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State Constitutions

In May 1776, the Continental Congress recommended that the assembly of each colony create a new state constitution “sufficient to the exigencies of affairs.” Every constitution created by these newly independent states included provisions that protected individual rights from actions by the state. Most of them articulated explicit declarations of these rights, including freedom of religion, freedom of the press, prohibition of excessive bail or fines, right to a jury trial, and protection from loss of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. Frequently the last of these rights is expressed in the language of Magna Carta’s Chapter 29, for example, line twelve in North Carolina’s constitution.
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