OTD 1866: Eligibility to serve in state legislature limited to “white” citizens; residency requirement increased to 5 years

Consistent with the general resistance to recognizing full civil rights for freedmen in the wake of the Civil War, on March 5, 1866, the constitutional convention approved amendments to the legislative article (art. III) to specify that only “white” citizens were eligible to be elected to the Legislature. These restrictions ultimately were adopted as part of the 1866 Constitution, then later deleted in the 1869 Constitution.

The eligibility requirements were also changed to require five years of residency in the state to serve in the Legislature, increased from two years for the House and three years for the Senate under the 1861 Constitution.


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