Georgia Constitution of 1789
We, the underwritten delegates from the people, in convention met, do declare
that the following articles shall form the constitution for the government
of this State; and, by virtue of the powers in us vested for that purpose,
do hereby ratify and confirm the same.
Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in two separate and distinct
branches, to wit, a senate and house of representatives, to be styled "The
Section 2. The senate shall be elected on the first Monday in October in
every third year, until such day of election be altered by law; and shall
be composed of one member from each county, chosen by the electors thereof,
and shall continue for the term of three years.
Section 3. No person shall be a member of the Senate who shall not have
attained to the age of twenty-eight years, and who shall not have been
nine years an inhabitant of the United States, and three years a citizen
of this State; and shall be an inhabitant of that county for which he shall
be elected, and have resided therein six months immediately preceding his
election, and shall be possessed in his own right of two hundred and fifty
acres of land, or some property to the amount of two hundred and fifty
Section 4. The senate shall elect, by ballot, a president out of their own
Section 5. The senate shall have solely the power to try all impeachments.
Section 6. The election of members for the house of representatives shall
be annual, on the first Monday in October, until such day of election be
altered by law, and shall be composed of members from each county, in the
following proportions: Camden, two; Glynn, two; Liberty, four; Chatham,
five; Effingham, two; Burke, four; Richmond, four; Wilkes, five; Washington,
two; Green, two; and Franklin, two.
Section 7. No person shall be a member of the House of representatives who
shall not have attained to the age of twenty-one years, and have been seven
years a citizen of the United States, and two years an inhabitant of this
State; and shall be an inhabitant of that county for which he shall be
elected, and have resided therein three months immediately preceding his
election; and shall be possessed in his own right of two hundred acres
of land, or other property to the amount of one hundred and fifty pounds.
Section 8. The house of representatives shall choose their speaker and other
Section 9. They shall have solely the power to impeach all persons who have
been or may be in office.
Section 10. No person holding a military commission, or office of profit,
under this or the United States, or either of them, (except justices of
the peace and officers of the militia,) shall be allowed to take his seat
as a member of either branch of the General Assembly; nor shall any senator
or representative be elected to any office of profit which shall be created
during his appointment.
Section 11. The meeting of the General Assembly shall be annual, on the first
Monday in November, until such day of meeting be altered by law.
Section 12. One-third of the members of each branch shall have power to proceed
to business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and compel
the attendance of their members in such manner as each house may prescribe.
Section 13. Each house shall be judges of the elections, returns, and qualifications
of its own members, with powers to expel or punish for disorderly behavior.
Section 14. No senator or representative shall be liable to be arrested during
his attendance on the general assembly or for a reasonable time in going
thereto or returning home, except it be for treason, felony or breach of
the peace; nor shall any member be liable to answer for anything spoken
in debate in either house, in any court or place elsewhere.
Section 15. The members of the senate and house of representatives shall
take the following oath or affirmation: "I, AB, do solemnly swear
(or affirm, as the case may be) that I have not obtained my election by
bribery, or other unlawful means; and that I will give my vote on all questions
that may come before me, as a senator, (or representative,) in such manner
as, in my judgment will best promote the good of this State; and that I
will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and to the utmost of my
power observe, support, and defend the constitution thereof."
Section 16. The General Assembly shall have power to make all laws and ordinances
which they shall deem necessary and proper for the good of the State, which
shall not be repugnant to this constitution.
Section 17. They shall have power to alter the boundaries of the present
counties, and to lay off new ones, as well out of the counties already
laid off, as out of the other territory belonging to the State. When a
new county or counties shall be laid off, out of any of the present county
or counties, such new county or counties shall have their representation
apportioned out of the number of representatives of the county or counties
out of which it or they shall be laid out; and when any new county shall
be laid off in the vacant territory belonging to the State, such county
shall have a number of representatives, not exceeding three, to be regulated
and determined by the General Assembly. And no money shall be drawn out
of the treasury, or from the public funds of this State, except by appropriations
made by law.
