The Constitutional Principle: Separation of Church and State
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State Constitution (Religious Sections) - New Hampshire

Please note that we have excerpted only those sections dealing with religion
Research and editing by Jim Allison

NEW HAMPSHIRE CONSTITUTIONS

1776; 1784, [1792]

NEW HAMPSHIRE CONSTITUTION OF 1776

[New Hampshire had an established religion and the 1776 constitution did not mention religion nor alter this status quo in any manner]

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NEW HAMPSHIRE CONSTITUTION OF 1784

PART I-- BILL OF RIGHTS

ART. III. When men enter into a State of society they surrender up some of their natural rights to that society, in order to ensure the protection of others; and without such an equivalent the surrender is void.

ART. IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE

ART. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship GOD according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in is person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

ART. VI. Morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as a knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the DEITY, and of public instruction in morality and religion; therefore, to promote those important purposes the people of this State have a right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the legislature to authorize, from time to time, the several towns, parishes, bodies-corporate, or religious societies within this State, to make adequate provisions, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality:

Provided notwithstanding, That the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance. And no person, or any one particular religious sect or denomination, shall ever be compelled to pay toward the support of the teacher or teachers of another persuasion, sect, or denomination.

And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves quietly and as good subjects of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.

And nothing herein shall be understood to affect any former contracts made for the support of the ministry; but all such contracts shall remain and be in the same state as if this constitution had not been made.

ART. XIII. No person who is conscientiously scrupulous about the lawfulness of bearing arms, shall be compelled thereto, provided he will pay an equivalent.

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PART II-- THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT

SENATE

Provided, nevertheless, That no person shall be capable of being elected a senator who is not of the Protestant religion, and seized of a freehold estate in his own rights of the value of two hundred pounds, lying within the State, who is not of the age of thirty years, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of the State for seven years immediately preceding his election, and at the time thereof he shall be an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

. . . Every member of the house of representatives shall be chosen by ballot, and for two years at least next preceding his election shall have been an inhabitant of this State, shall have an estate within the district which he may be chosen to represent, of the value of one hundred pounds, one-half of which to be a freehold, whereof he is seized in his own right; shall be at the time of his election an inhabitant of the town, parish, or place he may be chosen to represent; shall be of the Protestant religion, and shall cease to represent such town, parish, or place immediately on his ceasing to be qualified as aforesaid.

EXECUTIVE POWER-- PRESIDENT

The President shall be chosen annually; and no person shall be eligible to this office, unless at the time of his election, he shall have been an inhabitant of this state for seven years next preceding, and unless he shall be of the age of thirty years and unless he shall at the same time have an estate of the value of five hundred pounds,, one-half of which shall consist of a freehold in his own right within this State, and unless he shall be of the protestant religion.

ENCOURAGEMENT OF LITERATURE, ETC

Knowledge and learning generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various arts of the county being highly conducive to promote this end, it shall be the duty of the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools; to encourage private and public institutions, rewards, and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trade, manufactures, and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people.

OATHS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS; EXCLUSION FROM OFFICES; COMMISSIONS; WRITS; CONFIRMATION OF LAWS; HABEAS CORPUS; THE ENACTING STYLE; CONTINUANCE OF OFFICERS; PROVISION FOR A FUTURE REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION, ETC

Any person chosen President, councillor, senator, or representative, military or civil officer, (town officers excepted,) accepting the trust, shall, before he proceeds to execute the duties of his office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

I, A.B. do truly and sincerely acknowledge, profess, testify and declare, that the state of New Hampshire is, and of right ought to be, a free, sovereign and independent state; and do swear that I will bear faith and true allegiance to the same, and that I will endeavor to defend it against all treacherous conspiracies and hostile attempts whatever: and I do further testify and declare, that no man or body of men, hath or can have, a right to absolve me from the obligation of this oath, declaration or affirmation; and that I do make this acknowledgment, profession, testimony, and declaration, honestly and truly, according to the common acceptation of the foregoing words, without any equivocation, mental evasion or secret reservation whatever. So help me God.

I, A. B., do solemnly and sincerely swear and affirm that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as ---, according to the best of my abilities; agreeable to the rules and regulations of this constitution and the laws of the State of New Hampshire. So help me God.

Provided always, When any person, chosen or appointed as aforesaid, shall be of the denomination called Quaker, or shall be scrupulous of swearing, and shall decline taking the said oaths, such person shall take and subscribe them, omitting the words "swear," and likewise the words, "So help me God," subjoining instead thereof, "This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury."

And the oaths of affirmation shall be taken and subscribed by the president, before the senior senator present, in presence of the two houses of assembly; and by the senators and representatives first elected under this constitution before the president and council for the time being; and by the residue of the officers aforesaid, before such persons, and in such manner as from time to time shall be prescribed by the legislature.

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NEW HAMPSHIRE CONSTITUTION OF 1792

[Sources and Documents of United States Constitutions does not list a 1792 Constitution for New Hampshire. What it does state as a footnote is that the constitution of 1784 was extensively amended, rearranged and clarified in 1793]

The Constitution of New Hampshire, as altered and amended by a convention of delegates held at Concord, in said State, by adjournment, on the second Wednesday of February, 1792.

PART FIRST -- BILL OF RIGHTS

ART. IV. Among the natural rights, some are in their very nature unalienable, because no equivalent can be given or received for them. Of this kind are the rights of conscience.

