The Delaware Constitution of 1897
is the fourth and current governing document for Delaware
state government and has been in effect since its adoption on June 4, 1897. It has 17 Articles and was most recently amended in 1995.
- See also: Preambles to state constitutions
The Preamble to the Delaware Constitution says:
- Through Divine goodness, all men have by nature the rights of worshiping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences, of enjoying and defending life and liberty, of acquiring and protecting reputation and property, and in general of obtaining objects suitable to their condition, without injury by one to another; and as these rights are essential to their welfare, for due exercise thereof, power is inherent in them; and therefore all just authority in the institutions of political society is derived from the people, and established with their consent, to advance their happiness; and they may for this end, as circumstances require, from time to time, alter their Constitution of government.
- Article I is the Bill of Rights of the citizens of Delaware.
- Article II establishes the legislative department of government.
- Article III establishes the executive department of government.
- Article IV establishes the judicial department of government.
- Article V details the election process and the qualifications for voting.
- Article VI describes the impeachment process.
- Article VII concerns pardons.
- Article VIII deals with state revenue and the taxation process.
- Article IX establishes the rights and limitations of corporations in the state.
- Article X concerns education.
- Article XI establishes a board of agriculture.
- Article XIII is entitled Local Option.
- Article XIV gives the form for the Oath of Office.
- Article XV is entitled Miscellaneous.
- Article XVI describes the process for amending the State Constitution.
- Article XVII concerns continuity of governmental operations.
- A Schedule is also included to ease the transition from territory to state.
Amending the constitution
- See also: Amending state constitutions
Article XVI defines the paths by which the Delaware Constitution can be amended:
- The Delaware General Assembly can amend the constitution. Unlike in any other state, the state legislature can amend the constitution without a vote of the people. For the legislature to amend the constitution:
- Two-thirds of all the members elected to each chamber can vote in favor of a proposed amendment.
- The Delaware Secretary of State then must publish the proposed amendment(s) three months prior to the next general election in at least three newspapers in each county.
- The subsequent General Assembly then votes again on the proposed amendment(s) and if an amendment receives the two-thirds approval of all members of each chamber, it becomes part of the constitution.
- By a two-thirds vote of both chambers of the state legislature, the question, "Shall there be a Convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same?" can go on a statewide ballot. If a simple majority of those voting on the question vote "yes", then there will be a convention.
This Constitution article needs to be updated.
- Hoffecker, Carol E. (2004). Democracy in Delaware. Cedar Tree Books, Wilmington. ISBN 1-892142-23-6.
- Munroe, John A. (1993). History of Delaware. University of Delaware Press. ISBN 0-87413-493-5.
- Martin, Roger A. (1984). A History of Delaware Through its Governors. McClafferty Press, Wilmington.
- Scharf, John Thomas. (1888). History of Delaware 1609-1888. 2 vols.. L. J. Richards & Co., Philadelphia.
- Delaware Code Annotated (1975). Constitution of the State of Delaware. Michie Company, Charlottesville.