts of justice, before whom slaves shall be tried, shall assign them counsel for their defence.

Sec. 28. Any person who shall maliciously deprive of life or dismember a slave, shall suffer such punishment as would be inflicted for the like offence if it were committed on a free white person.

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 4, Section 2, Clause 3, Document 12
The University of Chicago Press

Thorpe, Francis Newton, ed. The Federal and State Constitutions, Colonial Charters, and Other Organic Laws of the States, Territories, and Colonies Now or Heretofore Forming the United States of America. 7 vols. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1909.

© 1987 by The University of Chicago
All rights reserved. Published 2000