Major Changes in California Constitutions

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The Constitution of California

There are several changes in California Constitutions, from 1849 to now.

In the second article, the original Constitution mandates that during the act of voting (including going to and returning from election), voters may be exempt from being arrested unless they are acting in terms of treason or disrupting the peace. This idea may have been seen as too lax and was removed in order to keep people and the process of voting safer.

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Continuing off of the original Constitution, voters were limited to white males of age 21 past six months of the previous election, preferably owning land. Today, voters must be of age 18 and must register to vote but other than that, no other restrictions apply. Racism, classism and sexism took precedence in earlier years and prevented many individuals from partaking in voting and consequentially, shaping their own nation. Now anyone can vote because America, and especially California, has taken leaps and bounds in improving our socio-economic situations.

The ninth article from the first constitution states in section two that the Legislature will take great means to encourage and promote the importance of intelligence, scientific, moral and agricultural advancements in school. This section is missing from the current Constitution and I believe that this was done as it is the point of school. The section is obvious and takes up unnecessary room in the constitution as it is common knowledge that the point of school is to aid children in improving in those areas.

The next thing removed from our present-day Constitution comes from section two of Article eleven of the 1849 Constitution. This section reads that anyone who has engaged in a duel with lethal weapons or aided someone in doing so, in or out of the state, after the Constitution has been adopted will be barred from holding any profitable positions or the right to vote. Due to the fact that in modern times people do not set up formal duels (think of the duel that occurred between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr that was set up through letters), this section is not applicable. Additionally, when people fight each other these fights can be justified depending on the circumstances.

Concerning the state debts, the first Constitution mandates that the legislature cannot exceed $300,000 unless in the case of war or a specific, necessary situation that requires more money. In the modern Constitution, this clause was changed to say that the Legislature will have a set money boundary that can and will be adjusted to fit inflation and the economy’s spending patterns. This was done as the currency value changed and $300,00 would not equate to the same amount in a few years differences. Additionally, the new wording in the updated Constitution allows for flexibility and prevents the Constitution from having to be updated every few years.

One interesting article from the modern constitution that caught my eye is article ten on water. Vital to human survival, the topic of water was included as an article to outline how water should persevered and used to its fullest potential. As a state that borders the ocean yet periodically faces droughts, preserving water is of upmost importance so it may be properly utilized throughout the state for consumption and agricultural purposes and for use in the country.

Article fourteen outlines labor relations. This proved to be important as our state regulates the minimum wage, welfare, and the worktime for certain workers. Labor relations is included in the constitution to guarantee the safety of workers and to provide steady working conditions.

Public Utilities makes up article twenty-one. The Public Utilities Commission controls public transportation to control the flow of money and to ensure public safety when using modes of transportation. As always, public safety is of the highest regard when concerning topics in the constitution. A citizen has the right to travel and ways of accomplishing this need to be compiled and regulated.

Education is what prepares children to become the next generation of leaders in this country. Article nine was deemed necessary to keep in the constitution as funding and education must be monitored in order to grant students the best education possible. Without good education and school leaders, the state of our future country is bleak.

A more recent article, the marine resources protection act of 1990, in article 10, is necessary as to protect sea life, protect endangered animals and also control the sea-food market and make sure that our resources from the ocean do not run out. Protecting the lives of animals are important as they are a vital component of our food chain and this does not exclude the marine life.

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