Constitution Proposed in 1833

By: S. S. McKay

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 5, 2020

Misgovernment in Texas and revolution in Mexico led the central committee of San Felipe to call the Convention of 1833, which, as one of its actions, framed and approved a state constitution that was submitted to the Mexican Congress for approval. The proposed constitution was typically Anglo-American, being modeled on the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780, which happened to be available. It provided for a legislature to be composed of a Senate and a House of Representatives, elected biennially. The state was to be divided into ten electoral districts, with one representative for each hundred voters. The governor was to be at least twenty-seven years old and a resident of the state for three years preceding election. His term of office was to be two years, and he should not serve more than four out of any period of six years. He was to have the usual executive powers, but legislation was to be passed over his veto by simple majority vote in both houses of the legislature.

The judiciary was to include a Supreme Court, three district courts, and such inferior courts as the legislature should determine. The jurisdiction of the offices of alcalde, comisario, and sindico procurador was to be fixed by law. Judges were to be elected by the legislature for terms of six years, removable by impeachment by vote of two-thirds of both houses of the legislature. The Supreme Court was to be composed of a superior judge acting with the district judges, a majority forming a quorum.

The franchise was proposed for all male citizens twenty-one years old, and officials were to be elected directly. The projected bill of rights of twenty-seven articles included a guarantee of trial by jury, prohibited illegal search and seizure, and guaranteed other due-process rights. It also affirmed liberties of free speech but did not address religious liberty. The legislature was to establish free schools. It was declared that no banking institution would exist under the constitution, and only gold, silver, and copper coins would be considered legal tender.

Stephen F. Austin's mission to Mexico City to bear the petitions of the convention and the proposed constitution resulted in his imprisonment and was a significant development in the chain of events that led to the Texas Revolution.

Hubert Howe Bancroft, History of the North Mexican States and Texas (2 vols., San Francisco: History Company, 1886, 1889). Eugene C. Barker, The Life of Stephen F. Austin (Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1949; New York: AMS Press, 1970). David B. Edward, The History of Texas (Cincinnati: James, 1836; rpt., Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1990). Henderson K. Yoakum, History of Texas from Its First Settlement in 1685 to Its Annexation to the United States in 1846 (2 vols., New York: Redfield, 1855).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

S. S. McKay, “Constitution Proposed in 1833,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 26, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 5, 2020