Constitution of Virginia

January 25, 1868


Radical bullies mistreat the South through taxation and other absurd measures. Some white Southerners feel that the Radicals are unconstitutional in their actions which of course should not be tolerated.


CONSTITUTION OF VIRGINIA. Whereas the delegates and representatives of the good people of Virginia, in Convention assembled on the 29th day of June in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and seventy six, reciting and declaring that whereas George the Third, King of Great Britain and Ireland, and elector of Hanover, before that time entrusted with the exercise of the kingly office in the government of Virginia, had endeavored to pervert the same into a detestable and insupportable tyranny by putting his negative on laws the most wholesome and necessary for the public good; by denying his governors permission to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance unless suspended in their operation for his assent; and when so suspended, neglecting to attend to them for many years ; by refusing to pass certain other laws unless the persons to be benefited by them would relinquish the inestimable right of representation in the Legislature; by dissolving legislative assemblies repeatedly and continually for opposing with manly firmness his invasions of the rights of the people; when dissolved, by refusing to call others for a long space of time, thereby leaving the political system without any legislative head; by endeavoring to prevent the population or our country, and for that purpose obstructing the laws for the naturalization of foreigners, bv keeping among us, in time of peace, standing armies and ships of war; by affecting to render the military independent of and superior to the civil power; by combining with others to subject us to a foreign jurisdiction, giving his assent to their pretended acts of legislation, for quartering large bodies of armed troops among us, for cutting off our trade with all parts of the World, for imposing taxes on us without our consent, for depriving us of the benefits of the trial by jury, for transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offences, for suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested; with power to legislate for us in all cases whatever; by plundering our seas, ravaging our coasts, burning our towns, and destroying the lives. of our people; by inciting insurrections of our fellow-subjects with the allurements of forfeiture and confiscation; by prompting our negroes to rise in arms among us-those very negroes whom, by an inhuman use of his negative, he had refused us permission to exclude by law; by endeavoring to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers the merciless Idian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all savages, sexes, and conditions of existence by transporting hither a large army of foreign mercenaries to complete the work of death, desolation, and tyranny, then already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy unworthy the head of a civilized nation; by answering our repeated petitions for redress with a repetition of injuries; and finally, by abandoning the helm of government and declaring us out of his allegiance and protection; by which several acts of misrule, the government of this country, as before exercised under the crown of Great Britain, was totally dissolved-did, therefore, having maturely considered the premises, and viewing with great concern the deplorable condition to which this once happy country would be reduced, unless some regular, adequate mode of civil policy should be speedily adopted, and in compliance with the recommendation of-the general Congress, ordain and declare a form of government of Virginia: and whereas a Convention held on the first Monday in October, in the year one thousand eight hundred and twenty-nine, did propose to the people of the Commonwealth an amended Constitution or form of government, which was ratified by them; and whereas the General Assembly of Virginia, by an act passed on the fourth of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty, did provide for the election by the people of delegates to meet in general Convention to consider, discuss, and propose a new Constitution, or alterations and amendments to the existing Constitution of his Commonwealth; and by an act passed on the thirteenth of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-one, did further provide for submitting the same to the people or ratification or rejection; and the same having been submitted accordingly, was rallied by them; and whereas the General Assembly of Virginia, by an act passed on the twenty-first day of December, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, did provide for the election by the people of delegates to meet in general Convention to consider, discuss, and adopt alterations and amendments to the existing Constitution of this Commonwealth, the delegates so assembled did therefore (having maturely considered the premises) adopt a revised and amended Constitution as the form of government of Virginia; and whereas the Congress of the United States did, by an act passed on the second day of March, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, and entitled "An act to provide for the more efficient government of the rebel States," and by acts supplementary thereto, passed on the 23d day of March and the nineteenth day of July, in the year one thousand eight hundred and sixty-seven, provide for the election, by the people of Virginia, qualified to vote under the provisions of said acts, of delegates to meet in convention to frame a Constitution or form of government for Virginia, in conformity with said acts; and by the same acts did further provide for the "submitting of such Constitution to the qualified voters for ratification or rejection, therefore, the delegates of the good people of Virginia, elected and in Convention assembled, in pursuance of said acts, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do propose to the people the following Constitution und form of government for this Commonwealth : ARTICLE I.-BILL OF RIGHTS. The declaration of the political rights and privileges of the inhabitants of this State is hereby declared to be a part of the Constitution of this Commonwealth, and shall not be violated on any pretence whatever. ARTICLE II.-DIVISION OF POWERS. The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments shall be separate and distinct, so that neither exercise the powers properly belonging to either of the others; nor shall any person exercise the powers of more than one of them at the same time, except as hereinafter provided. [In the preamble of the Constitution, as adopted above, there is no change. There is some alteration in the language of the first article, but none in its meaning. The second is amended by striking out the words "except that justices of the peace shall be eligible to either House of Assembly," at the end of the article, and the following inserted in place of them: " except as hereinafter provided."]
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Mallory Haskins




“Constitution of Virginia,” Reconstructing Virginia, accessed May 18, 2022,