ART. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and reason; and no person shall be hurt, molested, or restrained in his person, liberty, or estate for worshipping God in the manner most agreeable to the dictates of his own conscience, or for his religious profession, sentiments, or persuasion; provided he doth not disturb the public peace or disturb others in their religious worship.

ART. VI. As morality and piety, rightly grounded on evangelical principles, will give the best and greatest security to government, and will lay in the hearts of men the strongest obligations to due subjection; and as a knowledge of these is most likely to be propagated through a society by the institution of the public worship of the Deity, and of public instruction in morality and religion; therefore, to promote those important purposes the people of this State have a right to empower, and do hereby fully empower, the legislature to authorize, from time to time, the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies within this State, to make adequate provisions, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of public protestant teachers of piety, religion, and morality. Provided notwithstanding, That the several towns, parishes, bodies corporate, or religious societies, shall at all times have the exclusive right of electing their own public teachers, and of contracting with them for their support and maintenance. And no person, or any one particular religious sect or denomination, shall ever be compelled to pay toward the support of the teacher or teachers of another persuasion, sect, or denomination. And every denomination of Christians, demeaning themselves quietly and as good subjects of the State, shall be equally under the protection of the law; and no subordination of any one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law. And nothing herein shall be understood to affect any former contracts made for the support of the ministry; but all such contracts shall remain and be in the same state as if this constitution had not been made.

ART. XIII. No person who is conscientiously scrupulous about the lawfulness of bearing arms, shall be compelled thereto, provided he will pay an equivalent.

PART II-- THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

SEC. XIV. Every member of the house of representatives shall be chosen by ballot, and for two years at least next preceding his election shall have been an inhabitant of this State, shall have an estate within the district which he may be chosen to represent, of the value of one hundred pounds, one-half of which to be a freehold, whereof he is seized in his own right; shall be at the time of his election an inhabitant of the town, parish, or place he may be chosen to represent; shall be of the Protestant religion, and shall cease to represent such town, parish, or place immediately on his ceasing to be qualified as aforesaid.

SENATE

SEC. XXIX. Provided, nevertheless, That no person shall be capable of being elected a senator who is not of the Protestant religion, and seized of a freehold estate in his own rights of the value of two hundred pounds, lying within the State, who is not of the age of thirty years, and who shall not have been an inhabitant of the State for seven years immediately preceding his election, and at the time thereof he shall be an inhabitant of the district for which he shall be chosen.

GOVERNOR

SEC. XLII. The governor shall be chosen annually in the month of March; and the votes for governor shall be received , sorted, counted, certified, and returned in the same manner as the votes for senators; and the secretary shall lay the same before the senate and house of representatives on the first Wednesday of June, to be by them examined; and in case of an election by a majority of votes through the State, the choice shall be by them declared and published. And the qualifications of electors of the governor shall be the same as those for senators; and if no person shall have a majority of votes, the senate and house of representatives shall, by joint ballot, elect one of the two persons having the highest number of votes, who shall be declared governor. And no person shall be eligible to this office unless at the time of his election he shall have been an inhabitant of this State for seven years next preceding, and unless he shall be of the age of thirty years and unless he shall at the same time have an estate of the value of five hundred pounds,, one-half of which shall consist of a freehold in his own right within this State, and unless he shall be of the protestant religion.

ENCOURAGEMENT OF LITERATURE, ETC

SEC. LXXXIII. Knowledge and learning generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various arts of the county being highly conducive to promote this end, it shall be the duty of the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools; to encourage private and public institutions, rewards, and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trade, manufactures, and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people.

OATHS AND SUBSCRIPTIONS; EXCLUSION FROM OFFICES; COMMISSIONS; WRITS; CONFIRMATION OF LAWS; HABEAS CORPUS; THE ENACTING STYLE; CONTINUANCE OF OFFICERS; PROVISION FOR A FUTURE REVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION, ETC

SEC. LXXXIV. Any person chosen governor, councillor, senator, or representative, military or civil officer, (town officers excepted,) accepting the trust, shall, before he proceeds to execute the duties of his office, make and subscribe the following declaration, viz:

"I, A. B., do solemnly swear that I will bear faith and true allegiance to the State of New Hampshire, and will support the constitution thereof so help me God.

"I, A. B., do solemnly and sincerely swear and affirm that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent on me as ---, according to the best of my abilities; agreeable to the rules and regulations of this constitution and the laws of the State of New Hampshire. So help me God."

Any person having taken and subscribed the oath of allegiance, and the same being filed in the secretary's office, he shall not be obliged to take said oath again:

Provided always, When any person, chosen or appointed as aforesaid, shall be of the denomination called Quaker, or shall be scrupulous of swearing, and shall decline taking the said oaths, such person shall take and subscribe them, omitting the words "swear," and likewise the words, "So help me God," subjoining instead thereof, "This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury."

SEC. LXXXV. And the oaths of affirmation shall be taken and subscribed by the governor, before the president of the senate, in presence of both houses of the legislature, and by the senators and representatives first elected under this constitution as altered and amended, before the president of the State and a majority of the council then in office, and forever afterward before the governor and council for the time being: and by all other officers before such persons and in such manner as the legislature shall from time to time appoint.

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New Hampshire disestablished religion in 1819