Constitution

Argentina 1853 Constitution (reinstated 1983, reviewed 1994)

Table of Contents

Preamble

We, the representatives of the people of the Argentine Nation, assembled in General Constituent Congress by the will and election of the provinces which compose it, in fulfillment of pre-existing pacts, with the object of constituting the national union, ensuring justice, preserving domestic peace, providing for the common defense, promoting the general welfare, and securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves, to our posterity, and to all men in the world who wish to dwell on Argentine soil: invoking the protection of God, source of all reason and justice, do ordain, decree and establish this Constitution for the Argentine Nation.

PART 1

CHAPTER I. DECLARATIONS, RIGHTS AND GUARANTEES

Article 1

The Argentine Nation adopts the federal, republican, representative form for its government, as established by the present Constitution.

Article 2

The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic Faith.

Article 3

The authorities that direct the Federal Government reside in the city which is to be declared the Capital of the Republic by a special law of Congress, after prior cession made by one or more Provincial legislatures of the territory to be federalized.

Article 4

The Federal Government provides for the Nation’s expenditures with National Treasury funds made up of the proceeds of import and export duties, of the proceeds of the sale or lease of national lands, of Post Office revenues, of whatever other taxes the General Congress equitably and proportionally imposes upon the population, and of whatever loans and credit operations decreed by the same Congress for national exigencies or for undertakings of national utility.

Article 5

Each Province shall adopt for itself a constitution under the republican, representative system, in accordance with the principles, declarations, and guarantees of the National Constitution, ensuring its administration of justice, municipal government, and elementary education. Under these conditions, the Federal Government guarantees to each Province the enjoyment and exercise of its institutions.

Article 6

The Federal Government may intervene in the territory of a Province in order to guarantee the republican form of government or to repel foreign invasions, and, at the request of the Province’s appointed authorities, to support or reestablish them should they have been deposed by sedition or invasion from another Province.

Article 7

The public acts and judicial proceedings of one Province enjoy full faith in the others; and Congress may, by general laws, determine what the evidentiary form of these acts and proceedings shall be, and the legal effects that they shall produce.

Article 8

The citizens of each Province enjoy all the rights, privileges, and immunities inherent to the status of citizen in the others. The extradition of criminals is a reciprocal obligation among all the Provinces.

Article 9

Throughout the territory of the Nation there shall be no other customhouses than the National ones, which shall enforce the tariffs sanctioned by Congress.

Article 10

The movement of goods of national production or manufacture is free from duties in the interior of the Republic, as is also that of goods and merchandise of all kinds once processed through the National customhouses.

Article 11

Articles of national or foreign production or manufacture, as well as livestock of all kinds, that may pass through the territory of one Province to another, shall be free from so-called transit duties, as shall the vehicles, ships or beasts on which they are transported, and no other duty, whatever its name may be, shall in the future be imposed on such movement for passage through the territory.

Article 12

Ships bound from one Province to another shall not be compelled to enter, anchor, or pay duties by reason of their transit; trading laws or regulations shall not allow in any case the grant of preferences to one port over another.

Article 13

New Provinces may be admitted into the Nation; but a Province cannot be established in the territory of another or several, nor several combine into one, without the consent of the legislatures of the interested Provinces and of Congress.

Article 14

All inhabitants of the Nation enjoy the following rights, in accordance with the laws that regulate their exercise, namely: of working in and practicing any lawful industry; of navigating and trading; of petitioning the authorities; of entering, remaining in, traveling through and leaving the Argentine territory; of publishing their ideas through the press without prior censorship; of using and disposing of their property; of associating for useful purposes; of freely practicing their religion; of teaching and learning.

Article 14bis

Labor in its diverse forms shall enjoy the protection of the law, which shall ensure to workers: dignified and equitable working conditions; a limited working day; paid days of rest and vacation; fair remuneration; adjustable minimum living wages; equal pay for equal work; a share in the earnings of enterprises, with control over production and collaboration in management; protection against arbitrary discharge; permanence of public employment; free and democratic organization of labor unions, recognized simply by inscription in a special register.

Trade unions are hereby guaranteed: [the right] to conclude collective bargaining agreements; [the right] to resort to conciliation and arbitration; the right to strike. Union representatives shall enjoy the guarantees necessary for the performance of their union tasks and those relating to the permanence of their employment.

The State shall grant the benefits of social security, which shall be comprehensive and unwaivable. In particular, the law shall establish: compulsory social security, which shall be under the charge of national or provincial entities having financial and economic autonomy, administered by the interested parties with State participation, but without the existence of overlapping contributions; adjustable retirement pay and pensions; full protection of the family; protection of the welfare of the family; economic compensation to families and access to decent housing.

Article 15

In the Argentine Nation there are no slaves; the few that exist today are free from the promulgation of this Constitution; and a special law shall regulate the indemnification arising from this declaration. Any contract of purchase and sale of persons is a crime for which those performing it, and the notary or official approving it, shall be responsible. And slaves, by whatever manner they may be introduced, shall be free by the mere act of setting foot in the territory of the Republic.

Article 16

The Argentine Nation does not allow prerogatives of blood or birth; in it there are no personal privileges [to special legal rules or courts] or titles of nobility. All its inhabitants are equal before the law, and admissible for [public] employment without any other requisite than fitness. Equality is the basis of taxation and of public charges.

