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I've decided to try writing a constitution. It seemed like a good idea, something fun during the break. The preamble and the first section, the charter of rights, has been finished. I decided to use The Commonwealth of New England as the name of the country, because it made me happy to do so. The government will be a federal republic. Some of the writing is lifted from various state constitutions and provisions of the Bill of Rights, edited by me. Feel free to comment.

´╗┐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.
The body politic is formed by a voluntary association of individuals: it is a social compact, by which the whole people covenants with each citizen, and each citizen with the whole people, that all shall be governed by certain laws for the common good and the promotion of virtue. It is the duty of the people, therefore, in framing a constitution of government, to provide for an equitable mode of making laws, as well as for an impartial interpretation, and a faithful execution of them; that every person may, at all times, find their security in them.
We, therefore, the people of New England, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the great Legislator of the universe, in affording us, in the course of His providence, an opportunity, deliberately and peaceably, without fraud, violence or surprise, of entering into an original, explicit, and solemn compact with each other; and of forming a new constitution of civil government, for ourselves and our posterity; and devoutly imploring His direction in so great an undertaking, do consent to, ordain and establish the following Declaration of Rights, and Frame of Government, as the Constitution of the Commonwealth of New England, and hereby covenant to combine ourselves into a civil body politic.
Section One: The Charter of Rights and General Principles of Government

1. All people are born free and equal, and have certain natural, essential, and unalienable rights arising from their very human nature; among which are the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; that of acquiring, possessing, and protecting property; that of being unfettered by burdensome legislation beyond the just powers of a free state; and ultimately, that of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.

2. All people have a natural and unalienable right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences and understandings. No person ought, or of right can be compelled to attend any religious worship, or erect or support any place of worship, or maintain any minister, contrary to the dictates of his conscience, nor can any person be justly deprived or abridged of any civil right as a citizen, on account of his religious sentiments, or particular mode of religious worship. No authority of this Commonwealth or of any of its constituent states can, or ought to interfere with, or in any manner control the rights of conscience, in the free exercise of religious worship, except when such worship gravely and manifestly endanger the common good or public order.

3. The greatest insulations of a free people from tyranny are the rights to free speech, free presses and broadcast media, and free assembly and association, along with the freedom to peaceably petition the government, either in groups or individually, for a redress of grievances and for the passage of such laws as shall seem to them wise and proper without fear of reprisal or recrimination. These rights shall not be restrained or infringed upon except in such cases as their exercise would materially endanger the common good of the body politic, and only for such a time as that danger shall continue.

4. Wisdom and knowledge as well as virtue and frequent recurrence to fundamental principles, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties, and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of legislatures, magistrates and all public officers in all future periods of this Commonwealth to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; to promote agriculture, arts, sciences, scholarship, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, innate and natural human dignity, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people. Such cultural, religious, academic, and private societies as it shall please the communities and individuals of this Commonwealth to have and maintain shall be respected in the laws to the greatest extent allowable for the common good, and no law shall prohibit or burdensomely regulate the artistic, scientific, scholarly, or cultural output of any institution or individual within this Commonwealth except as the common good and the security of these rights may require.

5. All power residing originally in the people, and being derived from them, the several magistrates and officers of government, vested with authority, whether legislative, executive, or judicial, are their substitutes and agents, and are at all times accountable to them. Every citizen of the Commonwealth ought to find a certain remedy, by having recourse to the laws, for all injuries or wrongs which they may receive in their person, property, or character. They ought to obtain right and justice freely, and without being obliged to purchase it; completely, and without any denial; promptly, and without delay; conformably to the laws. The citizens of this Commonwealth shall at all times be entitled to the equal protection of the laws and their consistent and just administration, both by this Commonwealth and by its member states. Therefore, no person shall be denied their rights to the equal protection and just administration of the laws on the basis of race, sex, class, creed, or any other popular subject of bias.

6. In order to prevent those who are vested with authority from becoming oppressors, the people have a right, at such periods and in such manner as they shall establish by their frame of government, to cause their public officers to return to private life; and to fill up vacant places by certain and regular elections and appointments. The right of all citizens, having reached the age of legal majority, to vote for public officers or on any question put to the body politic, shall not be abridged on account of any other factor, as a consequence of any judicial sentence or penalty, or for the failure to pay a poll tax or any other tax or fee. Notwithstanding, requirements to vote in the Commonwealth and its member states, may include certain tests narrowly construed to ensure the basic literacy and competence of the electorate necessary for the exercise of popular sovereignty, as the appropriate legislatures shall direct and determine. Every person, provided they meet just and proper qualifications, shall have the equal right to run for and hold any elected office.

7. All citizens shall have the right to attend public meetings, access public records, and know the manner in which the monies they have granted through the legislature to support the administration of the laws is being spent. No citizen shall be required to pay any tax or fee which is not duly enacted by the legislature for the necessary upkeep of the government and its functions.

