Indiana Constitution

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Indiana Constitution
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The Indiana Constitution is the basic governing document of that state of Indiana.


The Indiana Constitution contains sixteen articles.[1] Some notable features include:

  • Article 3 is the shortest provision of the entire constitution, having one section and consisting of one sentence.
  • Article 15, Section 2 provides for creation by law of offices not defined by the constitution. If someone is appointed, it may be for a term "at the pleasure of the appointing authority," but elected offices may not have a term longer than four years.[1]


Main article: Preambles to state constitutions

The changes in society and the concerns can be noted by the comparison of the preambles of the original 1816 constitution and the current constitution.

The preamble to the original 1816 constitution stated:

We the Representatives of the people of the Territory of Indiana, in Convention met, at Corydon, on Monday the tenth day of June in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States, the fortieth, having the right of admission into the General Government, as a member of the union, consistent with the constitution of the United States, the ordinance of Congress of one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven, and the law of Congress, entitle "An act to enable the people of the Indiana Territory to form a Constitution and State Government, and for the admission of such state into the union, on an equal footing with the original States" in order to establish Justice, promote the welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity; do ordain and establish the following constitution or form of Government, and do mutually agree with each other to form ourselves into a free and Independent state, by the name of the State of Indiana.

However, the preamble to the current constitution states:

TO THE END, that justice be established, public order maintained, and liberty perpetuated; WE, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to ALMIGHTY GOD for the free exercise of the right to choose our own form of government, do ordain this Constitution.[1]

Article 1: Bill of Rights

Article 1 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Bill of Rights" and consists of 38 sections.

Article 2: Suffrage and Election

Article 2 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Suffrage and Election" and consists of 14 sections.

Article 3: Distribution of Powers

Article 3 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Distribution of Powers" and consists of only one section.

Article 4: Legislative

Article 4 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Legislative" and consists of 30 sections.

Article 5: Executive

Article 5 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Executive" and consists of 24 sections.

Article 6: Administrative

Article 6 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Administrative" and consists of eleven sections.

Article 7: Judicial

Article 7 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Judicial" and consists of 21 sections.

Article 8: Education

Article 8 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Education" and consists of eight sections.

Article 9: State Institutions

Article 9 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "State Institutions." It has three sections.

Article 10: Finance

Article 10 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Finance." It has eight sections.

Article 11: Corporations

Article 11 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Corporations." It has 14 sections.

Article 12: Militia

Article 12 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Militia." It has six sections, two of which have been repealed.

Article 13: Indebtedness

Article 13 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Political and Municipal Corporations." It has only one section.

Article 14: Boundaries

Article 14 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Boundaries." It has two sections.

Article 15: Miscellaneous

Article 15 of the Indiana Constitution is entitled "Miscellaneous." It has ten sections.

Article 16: Amendments

Article 16 of the Indiana Constitution is labeled "Amendments." It consists of two sections and a schedule and was most recently amended in 1998. Article 16 is about the procedures that must be followed in order to amend this article.

Amending the constitution

Main article: Amending state constitutions

The amendment procedures available under the Indiana Constitution are more restrictive than in those of nearly any other state. Only one system is allowed (the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment), and this procedure in Indiana is itself more restrictive than in most states, since any proposed amendment must be approved by two successive sessions of the Indiana General Assembly before it can go to a vote of the people. Article 16 also does not say anything about how a constitutional convention could be held or called; whereas, the constitutions of more than 40 other states do lay out in their constitutions how that process would work in their state.

Details of how the legislatively-referred constitutional amendment process works in Indiana, as defined in Article 16, are:

  • An amendment can be proposed in either chamber of the Indiana General Assembly.
  • An amendment must be agreed to by a simple majority of the members elected to each of the two chambers.
  • If that happens, the same amendment can be proposed in the next session of the legislature that convenes after a general election has taken place.
  • If the amendment is approved by a simple majority vote of both chambers of the general assembly in that second legislative session, the amendment is then to be submitted to a statewide vote of the people at a general election.
  • If a majority of those voting on the question approve it, the proposed amendment then becomes part of the Indiana Constitution.


Indiana has had two constitutions. The first was adopted in 1816. Only white male citizens over the age of 21 who had lived in Indiana for one year could vote. This constitution also provided for free public education through the college level. Slavery in Indiana was prohibited; however, this law did not apply to slaveholders who lived in Indiana prior to the constitution taking effect.

By 1851, Indiana was poorly managed and in debt and citizens voted to amend the original constitution. The 1851 constitution called for more frequent elections, put restrictions on state debt and established biennial (every other year) sessions for the Indiana General Assembly. Unfortunately, the constitution contained racism, in the form of Article 13, which prohibited African-Americans from settling in the state. [The 1851 constitution has been amended numerous times, but it still stands as Indiana’s constitution today.[2]

See also

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