Article 17

Property is inviolable, and no inhabitant of the Nation can be deprived thereof except by virtue of a judgment supported by law. Expropriation for reasons of public utility must be authorized by law and previously indemnified. Congress alone imposes the taxes mentioned in Article 4. No personal service can be required except by virtue of a law or a judgment supported by law. Every author or inventor is the exclusive owner of his work, invention or discovery for the term granted him by law. The confiscation of property is stricken out forever from the Argentine Penal Code. No armed body may make requisitions, or demand assistance of any kind.

Article 18

No inhabitant of the Nation may be punished without prior trial based on a law in force prior to the offense, or tried by special commissions, or removed from the jurisdiction of the judges designated by the law in force prior to the offense. No one can be compelled to testify against himself, or be arrested except by virtue of a written order from a competent authority. The right to due process in the defense of the person and of rights is inviolable.

The residence is inviolable, as are letters and private papers; and a law shall determine in what cases and for what reasons their search and seizure shall be allowed. The penalty of death for political offenses, all kinds of torture and flogging are forever abolished. The prisons of the Nation shall be healthful and clean, for the custody and not for the punishment of prisoners confined therein; and any measure that under the pretext of precaution leads to mortifying them beyond what their custody demands, shall render liable the judge who authorizes it.

Article 19

The private actions of men that in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are reserved only to God, and are exempt from the authority of the magistrates. No inhabitant of the Nation shall be compelled to do what the law does not order, or be deprived of what it does not forbid.

Article 20

Foreigners enjoy in the territory of the Nation all the civil rights of a citizen; they may engage in their industry, trade or profession, own, purchase or transfer real property, navigate the rivers and coasts, freely practice their religion, [and] make wills and marry in accordance with the laws. They are not obligated to assume citizenship, or to pay extraordinary compulsory taxes. They may obtain naturalization by residing two continuous years in the Nation, but the authorities may shorten this term in favor of anyone so requesting, upon their asserting and proving services to the Republic.

Article 21

Every Argentine citizen is obliged to bear arms in defense of his country and of this Constitution, in accordance with such laws as the Congress may enact to that effect and with such decrees of the National Executive. Citizens by naturalization are free to render or not render this service for a period of ten years counted from the date on which they obtain their citizenship papers.

Article 22

The people do not deliberate or govern except through their representatives and authorities created by this Constitution. Any armed force or meeting of persons that attributes to itself the right to stand for the people and to petition in their name, commits the crime of sedition.

Article 23

In the event of internal disorder or foreign attack that endangers the exercise of this Constitution and of the authorities created thereby, the Province or territory in which the disturbance of order exists shall be declared in a state of siege and the constitutional guarantees shall be suspended therein. But during such suspension the President of the Republic may not convict or apply punishment upon his own authority. His power shall be limited in such a case, with respect to persons, to arresting them or transferring them from one point of the Nation to another, should they prefer not to leave Argentine territory.

Article 24

Congress shall promote the amendment of all categories of existing legislation, and the establishment of trial by jury.

Article 25

The Federal Government shall encourage European immigration, and it may not restrict, limit, or burden with any tax whatsoever the entry into Argentine territory of foreigners whose purpose is tilling the soil, improving industries, and introducing and teaching the sciences and the arts.

Article 26

Navigation of the inland rivers of the Nation is free to all flags, subject only to regulations enacted by the National authority.

Article 27

The Federal Government is bound to strengthen its relations of peace and commerce with foreign powers by means of treaties that are in conformity with the principles of public law laid down by this Constitution.

Article 28

The principles, guarantees and rights recognized in the foregoing articles may not be altered by the laws that regulate their exercise.

Article 29

Congress may not confer on the National Executive, nor Provincial Legislatures on the Provincial Governors, extraordinary powers, or the whole of the public authority, nor grant them acts of submission or supremacy whereby the lives, the honor or the property of Argentines will be at the mercy of governments or any person whatsoever. Acts of this nature shall be utterly void, and shall render those who formulate, consent to or sign them liable to be called to account and punished as infamous traitors to the country.

Article 30

The Constitution may be amended in its entirety or in any of its parts. The need for its amendment must be declared by the Congress by a vote of at least two-thirds of its members; but the amendment shall not be accomplished except by a Convention called for such purpose.

Article 31

This Constitution, the laws of the Nation that as a result thereof may be enacted by the Congress, and treaties with foreign powers, are the supreme law of the Nation, and the authorities of every Province are bound to conform to it, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary which the Provincial laws or constitutions may contain, except, in the case of the Province of Buenos Aires, [for those provisions established by] the treaties ratified following the Pact of November 11, 1859.

Article 32

The Federal Congress shall not enact laws that restrict the freedom of the press or that establish federal jurisdiction over it.

Article 33

The declarations, rights and guarantees that the Constitution enumerates shall not be construed as a denial of other rights and guarantees not enumerated therein, but which issue from the principle of the sovereignty of the people and from the republican form of government.

Article 34

The judges of the federal courts cannot serve at the same time as judges of the Provincial courts, nor does federal service, whether civil or military, confer domicile in the Province in which it is performed, and which is not the employee’s habitual domicile, this provision being understood for the purpose of applying for public office in the Province in which the individuals happen to be.

Article 35

The designations successively adopted from 1810 up to the present, namely: United Provinces of the River Plate, Argentine Republic, [and] Argentine Confederation, shall henceforth be official names used indiscriminately for the designation of the Government and territory of the Provinces, the words “Argentine Nation” being used in the enactment and sanction of laws.

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