OTD 1869: voting qualifications and public-school funding

On January 29, 1879, after agreeing to limit speeches to five minutes, the Reconstruction Convention adopted numerous provisions proposed for the Texas Constitution.

Among the specific provisions adopted on this date was art. III, sec. 1, relating to voting qualifications, which in its final form provided:

SECTION I. Every male person who shall have attained the age of twenty-one years, and who shall be (or who shall have declared his intentions to become) a citizen of the United States, or who is, at the time of the acceptance of this Constitution by the Congress of the United States, a citizen of Texas, and shall have resided in the State one year next preceding an election, and the last six months within the district or county in which he offers to vote, and is duly registered, (Indians not taxed excepted,) shall be deemed a qualified elector: and should such qualified electors happen to be in any other county, situated in the district in which he resides, at the time of an election, he shall be permitted to vote for any district officer; provided that the qualified elector shall be permitted to vote any where in the State for State officers; and provided further, that no soldier, seaman or marine in the army or navy of the United States, shall be entitled to vote at any election created by this Constitution.

The convention also debated a number of provisions in what was then article twelve, but ultimately became article nine of the 1869 Constitution, concerning public schools. The delegates specifically discussed school funding, including the creation of a school fund. An “annual poll tax of one dollar, on all male persons in this State, between the ages of twenty-one and sixty years” was imposed for the benefit of the school fund (see art. IX, sec. 6). The convention also agreed that the interest accruing on the school fund and derived from taxation for school purposes would be annually appropriated and “equally distributed among all the scholastic population of the State” (art. IX, sec. 9).



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