Section 18. No clergyman of any denomination shall be a member of the General
Section 1. The executive power
shall be vested in a governor,who shall hold his office during the term
of two years, and shall be elected in the following manner:
Section 2. The house of representatives shall, on the second day of their
making a house, in the first, and in every second year thereafter, vote
by ballot for three persons; and shall make a list containing the names
of the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each person; which
list the speaker shall sign in the presence of the house, and deliver it
in person to the senate; and the senate shall, on the same day, proceed,
by ballot, to elect one of the three persons having the highest number
of votes; and the person having a majority of the votes of the senators
present shall be the governor.
Section 3. No person shall be eligible to the office of governor who shall
not have been a citizen of the United States twelve years, and an inhabitant
of this State six years, and who hath not attained to the age of thirty
years, and who does not possess five hundred acres of land, in his own
right, within this State, and other species of property to the amount of
one thousand pounds sterling.
Section 4. In case of the death, resignation, or disability of the governor,
the president of the senate shall exercise the executive powers of government
until such disability be removed, or until the next meeting of the General
Section 5. The governor shall, at stated times, receive for his service
a compensation which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the
period for which he shall be elected; neither shall he receive, within
that period, any other emolument from the United States, or any of them,
or from any foreign power. Before he enters on the execution of his office
he shall take the following oath or affirmation: "I do solemnly swear
(or affirm, as the case may be) that I will faithfully execute the office
of governor of the State of Georgia, and will, to the best of my abilities,
preserve, protect, and defend the said State, and cause justice to be executed
in mercy therein, according to the constitution and law of the same."
Section 6. He shall be commander-in-chief in and over the State of Georgia.
and of the militia thereof.
Section 7. He shall have power to grant reprieves for offenses against the
State, except in cases of impeachment, and to grant pardons, in all cases
after conviction, except for treason or murder, in which cases he may respite
the execution, and make a report thereof to the next General Assembly,
by whom a pardon may be granted.
Section 8. He shall issue writs of election to fill up vacancies that happen
in the senate or house of representatives, and shall have power to convene
the General Assembly on extraordinary occasions, and shall give them, from
time to time, information of the state of the republic, and recommend to
their consideration such measures as he may deem necessary and expedient.
Section 9. In case of a disagreement between the senate and house of representatives,
with respect to the time to which the General Assembly shall adjourn, he
may adjourn them to such time as he may think proper.
He shall have the revision of all bills passed by both houses, before the
same shall become laws; but two-thirds of both houses may pass a law, notwithstanding
his dissent, and, if any bill should not be returned by the governor within
five days after it hath been presented to him, the same shall be a law,
unless the General Assembly, by their adjournment, shall prevent its return
Section 11. The great seal of the State shall be deposited in the office
of the secretary, and it shall not be affixed to any instrument of writing
without it be by order of the governor or General Assembly; and the General
Assembly may direct the great seal to be altered.
Section 1. A superior court shall be held in each county twice in every
year; in which shall be tried, and brought to final decision, all causes,
civil and criminal, except such as may be subject to a Federal court, and
such as may, by law, be referred to inferior jurisdiction.
Section 2. The General Assembly shall point out the mode of correcting errors
and appeals, which shall extend so far as to empower the judges to direct
a new trial by jury within the county where the action originated, and
which shall be final.
Section 3. Courts-martial shall be held as heretofore, subject to such regulations
as the General Assembly may by law direct.
Section 4. All causes shall be
tried in the county where the defendant resides except in cases of real
estate, which shall be tried in the county where the estate lies, and in
criminal cases which shall be tried in the county where the crime shall
Section 5. The judges of the superior court and attorney general shall have
a competent salary established by law, which shall not be increased nor
diminished during their continuance in office, and shall hold their commission
during the term of three years.
Section 1. The electors of the members of both branches of the General Assembly
shall be citizens and inhabitants of this State, and shall have attained
to the age of twenty-one years, and have paid tax for the year preceding
the election, and shall have resided six months within the county.
