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Constitutions of Texas 1824-1876

Timeline

1824

Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States (1824)

The first constitution of the Mexican republic was drafted after the demise of the short-lived monarchy of Agustin I, the first independent post-colonial state in Mexico after the Mexican War of Independence wrested control from Spain. This constitution was modeled on the Spanish Constitution of 1812.

1827

Constitution of the State of Coahuila and Texas (1827)

The Federal Constitution of the United Mexican States (1824) required each state to draft its own constitution. The state of Coahuila and the former Spanish province of Texas were combined as the state of Coahuila and Texas and the state’s constitution was promulgated in 1827.

1836

Constitution of the Republic of Texas (1836)

In the midst of the Texas Revolution, delegates to the 1836 Convention hastily drafted a constitution for the new Republic of Texas. The resulting constitution incorporated large sections of the United States Constitution along with Mexican law.

1845

Constitution of Texas (1845)

Texas was able to take more care when drafting its first state constitution. Adopted just before annexation, the Constitution of 1845 set forth Texas law in a simple and straightforward manner. Constitutional scholars consider it to have been one of the best-drafted state constitutions.

1861

Constitution of Texas (1861)

After Texas seceded from the Union, the 1861 constitution was drafted to transfer Texas statehood from the United States of America to the Confederate States of America. This constitution did not greatly alter the 1845 constitution, but rather altered references from the United States of America to the Confederate States of America and required elected officials to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederate States of America.

1866

Constitution of Texas (1866)

In order to rejoin the United States, the 1866 constitution declared the Ordinance of Secession null and void, agreed to the abolition of slavery, provided for some civil rights for freedmen, and repudiated all war debt.

1869

Constitution of Texas (1869)

Under auspices of the Congressional Reconstruction Acts of 1867, a constitutional convention met in 1868 and 1869, but were unable to successfully draft a constitution. Under the orders of the federal military officers, the work of the convention was edited and published as the Constitution of 1869. This unusual process resulted in much controversy and the legitimacy of the 1869 constitution was disputed.

1876

Constitution of Texas (1876)

The Constitution of 1876 remains in force. Unlike the 1869 constitution, the 1876 constitution generally reflected public opinion in Texas at its time of drafting. While still in force, the 1876 constitution has been amended hundreds of times. Since 1876, 216 new sections have been added to the constitution, while 66 of the original sections and 51 of the added sections have been removed. The Texas Legislative Council’s Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876 details the changes to the 1876 constitution over the past almost 150 years.