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CONSTITUTION of the Argentine Republic.—Santa Fé, September 25, 1860.
WE, the representatives of the people of the Argentine Nation, assembled in General Constituent Congress by the will and election of the provinces composing the nation, in fulfilment of pre-existing compacts, for the purpose of constituting the national Union, assuring justice, consolidating internal peace, providing for the common defence, promoting the general welfare, and securing the benefits of liberty for ourselves, for our posterity, and for people from all parts of the world who wish to dwell upon Argentine soil; invoking the protection of God, the source of all reason and justice, do order, decree and establish this Constitution for the Argentine Nation.
Sole Chapter. Declarations, Rights, and Guarantees.
ART. I. The Argentine Nation adopts the Representative, Republican, Federal form of Government, as established by the present Constitution.
II. The Federal Government supports the Apostolic Roman Catholic worship.
III. The authorities which exercise the Federal Government reside in the city which is declared the capital of the Republic by a special law of Congress; the territory to be federalized having been previously ceded by one or more of the Provincial Legislatures.
IV. The Federal Government provides for the expenses of the
nation from the funds of the National Treasury, arising from the produce of the duties on importation and exportation, until 1866, in accordance with the provision in the first section of Article LXVII, from that of the sale or letting of lands belonging to the nation, from the postal revenue, from the other taxes imposed on the people equitably and proportionably by the General Congress; and from the loans or credit transactions which that Congress decrees for urgencies of the nation, or for undertakings of national utility.
V. Each province shall enact a Constitution for itself upon the representative republican system, in accordance with the principles, declarations and guarantees of the national Constitution; and which shall secure its administration of justice, its municipal government, and primary education. Upon these conditions the Federal Government guarantees to each province the enjoyment and exercise of its institutions.
VI. The Federal Government intervenes in the territory of the provinces to guarantee the republican form, on the requisition of their constituted authorities, to maintain them or to re-establish them if they should have been deposed by sedition or by invasion from another province.
VII. The public acts and judicial proceedings of one province enjoy entire trust in the others; and the Congress may by general laws determine what shall be the probatory form of those acts and proceedings, and the legal effects which they are to produce.
VIII. The citizens of each province enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities inherent in the title of citizen in all the others. The extradition of criminals is a reciprocal obligation among all the provinces.
IX. There shall be none other than national Custom-Houses throughout the territory of the nation, and the tariffs observed therein shall be those which the Congress sanctions.
X. The circulation of goods of the national production or manufacture is free of duty in the interior of the Republic, as well as that of all kinds of merchandize and commodities dispatched at the exterior Custom-Houses.
XI. Articles of national or foreign production and manufacture, as well as cattle of all kinds which pass through the territory of one province to another, shall be free from what are called transit dues, together with the vehicles, vessels, or animals which transport them; and no other duty can be imposed on them hereafter, whatever may be its denomination, for the act of passing through the territory.
XII. Vessels going from one province to another shall not be obliged to enter, anchor, and pay duty on account of transit; nor
can preferences be granted in any case to one port over another, by means of laws or commercial regulations.
XIII. New provinces may be admitted into the nation, but a province cannot be formed in the territory of another or of others, nor can several be formed into one without the consent of the Legislature of the provinces concerned, and of the Congress.
XIV. All the inhabitants of the nation enjoy the following rights in accordance wth the laws which regulate the exercise thereof, that is: To work at and carry on every lawful occupation; to navigate and trade; to petition the authorities; to enter, remain in, pass through, and go out of the Argentine territory; to publish their ideas through the press without previous censure; to employ and dispose of their property; to associate for useful purposes; to profess their faith freely; to teach and to learn.
XV. There are no slaves in the Argentine nation, the few that exist now become free from the swearing of this Constitution; and a special law will regulate the indemnifications which this declaration may render necessary. Any agreement for the sale or purchase of human beings is a crime for which those who make it shall be responsible, as well as the notary or functionary who sanctions it; and the slaves, in whatever manner they may be introduced, become free from the sole fact of treading the soil of the Republic.
XVI. The Argentine nation does not admit prerogatives of blood, or of birth; there are no personal privileges nor titles of nobility therein. All its inhabitants are equal before the law, and admissible to office without any other condition than that of fitness. Equality is the basis of taxation and of the public burdens.
XVII. Property is inviolable, and no inhabitant of the nation can be deprived of it, except by virtue of a sentence founded on law. Expropriation for purposes of public utility must be authorized by law, and previous indemnification must be given. Congress alone imposes the taxes mentioned in Article IV. No personal service can be exacted unless by virtue of the law, or of a sentence founded on law. Every author or inventor is the exclusive proprietor of his work, invention, or discovery, for the term granted by law. The confiscation of goods is for ever erased from the Argentine penal code. No armed body can make requisitions or exact aid of any kind.