Section 2. All elections shall be by ballot, and the house of representatives,
in all appointments of State officers, shall vote for three persons; and
a list of the three persons having the highest number of votes shall be
signed by the speaker, and sent to the Senate, which shall from such list
determine, by a majority of their votes, the officer elected, except militia
officers and the secretaries of the governor, who shall be appointed by
the governor alone, under such regulations and restrictions as the General
Assembly may prescribe. The General Assembly may vest the appointment of
inferior officers in the governor, the courts of justice, or in such other
manner as they may by law establish.
Section 3. Freedom of the press and trial by jury shall remain inviolate.
Section 4. All persons shall be entitled to the benefit of the writ of habeas
Section 5. All persons shall have the free exercise of religion, without
being obliged to contribute to the support of any religious profession
but their own.
Section 6. Estates shall not be entailed; and when a person dies intestate,
leaving a wife and children, the wife shall have a child's share, or her
dower, at her option; if there be no wife, the estate shall be equally
divided among the children and their legal representatives of the first
degree. The distribution of all other intestate estates may be regulated
Section 7. At the general election for members of assembly, in the year
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-four, the electors in each county
shall elect three persons to represent them in a convention, for the purpose
of taking into consideration the alterations necessary to be made in this
constitution, who shall meet at such time and place as the General Assembly
may appoint; and if two-thirds of the whole number shall meet and concur,
they shall proceed to agree on such alterations and amendments as they
think proper, Provided, That after two-thirds shall have concurred to proceed
to alterations and amendments, a majority shall determine on the particulars
of such alterations and amendments.
Section 8. This constitution shall take effect, and be in full force, on
the first Monday in October next, after the adoption of the same; and the
executive shall be authorized to alter the time for the sitting of the
superior courts, so that the same may not interfere with the annual elections
in the respective counties, or the meeting of the first General Assembly.
Done at Augusta, in convention, the sixth day of May, in the year of our
Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine and in the year of the
Sovereignty and Independence of the United States the thirteenth.
Wm. Gibbons, President.
D. Longstreet, Secretary.
Amendments to the
Constitution of 1789
(Adopted May 16, 1795, by a convention which met at Louisville
on the________ day of May.)
Article I. The senate shall be elected annually on the first Monday in November
until such day of election be altered by law; and shall be composed of
one member from each county, to be chosen by the electors thereof.
Article II. All elections to be made by the General Assembly, shall be by
joint ballot of the senate and house of representatives.
Article III. The election of members of the house of representatives shall
be annual on the first Monday in November; and shall be composed of members
from each county in the following proportion: Camden, two; Glynn, two;
Liberty, four; McIntosh, two; Bryan, two; Chatham, four; Effingham, two;
Scriven, two; Montgomery, two; Burke, three; Richmond, two; Columbia, two;
Wilkes, three; Hancock, three; Washington, three; Warren. three. X
Article IV. At the general election for members of assembly in the year 1797,
the electors of the present counties shall elect three persons to represent
them in a convention for the purpose of taking into consideration the further
alterations and amendments necessary to be made in the constitution, who
shall meet at the town of Louisville the second Tuesday in May thereafter;
a majority of the said convention shall have power to proceed to, and agree
on, such alterations and amendments as they may think proper.
Article V. The meeting of the General Assembly shall be annual on the second
Tuesday in January, a majority of whom shall have power to proceed to business.
Article VI. That Louisville be the permanent seat of government; and that
the governor, secretary of State, the treasurer, the auditor, and the surveyor-general,
remove their offices thereto as soon as may be convenient, previously to
the next meeting of the General Assembly.
Article VII. Article of constituted rights annexed to the constitution as
Article VIII. All powers not delegated by the constitution, as amended, are
retained by the people.
- Source: Walter McElreath, A Treatise
on the Constitution of Georgia (Atlanta: Harrison Co., 1912)
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