8. A free market for the exchange of goods and services is necessary to the survival of any state, therefore no law shall restrict the freedom to contract except as public order, the common good, and the proper function of the market for the protection of consumers shall require. The right of the people to a universal recognition of acts and decrees necessary for their commerce and private welfare within the whole Commonwealth shall not be infringed.

9. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the quartering of troops or officers of the law in time of peace, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. No person shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home or correspondence, or to attacks upon their honour and reputation.

10. No person shall be deprived of liberty or property without the due process of law, or twice be put in jeopardy of liberty or property for the same offence. No person shall be compelled to testify against themself. Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel or unusual punishments inflicted throughout this Commonwealth.

11. All penalties ought to be proportioned to the nature of the offense. Where the same undistinguishing severity is exerted against all offenses, the people are led to forget the real distinction in the crimes themselves, and to commit the most flagrant with as little compunction as they do the lightest offenses. For the same reason a multitude of sanguinary laws is both impolitic and unjust. The true design of all punishments is to reform, not to exterminate mankind.

12. No citizen of the Commonwealth may have their citizenship suspended, suppressed, or removed except by their own consent, or by having knowingly and freely taken up arms against the Commonwealth, to the satisfaction of proof before a court consistent with this charter of rights. No person born to a parent residing legally in this Commonwealth, or to a citizen of this Commonwealth living overseas, or adopted by such citizens or legal residents, shall be denied the right to be registered as a citizen of this Commonwealth.

13. No person shall be held on suspicion of a crime without being informed of the charges against them, nor shall the right of habeus corpus be suspended except in time of grave public emergency. No confession given under duress shall be admitted into evidence in any trial or proceeding in this Commonwealth, and all persons shall be informed of their rights before being interrogated in the normal course of the enforcement of the laws.

14. In all criminal prosecutions without exception, accused persons shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, in which they shall have access to the assistance of counsel for their defense, the right to confront witnesses against them, and the aid of the law in compelling witnesses and evidence in their favor, and they shall at all times be considered innocent until proven guilty. No person shall be tried for any act or omission which was not a crime when the act or omission occurred.

15. No judge shall sit alone as trier of fact in any case, but shall sit with a panel of judges duly elected or appointed, or with a jury, as the legislature of the Commonwealth or its member states shall direct. In all cases, the use or non-use of juries shall be consistent among all prosecutions for felonies, and among all civil disputes where the value shall exceed an amount determined by the appropriate legislature, and shall not discriminate on any other basis.

16. No conviction may be held to the detriment of any person not convicted, and no law may have the power to corrupt or enoble a bloodline, to allow hereditary emoluments or privleges, or to restrict or disrupt the right of a person to bequeath their property to their family.

17. All persons shall have the right to form families in the manner of their choosing without the interference of the state, excepted that the legislature may criminalize the entering into of familial relationships on fraudulent pretenses as well as abandonment of dependents and unreasonable or unprovoked divorce.

18. No property shall be taken for public use without prior just compensation.

19. No person shall be subjected to slavery or involuntary servitude, a draft in time of war or public emergency excepted.

20. No legislature may make any declaration of guilt of any criminal offense, and no impeachment from office undertaken by a legislature shall take the place of due process for determining guilt or innocence in the judiciary.

21. The freedom of deliberation, speech, and debate, in the legislature is so essential to the rights of the people that it can not be the foundation of any accusation or prosecution, action or complaint, in any other court or place whatsoever.

22. The military of the Commonwealth shall at all times be governed by and subordinate to the civil power. The legislatures of the several states shall have power to organize and regulate militias for their common defense from enemies foreign and domestic.

23. No person shall serve in more than one branch of government at any time, or in more than one level of government, town meetings excepted, for the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial powers of government ought to be forever separate and distinct from one another.

24. All people have a natural and inherent right to emigrate from one State to another that will receive them or to form a new State in vacant countries, or in such countries as they can purchase whenever they think that thereby they can promote their own happiness, as well as to move freely within the territory of this Commonwealth. Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.

25. Nothing in this section shall be in any way construed so as to deny, disparage, abuse or abridge any other right retained by the people or by any individual. No member state of this Commonwealth shall enact or enforce any law which violates the rights of the people herein contained.

Some points of interest:

- I specifically wanted to leave open the possibility of not having jury trials, because I think they're ridiculous.
- No right to bear arms, though a right to be protected by militias.
-The Preamble is based on the Massachusetts preamble, which is itself an elaboration of the Mayflower Compact written by John Adams.
-The religious freedom section doesn't have an establishment clause because freedom from religion and non-intercourse between Church and State aren't things I want.
- Article 4 is lifted almost entirely from the Mass. Constitution, and doesn't actually articulate a right to education so much as outline some things every government should do.
- I decided to make a right to form families because it seemed relevant, but there isn't a right to break them up.
- I took out the right to form a nobility, which makes me sad because I want to be a duke someday.
- The way I'd interpret it, a lot of things would be different if this was our bill of rights, but then again, the same is true of the founding fathers and the American constitution.
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