XVIII. No inhabitant of the nation can be punished without a previous trial according to laws in existence before the cause of the action, nor tried by special commissions, nor removed from the cognizance of the judges appointed by law before the cause of action. No one can be obliged to bear witness against himself, nor be arrested but by virtue of a written order from the competent
authority. The defence of person and of rights on trial is inviolable, as well as epistolary correspondence and private papers; and a special law will determine in what cases and upon what grounds of justification they may be interfered with and taken possession of. The punishment of death for political offences, every kind of torment, and flogging are abolished for ever. The national prisons shall be healthy and clean, adapted for the security and not for the punishment of those detained in them, and every measure which, under pretext of precaution, may tend to annoy the prisoners more than their security requires, shall be upon the responsibility of the magistrate who sanctions it.
XIX. The private actions of men, which in no way offend against order and public morality, nor prejudice others, are reserved to God alone, and are exempt from the authority of the magistrates. No inhabitant of the nation shall be obliged to do what the law does not order, nor shall be deprived of that which it does not prohibit.
XX. Foreigners enjoy in the territory of the nation all the civil rights of the citizen; they may exercise their calling, trade, or profession; possess landed property; buy it and dispose of it; navigate the rivers and coasts; freely profess their faith; make wills and marry according to the laws. They are not obliged to receive the citizenship, nor to pay extraordinary forced contributions. They become naturalized by residing two years continuously in the nation; but this term may be shortened by the authority in favour of him who asks for it, alleging and proving services to the Republic.
XXL Every Argentine citizen is bound to arm in defence of the country and of this Constitution, in accordance with the laws passed by Congress for the purpose, and with the decrees of the national Executive. Citizens by naturalization are free to render this service or not for the period of 10 years, reckoned from the day when they obtain their letter of citizenship.
XXII. The people neither deliberate nor govern, except by means of their representatives and authorities created by this Constitution. Any armed force or assemblage of persons which assumes to itself the rights of the people, and petitions in their name, commits the crime of sedition.
XXIII. In case of internal commotion or of an external attack endangering the exercise of this Constitution, and the authorities which it creates, the province or territory wherein the disturbance of order exists, shall be declared in a state of siege, and the constitutional guarantees shall be suspended there. But during that suspension the President of the Republic shall not have the power of condemning or or of assigning punishment by himself. His [1861-62. LII.]
power shall, in such cases, be limited in respect to persons, to arresting them or transferring them from one part of the nation to another, unless they should prefer to leave the Argentine territory.
XXIV. The Congress will promote the reformation of the present legislation in all its branches, as well as the establishment of trial by jury.
XXV. The Federal Government will encourage European immigration; and it shall not have the power of restricting, limiting, or burdening with any impost the entry into the Argentine territory of foreigners whose object is to cultivate the land, to improve trade, and to introduce and teach the arts and sciences.
XXVI. The navigation of the internal rivers of the nation is free for all flags, subject only to the regulations made by the national authority.
XXVII. The Federal Government is bound to secure its relations of peace and commerce with foreign powers by means of Treaties in conformity with the principles of public right established in this Constitution.
XXVIII. The principles, guarantees, and rights, recognized in the preceding Articles, cannot be altered by the laws which regulate their exercise.
XXIX. The Congress cannot concede to the national Executive, nor the Provincial Legislatures to the Governors of Provinces, either extraordinary faculties or the whole public power, nor can they authorize such submission to them, or grant them such supremacy, as that the lives, the honour, or the fortunes of the Argentine people should be at the mercy of Governments, or of any individual. Acts of this nature are of themselves inevitably null, and they subject those who prepare them, consent to them, or subscribe them, to the responsibility and punishment of infamous traitors to their country.
XXX. The Constitution may be reformed altogether, or in any of its parts. The necessity for reformation must be declared by the Congress by the vote of at least two-thirds of its members; but it shall only be carried into effect by a Convention convoked for the purpose.
XXXI. This Constitution, the laws passed by Congress in consequence thereof, and the Treaties with foreign Powers, are the supreme law of the nation, and the authorities of each province, are bound to conform thereto, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary contained in the provincial laws or constitutions, saving for the province of Buenos Ayres, the Treaties ratified since the Pact of the 11th of November, 1859.
XXXII. The Cougress shall not pass laws to restrict the liberty of the press, nor to establish the federal jurisdiction over it.