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Massachusetts Constitution

The constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the United States of America , adopted in 1780, is often called the oldest still-governing written constitution in the world. The Massachusetts Constitution was the model for the Constitution of the United States of America, drafted seven years later.

The Massachusetts Constitution consists of four parts: a preamble; a declaration of rights; a description of the framework of government; and articles of amendment.

Table of contents
1 Preamble
2 Part the First: A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
3 Part the Second: The Frame of Government
4 Articles of Amendment
5 External link


Beginning with:

The end of the institution, maintenance, and administration of government, is to secure the existence of the body politic, to protect it, and to furnish the individuals who compose it with the power of enjoying in safety and tranquillity their natural rights, and the blessings of life: and whenever these great objects are not obtained, the people have a right to alter the government, and to take measures necessary for their safety, prosperity and happiness.

Part the First: A Declaration of the Rights of the Inhabitants of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Consisting of thirty articles, the first of which states:

Article I. All men are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; in fine, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

This article was later amended to substitute the word "people" for the word "men".

Part the Second: The Frame of Government

Which begins:

Article I. The department of legislation shall be formed by two branches, a Senate and House of Representatives: each of which shall have a negative on the other.

Articles of Amendment

As of 2003, there are 120 Articles of Amendment. Unlike the Federal Constitution, the Massachusetts Constitution directs the Supreme Judicial Court to give effect to amendments by editing the official text of the document, removing language that is no longer in force.

External link