Lecompton Constitution [1857]


SEC. 25. It shall be the duty of all civil officers of this State to use due. diligence in the securing and rendition of persons held to service or labor in this State, either of the States or Territories of the United States; and the legislature shall enact such laws as may be necessary for the honest and faithful carrying out of this provision of the constitution.



SECTION I. The right of property is before and higher than any constitutional sanction, and the right of the owner of a slave to such slave and its increase is the same, and as inviolable as the right of the owner of any property whatever.

SEC. 2. The legislature shall have no power to pass laws for the emancipation of slaves without the consent of the owners, or without paying the owners previous to their emancipation a full equivalent in money for the slaves so emancipated. They shall have no power to prevent emigrants to the State from bringing with them such persons as are deemed slaves by. the laws of any one of the United States or Territories, so long as any person of the same age or description shall be continued in slavery by the laws of this State; Provided, That such person or slave be the bona-fide property of such emigrants: And provided also, That laws may be passed to prohibit the introduction into this State of slaves who have committed high crimes in other States or Territories. They shall have power to pass laws to permit the owners of slaves to emancipate them, saving the rights of creditors, and preventing them from becoming a public charge. They shall have power to oblige the owners of slaves to treat them with humanity, to provide for them necessary food and clothing, to abstain from all injuries to them extending to life or limb, and, in case of their neglect or refusal to comply with the direction of such laws, -to have such slave or slaves sold for the benefit of the owner or owners.

SEC. 3. In the prosecution of slaves for crimes of higher grade than petit larceny, the legislature shall have no power to deprive them of an impartial trial by a petit jury.

SEC. 4. Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life shall suffer such punishment as would be indicted in case the like offense had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrection of such slave.


23. Free negroes shall not be permitted to live in this State under any circumstances.


SEC. 7. This constitution shall be submitted to the Congress of the United States at its next ensuing session . .. Before this constitution shall be sent to Congress, asking for admission into the Union as a State, it shall be submitted to all the white male inhabitants of this Territory, for approval or disapproval, as follows: . .. The voting shall be by ballot. The judges of said election shall cause to be kept two poll-books by two clerks, by them appointed. The ballots cast at said election shall be endorsed, "Constitution with slavery," and "Constitution with no slavery." . .. The president [of the convention] with two or more members of this convention, shall examine said poll-books, and if it shall appear upon said examination that a majority of the legal votes cast at said election be in favor of the "Constitution with slavery," he shall immediately have the same transmitted to the Congress of the United States, as hereinbefore provided; but if, upon such examination of said poll-books, it shall appear that a majority of the legal votes cast at said election be in favor of the " Constitution with no slavery," then the article providing for slavery shall be stricken from this constitution by the president of this convention, and slavery shall no longer exist in the State of Kansas, except that the right of property in slaves now in this Territory shall in no manner be interfered with, and shall have transmitted the constitution, so ratified, (to Congress the constitution, so ratified,) to the Congress of the United States, as hereinbefore provided....